From writers Ange (Anne and Gerard Guéuro) and Patrick Renault, illustrated by Charlie Adlard, published by Ablaze. This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by NetGalley. To be released July 7, 2020.
I remember seeing the first issue of this comic book solicited and thinking it was an interesting concept. By no means was I prepared for just how interesting it turned out to be. This four issue series is brilliantly constructed and kept me off guard the entire time. At no point in the series could I guess what was going to happen next.
The series starts with a group of friends meeting at the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Terry Fisher has decided to give up everything in his life and join the military. This shocks his friends, his girlfriend, everyone and they agree to set aside their shock to have one last outing.
Meanwhile, a restoration is taking place within the skyscraper and a sealed room is discovered. By opening this secret, a legion of vampires and their master is unleashed upon Manhattan. Hundreds of people including our hero and his friends are trapped inside the building. Emergency forces gather outside attempting various plans to contain the problem. A lot, a LOT happens in a mere four issues and I can’t imagine anyone reading this in more than one sitting. As soon as the danger begins the opportunity for a bookmark is over. This comic becomes a non stop action/horror movie that leaves audience members exhausted two hours later.
I was amazed how much the actual real life history of the Empire State Building works into this fantasy plot in important ways. Some I knew, but most I didn’t and that continued to keep me off balance while reading. To explain it here would ruin some cool plot twists.
For horror comic fans take warning, Charlie Adlard’s art will bring back Walking Dead memories. Honestly to the level I could see readers wondering if it takes place within the same world. Some of his facial features and layout choices remind me of things from the long running zombie series. That’s not a complaint though, just a commentary on how iconic that run was and will most likely follow him in everything he does in the future.
If there is any complaint about the book, it’s that the story is too short. There are some deaths and some twists that would have landed a bit harder with more pages. More character background, more tension build up, in a case or two even a longer death. I was surprised this was only 4 issues and not 6 like most collections. This could have easily been six issues and not feel padded by one panel.
There’s not a doubt in my mind this will eventually become a movie. Such a simple yet brilliant concept. An easy elevator pitch of “Die Hard with vampires”. Until that time comes, set money aside for this upcoming release and wait until nighttime for a scary exciting read.
(A copy of this book was provided by Net Galley for review.)