#1 For $1: The Strain #1
By Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan, David Lapham, Mike Huddleston & Dan Jackson
Dark Horse Comics recently began releasing individual issues for the price of $1.00, and this weeks issue was Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain. This is a great deal as this issue was a great comic, panel after panel, page after page. The full volume is available in TPB, but for now, The Strain #1 is a great place to get started and will surely leave you longing for more.
The story spans almost a century as we begin in Romania, 1927, then fast forward to present day New York City. The story, along with the art, transitions perfectly as the wide range of creativity from Huddleston and Jackson are on full display. There are slight, minimal changes in the art and color as the time changes. Differences in the use of light and shadow create distinctive atmospheres in the two time periods. From the light reflection on faces and surfaces, the art and story are set up like a classic horror/thriller movie or an episode of Fringe.
While reading the introduction you get the sense you’re hearing an eerie camp fire story, and as the story progresses to modern day, the tone also changes to that of a modern horror film. The range of storytelling told by Lapham is incredible as he creates an interesting mystery that catches its readers early and keeps hold of them panel after panel. With all that is happening in this issue, the main story revolves around Ephraim, a man separated from his wife and just wanting to spend more time with his son, until he’s called to investigate a disturbance at J.F.K. Airport. Ephraim is a strong leading character with a relatable backstory that some readers could sympathize with.
Mystery after mystery, this first issue introduces a lot of questions, many of which are not answered by this issue’s conclusion, forcing a lot of anticipating for the next issue. Luckily for first time readers, the full volume is currently available and all your questions will be answered. The Strain takes a premise that has been used too much of late in all forms of media, yet this book makes it feel fresher than ever: Vampires. Connecting stories spanning almost a century, The Strain explores the many mysteries surrounding these creatures while introducing a collection of likable supporting characters. So many elements, all supposedly connected make for a gripping plot full of twists, and striking images worthy of some of the best horror stories.