The Strain #1 Review: Vampires on a Plane

Sorry, Samuel L. Jackson, snakes on a plane just isn’t scary. Vampires on a plane is. Well, that’s the initial reaction we get with the first issue of “The Strain,” Dark Horse’s comic adaptation of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s Strain Trilogy.

The story is about a plane that lands at JFK airport and everyone on board is dead. Turns out a virus has caused everyone to turn into vampires and now New York City is overrun by a vampire apocalypse. Meanwhile, a pawn shop owner and Holocaust survivor knows the truth and must now fight a war he’s been dreading his whole life.

“The Strain: Volume 1” does follow the original novel closely with the introducing all the main characters, the plane with everyone dead and the prologue with the old lady telling the tale of Jusef Sardu. Sometimes adapting a novel into comic form can be tricky and Dark Horse has managed to pull off the prologue and the first chapter in a good way.

Here we meet Ephraim, a special forces operative whose one weekend visitation with his son is interpreted when he gets a call saying a plane is not taking off and there’s a loss of communication. When he gets there everyone on board is dead.

The artwork by Mike Huddleston fits perfectly for this story and looks great. It looks like one of those old ‘Tales from the Crypt” comics with the scary backdrops and dark colors. There are times when the humans look a bit too cartoony and stretched which kills the whole atmosphere of the whole comic, but these instances are short.

Speaking of short, the first issue feels that way. We get  little story and what story we do get is over very quickly. Maybe if it was made into a longer graphic novel format, it would’ve been a much better fit. At the same time, it does a good job of teasing what’s ahead.

As for the “Vampires on a Plane” thing, that’s the best way to describe this volume. Even though we don’t see any vampires yet, it is hinted at and that’s what most of the comic looks like.

A decent start with great artwork, “The Strain” is off to a good start, but let’s see where Dark Horse goes with this. A 20 page sample just doesn’t do this justice.

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Rocco Sansone

Rocco Sansone is a “man of many interests.” These include anime/manga, video games, tabletop RPGs, YA literature, 19th century literature, the New York Rangers, and history. Among the things and places he would like to see before he dies are Japan, half of Europe, and the New York Rangers win another Stanley Cup.
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