Writers: Adam and Christian Beranek
Artist: Chris Moreno
Publisher: Silent Devil Productions
Two legendary rulers face off in a battle across time! The ruthless Vlad Dracul, his kingdom in ruins, seeks aid from unholy powers to regain his army. King Arthur, sensing a great evil befalling his kingdom, sets out on a last quest for the glory of God. When the champions of heaven and hell collide, the victor may claim the remains of fallen Camelot.
First impression: this is a terribly silly premise. But once one opens the cover, cynicism gives way to suspension of disbelief and the reader is quickly rewarded. Artist Chris Moreno makes an impressive showing, aided by Jay Fotos's colors. The illustrations are bright, yet the characters display all the grit and earthiness one would expect from pre-medieval society. The story, too, is quite good, with dialogue that steers clear of Renfest clichés.
Issue one spends much more time developing Dracula's character, and of the two protagonists he is certainly the more compelling. A man who professes his allegiance to God even while attending an audience with Lucifer, Vlad the Impaler agrees to become a monster when he loses faith in all but vengeance. King Arthur, meanwhile, certainly has a backstory to draw upon, but so far he's only been portrayed as the "good for goodness' sake" hero. That's enough, for now; the Beraneks have littered Arthur's scenes with clues that he will soon become more.
It is always encouraging when an unknown creative team, publishing their own work, just gets it right. Dracula vs. King Arthur is a quality, compelling comic despite itself, melding two rich, historical legends that should never have anything to do with each other into a fresh yet familiar tale.
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