Created by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, with a script by David Lapham and illustrated by Mike Huddleston, The Strain: The Fall explores the vampire genre as a viral epidemic. The viral theme was first explored in Richard Matheson’s classic novel: I Am Legend, but that seems to be where the similarity ends. The Strain is not a post-apocalyptic tale, with the events taking place in the not to distant future, and seems more like a conspiracy drama, then an action adventure. But the horror aspect is clearly evident.
We follow a small eclectic group of humans fighting not only monstrous vampires, but a world wide conspiracy as well. It appears that they are humanities only hope of survival. The vampires are varied, from mindless killing beasts, to politically well-to-do aristocrats. Their full potential has yet to be revealed, yet it seems clear that more are on the way, especially with “The Master” lurking in the shadows.
Lapham’s script is fast paced, and engaging. Even in the lengthy opening sequence, in which the history of a mysterious book is revealed, I never found myself bored. On the contrary, it added a layer of building tension, that when concluded, left me completely engrossed.
Huddleston’s art is bold and aggressive. Akin to the likes of Mignola, he uses light and shadow in eerie ways that add a Lovecraftian brooding gruesomeness to the atmosphere. His style is fluid, and organic, adding a dreamlike quality to the places and especially the characters. It’s almost as though they’re trapped in a nightmare, and we’re voyeurs looking in.
Though the vampire’s ludicrously tentacle-like tongues are a bit hard to swallow (pun intended), the series debut is a solid one, that only hints at it’s overall potential.
The Strain: The Fall #1 Review