REVIEW: I, Vampire #16

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Definitely a niche book, DC’s horror title I, VAMPIRE has struggled to find its audience, and is quickly approaching its last issue with #19. However, the other horror books of the New 52, including Swamp Thing, and Justice League Dark have all met with critical acclaim. With the end of the series nearing, should latecomers give this book a chance? Major Spoilers has your review…

ivampire16I, VAMPIRE #16
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in I, VAMPIRE: Former “good guy” vampire Andrew Bennett has been corrupted and launched on a violent and bloody crusade to an end only he knows, but could possibly mean the apocalypse. With a couple of friends whom he has also turned into evil bloodsuckers, Bennett has destroyed the vampire-hunting society of the Van Helsings. Meanwhile, the antagonists of the series have now become the only hope for the series and look to stop Bennett before his plan comes to fruition.

A LESSON IN VAMPIRE ORIGINS

This issue of the series seems almost like an interlude before the upcoming climactic battle. Bennett and his cronies raid the Van Helsing’s vault of magical artifacts in search of a heavenly weapon. While they work towards their nefarious ends, the heroes of the book hang out in a bar with the Cain of Biblical fame and listen to his tale. In a lot of vampiric folklore, Cain is credited with creating the vampire race after being cast from the Garden of Eden, and DC’s take doesn’t waver too much from these legends. However, this Cain has been stripped of his power and now seems more of a washout, creating a smidge of black humor in an otherwise serious book.

By the end of the issue, both teams move to action, the crew of protagonists led by a guest-star from Justice League Dark. We end with a page that creates a real “Oh, bleep,” moment which left me looking forward to the next issue.

DARK, GRITTY, AND A PINCH OF GOTH

Sorrentino’s artwork in this book has been pitch-perfect throughout the series. A tale of horror like this works best when grounded in reality. Even past appearances by superheroes such as Batman have had that realistic feel. With such a focus on detail, it makes the long, gnashing teeth and the bloodstained faces of the vamps that much more horrifying. There’s heavy shadow throughout the book and a muted color scheme, but it creates a fantastic atmosphere in the title. Truly, this is a unique book among the New 52.

BOTTOM LINE: MARCHING TO THE GRAVE

It is a shame that I, VAMPIRE only has a few more breaths until the end, as it is a book I’ve really enjoyed. It is a title that appeals to a small market, to be sure, and I understand why the sales haven’t enjoyed the success of some of DC’s other books. But whereas Frankenstein is enjoying the spotlight in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, I don’t quite know where Andrew Bennett may end up. It could very well be oblivion.

This is not a book for new readers to pick up. My recommendation to them would be to start at the beginning and work your way to this point. But if you’ve been following the series from the start, this certainly is not an issue you want to miss. I, VAMPIRE #16 gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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