Last issue, Andrew Bennett welcomed any challengers who thought they could rule the vampires better than he.  He was startled that Mary the Blood Queen, his tragic beloved, accepted the challenge.  They battle, but Andrew has the enhanced magic of Cain, so Mary poses little challenge to him.  Their battle is narrated by a conversation between John Troughton and the leader of the Van Helsings, the legendary vampire slayers.  Troughton attempts to reason with Van Helsing, but the man and his army are determined to wipe out the vampires with a cult-like fervor.  He also hints that ater eliminating vampires, the army plans to target super heroes.

Andrew and Mary’s battle is ended by the Van Helsing’s invasion.  Andrew doesn’t have enough time to save all of his followers from the attackers’ fire bombs.  Nor does he have much time to rally the vampires as they lash back at the Van Helsings using lethal force, which he doesn’t want.  But somehow, even death doesn’t seem to stop the Van Helsings.  Those guys are more determined than they seemed!

The Van Helsings’ rabid devotion to their cause makes them great villains-who-think-they-are-heroes and those types tend to make the best villains.  (See Doctor Doom and Magneto.)  Andrew is plenty powerful now, but will the Van Helsings’ vast numbers and their seeming unstoppable-ness be enough to overcome him?

The one aspect of this book that doesn’t quite work for me is the love between Andrew and Mary.  I don’t quite buy it.  Not enough is done to indicate why the rational Andrew still cares about the villainous Mary.  Their goals and attitudes are vastly different.  I think more needs to be done to explain why he is still drawn to someone who is basically his arch enemy.

The art by Andrea Sorrentino with coloring by Marcelo Maiolo is fantastic and suits the book perfectly.  The blazing heat of the desert really burns off the page.  The dark scenes between Van Helsing and Troughton contrast sharply and you can almost feel the coolness.  It’s all very well-done!

Verdict: Buy

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Cover by Clayton Crain