Bleed Them Dry is a new Vault Comics series out this week that is a detective drama in a futuristic world where vampires and humans coexist. Considering Vault has delivered some of the best horror comics in a decade (and are opening a horror imprint this September), I have to believe they understand horror better than most. Plus, who doesn’t like a Blade Runner style future filled with vamps?
Created by Hiroshi Koizumi and written by Eliot Rahal with art by Dike Ruan, the story opens on a crime scene that seems a bit fishy. It’s the year 3333, and an immortal has been found dead in their apartment. The only person who might have seen something tries to kill Detective Harper Halloway with his fangs, which is a highly unusual thing. So begins the delight in figuring out how this sci-fi/horror world works. This book is quite efficient in dropping us into the narrative and letting us understand the character dynamics and learn about the world.
Possibly most importantly, writer Eliot Rahal slowly unveils what this world is about via relatable scenes. Two characters sitting in a diner, for instance, where one takes coffee and the other blood. It doesn’t beat you over the head with the rules, but it also doesn’t give you everything all at once. Understanding how vampires and humans coexist is a compelling idea, and the sci-fi futuristic world laid on top of it only makes it more tantalizing to learn about. There’s clearly a Japanese meets Western element in the book, which fans of anime like Ghost in the Shell will appreciate.
The art by Dike Ruan with colors by Miquel Muerto is moody and dark, which suits the setting and style of the story. This is a detective story with a chief who shouts at people, a partner who is calm as hell, and a protagonist who seems to be trying to figure out her own life let alone the crazy world. There is some interesting use of layout ideas at work, like two panels slicing apart when a character themselves gets sliced, mixing things up nicely. The cityscape is quite grand and pretty thanks to the twinkling lights and slight ambient haze. It’s not too clean, and that makes it look realistic.
I had a blast uncovering what this new futuristic world is as it blends horror and science fiction well. There’s a deeper mystery going on that you’ll be rooting for Halloway to solve, as deep mysteries surrounding vampires are uncovered.