Thursday, April 1, 2010

COMIC REVIEW: Impaler #5 (Top Cow)


It takes a lot for me to read a vampire story these days. With the media being plagued with vampire stories, I tend to shy away from them, just because I am tired of fangs and pale skin showing up everywhere. That's not to say I don't like vampires; I just don't like sub-par storytelling, especially when it comes to vampires. When I read the synopsis of Top Cow's Impaler, I decided to put my prejudices aside and give this vampire story a try. I am glad I did. William Harms and Matt Timson have created a story that is a solid vampire story, but also tells the story of humanity in crisis.


The premise is pretty straightforward: vampires have taken over the US, and those that are still alive are trying to survive. The survivors are a couple of GIs, a mother and child, a widower, and two dark horse heroes, Vlad and Victor. The tales of the survivors reminded me of reading Walking Dead, in that the monsters everyone's running from both polarize and unify--some people, like the widower, extend kindness to strangers in times of crisis. Others take what they can get in order to survive.

It's always interesting to me to see how vampires are portrayed in a story, whether they're the charismatic undead, charming the female population, or if they're more base creatures, lacking the ability to speak and even rejecting human needs like clothes. The vampires in this story are more of the latter. They can speak, but they are very pale and monster-like.

Harms' writing is beautifully complemented by Matt Timson's art. Timson's style visually depicts the bleakness the survivors face, where landscapes and interiors in neutral tans and grays give way to pools and spatters of blood. My favorite scenes were the wide angle shots, especially of the New Mexico desert.

I read this book not knowing what to expect, and I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. For something I had not heard of until this issue, it was one of the best out of the blue reads I've encountered in a while. This is a must-read for any horror comic fan.

Stacey Rader
Review Editor

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