Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Strain #1

Written by Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan, and David Lapham
Art by Mike Huddleston

When I first heard about this project, a twelve-issue comics series featuring writing by David Lapham and art by Mike Huddleston, I was not very happy.  You would think I'd be over-joyed.  I have been a huge fan of Lapham for years, and have been very impressed with Huddleston over the last year, and yet, I was irritated.  Mostly, I was displeased because I don't see how Huddleston can work on this book and do the amazing job he's been doing on Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker with Joe Casey at Image.  I imagine this is going to be the higher paying gig (it has some big names and a marketing push attached to it after all), and I would like to see Mr. Huddleston's amazing art reach the widest possible audience, but I also want my Butcher.

Anyway, since this first issue is only a dollar, I thought I'd give it a shot.  It seems that filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (who I've never heard of) have written a trilogy of novels called The Strain that is pretty popular with people who read vampire novels. Now Lapham (man I wish this guy would draw something again) and Huddleston are adapting the story for comics.

This issue opens with an old woman telling her grandchild a story about a freakishly tall Polish nobleman who changes into some kind of creature of the night during a hunting trip to Romania.  The story then shifts to modern day New York, where an airplane has landed at JFK, and then gone dark and silent.  A team from the CDC is called out, where our main character, Ephraim, is one of the first to board the plane and discover that everyone on it save three are dead, although with no cause being visible.  Later, a creepy coffin is also removed from the plane, and I guess things are underway.

Having no familiarity with the source material, I can't speak to Lapham's accuracy with the plotting.  I can say that the story really started to draw me in, and that Huddleston's art is terrific.  It's a lot calmer than what he's been doing on Butcher Baker, and in some places it made me think of Bá and Moon (which is always a good thing).  As much as I didn't welcome new of this comic's existence, I think I'm interested enough to get the second issue.

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