I was initially excited about this book because the names Guillermo Del Toro and David Lapham were attached to it. I love anything that Del Toro does, my favorite being Pan’s Labrynth. His creatures and story telling keep me intrigued and glued to the screen, even when I am totally frightened. I was new to the world of David Lapham, but I had started reading Ferals and was enjoying it. Plus, a ton of my friends really dug his stuff with Stray Bullets and Crossed. The first time I read through the Strain I was left feeling a little “meh”. I thought it was just alright and nothing fantastic. Like most comics, I decided to read it once more through and I figured out why I was left feeling so-so. In a nutshell, it reads like a book and I was trying to read it like a comic. I read a lot of comics that are full of action and bright colors and catchphrases. But this book has none of those things.
The story starts with an old woman telling a story from her childhood to a young boy. You get the sense that this tale is going to become important later in the book. Fast forward to present day and a father and his son are playing a game. The father, Ephraim, has been ignoring his cell phone, though it’s been ringing constantly. He eventually answers it and gets into an argument with his son’s mother. There is definitely a strained family element being displayed here and will be all too familiar for some. When he has to leave his son because of a work emergency, you can’t help but to feel pain for the guy. The story gets exciting here, as Ephraim arrives at work and something suspicious is going on. I won’t give away to many details, as to not spoil the book for you. But I will tell you that he works for the CDC and is investigating the circumstances involved in a plane landing. At the end of the issue, you see the young boy from the earlier story, Abraham, as an old man. He is watching the news about the plane that landed. As Abraham makes a comment in reference to the story his grandmother told him, you are hooked!
David Lapham has set up the story so that you don’t know much but crave to know more. Mike Huddleston’s art flows seamlessly with Lapham’s writing style, bringing everything together. With the grandmother telling a story, the phone calls Ephraim had, and the mysterious lack of correspondence from the plane, communication is an underlying theme in this issue. While I may be reading too deeply into things ( and I am known for that), I find this focus on communication very interesting and it makes me want to continue reading.Oh and did I forget to mention that this is a book about vampires? Well, at least that is what the inside cover says. But I think it would be best that you keep that in the back of your mind. There is only a little violence in this issue and I never would have expected it to come from a vampire. So, I assume it safe to say, these will not be your ordinary vamps. This first issue, priced at $1 is a steal at that price. I recommend you snatch up this issue at Cosmic Comics here in Las Vegas.