Thursday, March 29, 2012

The New Deadwardians #1 - Review

ANOTHER WONDERFULLY ORIGINAL HORROR SERIES FROM VERTIGO


The vampire and zombie genres are two that have been heavily used lately, and even more recent are all of the genre-crossing comic books where the two clash in some way. But the only comic book that seems to have done something completely original with it is The New Deadwardians, written by Dan Abnett and drawn by I. N. J. Culbard. The story revolves around an alternate version of post-Victorian England, where The Restless (zombies) has driven the upper class to become The Young (vampires) in order to preserve the empire and carry on. Chief Inspector George Suttle is the only remaining homicide detective in his precinct and is shocked when a murder actually shows up on his doorstep. In a world of monsters fighting monsters, an everyday murder is the true thing to be terrified about.

I have to be honest -- when I heard about this book I thought it was going to be horrible. I wrote it off without giving it a chance. I’d like to say that I now have a completely different opinion of this book. It’s really fun. It hits all the right spots that costume dramas on the BBC do, while adding in the classic horror elements that comics seem to be perfect at capturing. The political structure of this new world is really captivating. The Young are on top, The Restless are on the bottom, and humanity is caught in the middle. It’s a really fascinating and completely original approach to this kind of genre.

What really interests me is how The Young behave. They get their teeth filed down, they get blood transfusions to keep their hunger at bay, and they continue to dress and eat normally to keep up their social standards. They treat being the undead as a lifestyle change and medical condition rather than an excuse for ultimate power. The fact that one of them is found murdered, with no signs of classic undead dispatching, is a cause for alarm among the authorities. Has that ever happened in any other vampire or zombie story?

I’m going to give this issue a 4/5 for being really interesting and grabbing my attention from the start. The writing is solid, the artwork has a classic and clean look, and Vertigo continues to prove that they can do vampire stories the way they should be. How you ask? They do it by being original, thrilling, and downright horrifying.

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