"I, Vampire" continues to be a unique offering of the new DCU, and the way that its vampire war ties in to the universe at large has great potential. Seeing the book effortlessly work in Batman this month should leave readers even more excited about what’s to come.
In this issue, Batman finally learns of the vampire war and ends up confronting Bennett, John Troughton and Tig as they try to chase down Mary Queen of Blood and save a series of her latest victims before it’s too late. When Batman gets involved, he’s reluctantly on their side as Bennett tries to convince him of their well-intentioned goals. By the end of the book it’s a Batman/Bennett team up, but they’ve walked into a violent trap set by Mary herself.
Batman’s guest appearance in this issue feels surprisingly smart and natural, thanks in large part to writer Joshua Hale Fialkov’s excellent handle on all of the voices. Batman is a character that seems like he should be easy to write, but a surprising number of writers get it wrong. Fialkov not only gets it right, but finds a way for both Batman and Bennett to shine, which is always difficult when you have a guest star that is bigger than your book.
It makes sense that when the vampire war is finally discovered, it would Batman who discovers it. His reactions and the resulting situation our heroes find themselves in, is good page-turning stuff. The dynamic between Bennett, John and Tig is solid to begin with and adding Batman to the mix only emphasizes those relationships – both their strengths and weaknesses. The art by Andrea Sorrentino continues to be evocative and beautiful, but it also gets in its own way from a clarity standpoint. The art is incredibly rich and dark, which most of the time works to its advantage, but occasionally makes readability a problem. There are a few panels in the last pages especially that are unclear, and it left me quite unsure what I was supposed to be seeing and thus feeling in those last critical moments. Still, Sorrentino and “I, Vampire” in general deserve serious credit for producing a book for DC that looks much more like a Vertigo book, and I mean that in the best possible way. The art has texture and emotion to it, great energy and brutal beauty, all quite fitting for a book about vampires.
“I, Vampire”, could have easily fallen into cliché, as vampire stories tend to when they’re not well-conceived. However, thanks to Fialkov’s strong writing and solid character work, and Sorrentino and Maiolo’s gorgeous artwork, “I. Vampire” continues to be one of the more interesting titles from DC, and one with the best ongoing hook.