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Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Strange Academy: Blood Hunt’ #1 sends Marvel’s magical children on a deadly mission

Marvel’s supernatural protégés embark on a deadly mission to save Earth.

The hunt begins… and the magical children of Marvel’s Strange Academy are on the prowl. As the world descends into night, and vampire armies are unleashed on the world, Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1 sees Marvel’s supernatural protégés embark on a deadly mission to save Earth. From writer Daniel José Older with art by Luigi Zagaria, Eric Gapstur, Edgar Delgado, Erick Arciniega, Scott Hanna, and Clayton Cowles, the first issue of this three-issue tie-in series to the main Blood Hunt series is an epic start to a monstrous adventure.

Major spoilers ahead for Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1 and Blood Hunt #1!

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Blood Hunt sees a vast vampiric conspiracy come to fruition on planet Earth, as Blade the Vampire Hunter seemingly betrays humanity to become the ruler of a new vampire world. Using Darkforce wielders as portals to blot out the sun, Blade’s vampire organization the Structure launches a war across the planet, including in New Orleans, where Strange Academy is located. An extra-long first issue, Strange Academy: Blood Hunt thrusts the powerful children into the middle of the vampire war, introduces an exciting new student, and explores Marvel’s new Darkhold entity.

Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1

Marvel Comics

Introduced on the first page, Pia is a new student at Strange Academy who is trying to befriend protagonists Shaylee, Zoe, Germán, Doyle, Guslaug, and Toth, while harboring a dangerous secret. After the main story concludes – revealing the shocking truth that Pia is in fact a vampire herself – a backup issue explains that Pia saved someone from a vampire attack before being turned herself, and rescued by Doctor Voodoo.

Brought to Strange Academy by Voodoo, and able to survive in the daytime with the help of her mystical familiar Tito Peping, Pia is a wonderful addition to Strange Academy’s cast and the perfect way to tie the students into the greater Blood Hunt plot. However, I do wish that they put Pia’s backstory first, before the main tale, because I was very confused about whether we had already met her before, pausing my reading to research if the character had already been introduced.

As the children of Strange Academy are getting a vampire tour (oh, the irony!) of a famous New Orleans cemetery, the world suddenly turns to night, and a group of vicious vampires attacks them. I really loved how writer Daniel Older showed how terrified Germán was of the vampires; it was nice to humanize at least one of the children as… well, a child, who would reasonably be afraid of a vampire horde. Pia proves her heroism by using quick wit and fierce strength to forge a stake and save Germán from a vampire before the children manage to make it back to the Academy, where Voodoo brutally kills a group of vamps.

Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1

Marvel Comics

The other main connection that Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1 has to Blood Hunt is through an astral projection of Doctor Strange, who was just stabbed and bitten by Blade. Strange reveals to Voodoo (while the children are listening through the door) that the only hope of defeating the vampire scourge is by finding a remnant of the Darkhold and casting the Montesi Formula, a spell Strange has used in the past to erase the vampiric curse from existence. Finally, the kids have a mission, going against Voodoo’s wishes in an attempt to find the Montesi Formula. Older’s writing of all these characters is excellent and feels like the perfect continuation of their characterization in prior series.

The Strange Academy students wind up in the forests of Madripoor, where they stumble upon Darkhold, the living embodiment of the terrible text, brought to life accidentally by Agatha Harkness. A backup after the main story describes how Darkhold escapes from Harkness’s strict supervision, using its demonic power to head to the lawless Madripoor, where they can unleash untold horrors. While Darkhold easily defeats most of the students, Pia manages to bite the entity, potentially turning it into a vampire and at the very least subduing it.

The art throughout Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1 is excellent. Dynamic, captivating, and full of action, Luigi Zagaria, Eric Gapstur, Edgar Delgado, Erick Arciniega, Scott Hanna, and Clayton Cowles truly kill it with their illustrations, color, and lettering. The use of shading, in such a dark and hopeless story, is brilliant, and the color by Delgado and Arciniega pops off the page in a way that brings light to such a gloomy tale. It is also a joy to see Humberto Ramos doing the covers for this series, seeing as he has done the interior work for much of the Strange Academy catalog.

Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1 is a near-perfect tie-in to a larger series, serving to show the world-spanning event’s impact on a niche group of characters while tying the plot into the greater thrust of Blood Hunt. The addition of Pia, a young vampire whose heroism will allow the reader to empathize with, is wonderful, and the Darkhold is a fascinating character to include. Daniel José Older’s writing is pitch-perfect – funny, sharp, and emotionally resonant – while Luigi Zagaria and Eric Gapstur’s art beautifully elevates the tale. A worthy investment for fans of Strange Academy, gorgeous art, or vampire mayhem!

Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1
‘Strange Academy: Blood Hunt’ #1 sends Marvel’s magical children on a deadly mission
Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1
Strange Academy: Blood Hunt #1 is a near-perfect tie-in to a larger series, serving to show the world-spanning event's impact on a niche group of characters while tying the plot into the greater thrust of Blood Hunt. The addition of Pia, a young vampire whose heroism will allow the reader to empathize with, is wonderful, and the Darkhold is a fascinating character to include. Daniel José Older's writing is pitch-perfect - funny, sharp, and emotionally resonant - while Luigi Zagaria and Eric Gapstur's art beautifully elevates the tale. A worthy investment for fans of Strange Academy, gorgeous art, or vampire mayhem!
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Addition of Pia to cast of Strange Academy was a smart move
Putting Darkhold among other "children" is perfect for the new character
Solid connection to main Blood Hunt story
Wish Pia's origin story was placed at the beginning of issue
8.5
Great
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