Andrew Bennett, the lead protagonist of this book, along with his colleague Prof. John Troughton and young vampire slayer Tig are on their way to Gotham City to combat Mary the Queen of Blood.  Along the way, they stop at a seedy motel outside of Columbus, OH so the humans can rest and Andrew can feed.  Andrew meets a fellow penitent vampire named Steve.  They knock back a few bags of blood and chat.  Steve, like Andrew, refuses to feed off of humans, sticking with animals and bags.  He reveals that early on, he gave into his urges and nearly killed someone close to him.  Ever since, he has been vigilant to not “let the monster out.”

Andrew then makes the mistake of showing Steve how to shape-shift into the large wolf-like form he takes when in combat.  Just that little bit of power corrupts Steve.  After Andrew leaves, Steve heads to a nearby bar and nearly kills everyone inside.  Coincidentally, however, John Constantine, the Hellblazer just so happens to be present and summons a miniature sun to drain Steve’s powers.  Constantine remarks, “Seeing as how this is America, I’m sure there’s a shotgun somewhere.”  There is.  He is about to kill Steve, when Andrew arrives and takes Constantine down.  Steve thanks Andrew, but sadly Andrew realizes that Steve wasn’t ready for the power and can’t control himself.  Steve gives Andrew a locket, telling him that he has a wife and daughter out there and if he ever encounters them, to give it to them.  Then, Andrew does what must be done.

Afterward, he and Constantine talk.  He tells Constantine of Mary and her plans and urges him to warn his fellow practitioners of magic to ready themselves, should Andrew fail.  After Andrew departs, Constantine quips, “God, I hate sissy-boy vampires.”  As if Andrew wasn’t already distraught enough about the evening’s proceedings, he actually opens the locket and makes a startling discovery.

There have been numerous references to the greater DC Universe, but it was great to see Constantine appear in this book.  For one thing, it makes perfect sense, him being a super natural character and all.  He’s an excellent character and his depiction here reinforced that.  He’s was surly and superior as usual!  This book will be crossing over with ‘Justice League Dark’ in a few months, so this is surely setting the stage for that.

I knew as soon as Andrew showed Steve how to transform himself that it was a bad idea.  Steve had revealed that he had only been a vampire for ten years.  It was one of those moments where you could see the disaster coming, but were powerless to stop it.  The twist at the end was maybe a tad far-fetched, but I’m enjoying this book so much, I can forgive it.  There is sure to be a big pay-off down the line.

What was really nice is that this was a neat self-contained story.  It ties into the greater arc, but it has a beginning, middle and end, so if you haven’t checked this title out yet and don’t feel like grabbing the back issues, at least pick this one up.  It will hopefully convince you to add this to your monthly pull list!

I was wary about this book originally, but it’s grown into an excellently-crafted, gripping book.  I love it!  It’s completely different from any other New 52 book.  I’m just going to keep singing it’s praises month after month.  It’s not performing very well, which is a damn shame!  (Seriously?!  This book sells worse than ‘Red Hood and the Outlaws’ and ‘Hawk & Dove?!’  What is wrong with people?!)  I can’t help but ponder that maybe if it were a Vertigo book it might perform better, but one of the most refreshing things about it is that it takes place in the mainstream DCU.  I hope guest appearances like Constantine’s here, Batman’s coming up and the future crossover with Justice League Dark spur interest.  This book is SOOOOOOOOO good!  Please don’t let it get cancelled!

Verdict: Buy

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Cover by Jenny Frison