Or – “I Wonder If This Ending Wasn’t Planned…”
Change is inevitable, say the sooth-sayers, but I’m still a little bummed to see another of my favorite DC New 52 titles go the way of the Skateman. Will Andrew Bennett go out with a bang or a whimper? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
I VAMPIRE #19
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist(s): Fernando Blanco & Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Chris Conroy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, in I, Vampire: For over 500 years (or, if you’re a literalist, since 1981) Andrew Bennett has walked the earth as a vampire, but in the past couple of years, his life has become an endless cycle of conflict. Though he himself has gained power, he also inadvertently freed Cain, the first vampire, from captivity. Now, Bennett must reap the harvest he has sown, and only one thing is for certain: There will be blood.
We open in the House of Mystery, as Andrew faces Lilith, mother of vampires, the evil Cain, the first vampire, and the wild-card presence of his dead lover, Mary, the Queen of Blood. Fialkov’s work on this book has been very subtle and moving, and the relationship between Andrew and Mary has been at its heart since the beginning. I like what they’ve done here, especially as it manages to modernize the still-enjoyable original tales (from the House of Mystery comic, he said significantly) without throwing away the things that made them unique or submitting entirely to the urge to relive ‘Twilight’ for comic fans. The ‘WTF’ cover foldout for IV19 is another one that feels like it was tacked-on (or, at least, stapled on, bah dump bump), as it doesn’t really herald much of a surprise for the readers, and the appearance of Lucifer in the issue ends up being less of a surprise than a necessary part of Bennett’s outmaneuvering the first vampire.
OOOH, LOOK! CONSTANTINE!
There is a lot of (you should excuse the expression) biting dialogue, especially from Mary, who speaks in a very current vernacular, all the while blowing people away with ancient eldritch energies, a nice paradoxical balance. Everyone gets their moment as the creators wrap up their overarching plotlines (Fialkov was apparently given nearly six months notice of the book’s cancellation, and the care in building to this climax shows in the final work) and things are wrapped up in a way that is eerie for fans of pre-Crisis horror titles. Most importantly, there is finally closure for Andrew Bennett regarding his centuries-long affair with Mary, and the closing page of the book is an out-of-temporal sequence shocker that adds even more depth to their already-pretty-damned-heavy backstory.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A SOLID ENDING FOR AN UNDERRATED BOOK.
In short, if I Vampire had to go, I’m glad that they got to go in a manner that befits the title and the characters, and not in a panicked spasm of Top 300 sales reports and angry creator. (I’m looking at you, Static Shock.) I’m saddened to see it end, but like many quality Vertigo books before it, it wraps up nicely while leaving room for additional stories and appearances by at least SOME of the cast. I, Vampire #19 doesn’t suck, which is a joke that I’ve held off making for months now, but since this is my last chance, I’m throwing it in, giving us a bittersweet close and 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I hope to see more both from these creators and from this setting in DC’s future output.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!