A favorite monster of the comic book writer is the vampire. While at first basic, there have been ways of making this monster new and interesting. One of these comics is “Subspecies” written by Cullen Bunn and Jimmyz with art by Daniel J. Logan. The first issue takes a bite out of you and never releases its grip.
Michelle (Shelly) is now living as a nurse after she and her friends defeated the vampire Radu for the fourth time. As with any pest, Radu has come back to once again wreak havoc on Shelly and take back the bloodstone that Shelly took from him.
This has a strong “Castlevania” vibe, but instead of a new generation having to deal with a vampire it’s one person. This can also be construed as a comic book character having its biggest arch-nemesis constantly come back. Add in the fact that Shelly is also a vampire and this story becomes all the more interesting.
Of course, this first issue basically gives you the rundown of the background while giving the reader some in medias res action near the end. Bunn and Jimmyz do a nice job of developing Shelly as a character as well as the main conflict.
The problem is Radu himself. He comes off as a generic monster that doesn’t die. Some may say that’s what Dracula is in the “Castlevania” games and any other comic book villain. The problem is those characters have a ton of background and personality that makes them memorable. Radu has none of that so far.
Logan’s art is excellent for the most part. His backgrounds look great as well as the character designs. The colors are dark which is perfect for horror stories and gives off a great atmosphere. The only minor nitpick is that the facial expressions are about as lifeless as a corpse. Yes, both Shelly and Radu are vampires, but even they show emotion (“Twilight” vampires notwithstanding.)
The first issue of “Subspecies” done a fine job of creating the world and the characters background and the art is great for the most part. While Radu and the facial expressions are the only nitpick, the comic itself is still a great read.