Back in 2010, Guillermo del Toro and novelist Chuck Hogan released The Strain, a rather epic and exciting new take on vampires. This was at the heat of Twilight so in a lot of ways the parasitic and zombie-esque vampires were a nice change of pace. The second issue of the comic book adaptation of the second book is here. Does it live up to the novel and more importantly, is it good?
The Strain: The Fall #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Behind on back issues? Check out our review of The Strain: The fall #1 here.
Dark Horse Comics is smart to be publishing this series now, because when the TV show eventually hits in 2014 these comics are going to sell like hotcakes. It’s also nice because the TV most assuredly will change things from the book, while the comic will remain faithful. That lets the fans of the book get an exact replica of the book in visual form. God knows The Walking Dead has proven it’s almost required to change things for the screen.
One of the joys of reading a comic adaptation of a book is the speed in which the story is carried out. The events in this issue, for instance, would take a good 20 minutes to read from the book. That makes the comic book read that much more exciting and action packed. The book can take its time with character and plot because they have you at every word, but obviously a comic can’t go so slow. They need to keep the ball moving and that means a higher pace and a potentially more exciting read. I can safely say it is in fact more exciting, but of course with that comes a bit less meaning and impact. That’s a given though, and is no slight on the comic.
Since this is the second issue of the second book, folks will surely be lost when reading unless they’ve at least read the last issue. Then again, a new character is introduced and the evolution of one of the heroes takes a step forward, so there is some stuff here anyone can enjoy.
Writer David Lapham continues to move this story forward with deftness and speed which really helps the story be consistently enjoyable. That’s with help from artist Mike Huddleston who isn’t doing anything that wild like his acclaimed Butcher Baker series, keeping the layouts traditional. That said, flipping through you’ll see the layouts employ a sense of pace that’s on purpose.
Hiddleston also has a good sense of when to use texture. Something I really dig he keeps doing is using Ben-Day dots for shadow. They help separate the darks, but also add texture to anything from a shadow on clothes to different levels of darkness on the skyline. It’s a pretty neat feature that’s subtly interesting to look at.
- Captivates with the art in subtle ways
- Fast paced
- Not the easiest of reads to jump into
What we have here is a good read, but only if you’ve been following along. That of course is a “duh” sentence, I mean who in their right mind would think a serial series about a trilogy of books wouldn’t require you to follow along?
The pace is fast, the action always around every corner and the art impeccable for this type of book. It’s dark, it’s interesting and it keeps even the dullest of scenes lively.
Is It Good?
Yes. Vampires are running rampant, but it’s the drama unfolding between a small band of humans that’s interesting. Who woulda thunk it?
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