It’s only natural for DC to attempt to tap into the lucrative vampire market. Like ‘Twilight,’ ‘True Blood’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ ‘I, Vampire’ is just as much a gothic love story as it is a horror title. In it, we meet Andrew and Mary, vampire lovers at a crossroads.
Mary is determined that vampires should rule the world and that she should lead them, describing herself as “Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Ben Franklin all in one” and proclaiming herself the “Blood Queen” by the issue’s end. Andrew doesn’t share her vision and is content to lie low and feed off animals. He has spent 400 years perfecting the art of vampire-killing and now must use that skill against a growing army of evil vampires, bent on conquering the world, led by his beloved. (It isn’t explained exactly why he is such a human-sympathizer.)
[Bloody Spoilers ahead]
The book flashes backward and forward in time as Andrew in the present, kills a fairly significant pack of vampires, but keeps flashing back to the dissolution of his centuries-old relationship with Mary (whom, he apparently turned). In the present storyline, an army of Mary’s creation ambushes Andrew who flees, inadvertently leading them to a highly populated area, turning it into a bloodbath! There is nothing he can do at that point but watch in horror. The flashback storyline ends with Mary leaving Andrew via a Dear John letter explaining that she knows he will try to stop her and that she will “love [him] even more for that.”
It seems that every vampire project has its own set of rules, so Fialkov lays down the ground rules pretty concisely. These vamps can shape shift into wolves, bats or mist. Andrew actually grows into a giant at one point, but it’s unclear if that is a trait unique to him or if others share it. Mary transforms her clothing in one scene and when she transforms into the Blood Queen, it’s an even more significant change. Andrew explains that sunlight doesn’t kill these vampires, but it vastly decreases their abilities. To kill his enemies, he both stakes them and beheads them.
In a refreshing twist, this book actually takes place in the DC Universe proper as Andrew cautions Mary, “And you think you and your ‘army’ stand a chance against Superman and a half-dozen Green Lanterns and Wonder Woman?” It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out and whether the mentioned heroes will pop up in this series.
The artwork is lush and has a painted look. Like in the cases of the other “horror” books DC has put out, it’s also kind of grungy and rough-looking. The writing was fairly straight-forward, with the time jumps adding a level of complexity. The plot isn’t anything new– star-crossed lovers on separate paths– but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing. I’m not hooked, but I understand I’m really not this book’s target reader, either. I’m not sold yet, but I will probably at least give the second issue a shot.
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
(No Cover Artist Credited)