Blade fans get fed this week as Mark Russell and Dave Wachter catch us up on what the hero has been up to working for Dracula. Wait…what?! That’s right, Blade is now Dracula’s sheriff in a vampire nation that has brokered peace with humans. It’s an interesting one-shot as Blade must figure out who is killing head-of-state vampires.
The second part of the title of this series may be the most compelling as Russell and Wachter gets to explain how this nation functions. One might imagine humans would never openly live with vampires, but it makes a lot of sense. It’s a neat concept to wrap your head around in an entertainment industry that seems to retread vampires every other month. Not so here, as the system makes some sense. It’ll have your imagination run wild thinking about the possibilities.
Outside of that, Blade gets to be his badass self. He’s written well here, and accurately at that. He’s not a talker by any means and is pretty good at being a detective. While it’s still hard to truly grasp him working for vampires, it’s his status now, and he suits the role. I wouldn’t say this is a character exploration by any means, but he’s well represented.
Blade: Vampire Nation also benefits from detailed and well-measured art. Wachter captures the realism well, be it a covert-ops team attacking Vampyrsk or Dracula being awakened unexpectedly from Blade. The book is never overtly violent, and its general vibe is similar to something Steve Dillon would do on Punisher. There are exciting subtleties in character faces, like when we see Dracula represented on wall art as young, but in the next scene, he’s looking a bit aged and tired.
Dee Cunniffe colors the issue giving it a realistic feel. There’s a darker tone as if it’s autumn, that suits the cold land of Vampyrisk and its population of vampires and humans. The atmosphere is pitch-perfect, and that’s largely on Cunniffe’s shoulders.
It’s a pity this story is only a one-shot as it opens up a world worth exploring and a take on Blade that’s missed. That said, the conflict is very self-contained and resolved by the end. The cliffhanger, though, should be exciting to see develop in future comics.
Blade fans, you must read Blade: Vampire Nation. It not only understands the character but fills us in on his new role and the incredible concept of an openly free vampire nation.
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