“The Elders, Part 2 of 6: Dusk”
Writer: Jason Henderson
Artist: Greg Scott
After a big loss in issue #1, the Polidorium set its sights squarely on hunting Dracula. Before they can regroup, they must deal with a group of vampires raising havoc at a ski resort in their own backyard. Meanwhile, two fallen angels, Samyaza and Azazyel, who are responsible for the creation of vampires, are freed from their prison at the bottom of the Dead Sea and seek out Dracula, who has something they want.
Let me just start this review by saying that this book was not what I expected. When I think Sword of Dracula, I think of cheesy over-the-top gothic horror stories. Instead, I got a very gritty, sophisticated, modern day action adventure epic – with the emphasis squarely on action and adventure. This is probably the best take on the vampire genre I’ve seen in a long time.
The Polidorium is a secret paramilitary organization of vampire hunters that spans the globe. The branch we get to follow operates out of a decommissioned army base in Colorado and is composed of a diverse group of individuals whose ranks include ex-military types, techies and an ex-Cirque de Soleil performer. Talk about a unique group of people! The dialogue is well written and the story moves along at a nice pace. One of my favorite lines from this book is, “Whenever you see this guy, you gotta think: Rats with little sticks up their butts. That’s what this guy is into. Okay? Charming, sometimes. But a sick @#%$! Who controls blood with his mind.” As you can see, the dialogue is very entertaining.
Events are set in motion and the plot really starts to heat up in this issue with the introduction of the two fallen angels, Samyaza and Azazyel, and the revelation that they fathered the vampire race. You get to see the Polidorium in action as they battle a group of vampires at a ski resort, which I found to be a nice change of locale. When do you ever get to see fights take place at a ski resort? The members of the Polidorium were fun to watch in action as the individual traits of each character slowly develop.
There is not one single lull in this book, which might be due to the fact that there are no ads in this book. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. You get 22 solid pages of story and action, followed by a three-page essay on Dracula by the author, Jason Henderson. For $2.95, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal.
One thing that shone through is the passion the author has for Dracula. Henderson has done his homework researching the character and it shows (just read his essay at the end of the book). He throws in bits and pieces of Dracula history throughout the book, which helps to shape and define his version of the character. For instance, did you know that vampires are mentioned in the Book of Genesis? This isn’t the Dracula you’re used to seeing on TV or in the movies. Dracula is very powerful, technologically savvy and bent on world domination. Like I said before, this isn’t the Dracula you might have expected.
The only thing that detracts from this book is the fact that is that it is black and white. While this is a very minor complaint (come on, who doesn’t love black & white comics?) and doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the book, it must be said that SOD would benefit by being published in all its four-color glory. Case in point: Dracula’s Castle is made out of blood (that’s right, I said it was made out of blood). While this looks pretty good in black and white, it would look much better in color. Greg Scott does a good job with the art on this book, but on more than one occasion everything was just too dark. I realize it is a vampire book, but ease up on the shadowing every now and then.
Overall, this is a good, solid book. Sword of Dracula #2 piqued my interest – so much so that I’m probably going to add this title to my pull list. You should SOD a try; it is a good read and very entertaining. Henderson has crafted a unique concept and has executed it well so far. I’m interested to see where he’s going with this book.
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