I have to give Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino credit where it's due: the "Rise of the Vampires" crossover between "I, Vampire" and "Justice League Dark" was hardly a disposable story. To be fair, when main character Andrew Bennett died right before the start of the crossover, it was easy to guess that the crossover would bring Bennett back. Nonetheless, this story ended up with big changes for both titles, which is impressive.
Fialkov bringing Bennett back here is fun in part because he still manages to subvert expectations. Bennett's new personality and purpose is different from what we'd had two months ago and this feels like a strong turning point for "I, Vampire" as well as the DC Universe. After all, up until now we were following a story where Bennett and company were fighting the forces of Mary, Queen of Blood. Now? Well, it makes you wonder how "I, Vampire" will still continue with Bennett as the protagonist.
That's a good thing, though. Bennett in the first six issues of "I, Vampire" was in many ways a stereotypical "vampire trying to help humans" story, although it was still entertaining. Now, though, it's hard to keep from feeling like the possibilities are endless. Bennett's gained far more power than he had before and his motivations are letting the title go in different directions. Watching the rest of the characters react here is equally entertaining; it's a good reminder of just how off the deep end everything has leapt.
Sorrentino's art looks great here, tackling big double-page spreads in ways that are eye-catching but also still good at storytelling. I love the long horizontal panels that stretch across the pages, or how Sorrentino uses the extra page space to have a dramatic rising of the vampires from dust. Sorrentino's art is very stylized but at the same time it's got a strong grasp on anatomy, body language and structure. Sorrentino's the sort of artist that makes you surprised he's not more of a superstar than he already is.
"I, Vampire" #9 is going to be quite an issue to watch. The book's leaping off in a new direction and "Rise of the Vampires" brought that about quite nicely. If you've been thinking about trying, "I, Vampire" for yourself, it's on the verge of providing you that perfect opening for a new direction.