Review: The Strain - Volume 1 / Writer: David Lapham / Artist: Mike Huddleston / Publisher: Dark Horse / Release Date: November 27th
Dark Horse’s latest graphic novel series The Strain is based on the Guillermo del Toro vampire horror novel of the same name, and if you had merely glanced at the cover, you would be forgiven for thinking that the renowned director had also penned the adaptation. Which is a pity, because it’s actually been written by Eisner award winning David Lapham, who has captured the atmosphere and terror of the original almost perfectly.
The Strain is not the most of original of ideas; a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport with all the blinds drawn closed and most of the passengers mysteriously dead. The Centre for Disease control is called in and what they find swiftly leads to a horror that is a strong mix of modern zombie thriller and classic vampire spookiness. Add to this the fact that a total eclipse of the sun is on its way and it becomes apparent that New York is in big trouble.
Artist Mike Huddleston creates a clear and disturbing version of Guillermo del Toro’s original world, and Lapham pulls no punches, knowing exactly when to let the artist do all the hard work and when it is time to adapt the dialogue to create an engaging and scary thriller. This means we get some gloriously nasty looking artwork straight out of someone’s twisted nightmares, coupled with believable characterisation. The Strain will never win any awards for originality; they are simply too many vampire/zombie stories out there. Its innovation is to mix the survival horror of Resident Evil with Hammer Horror, and this is as much fun as it sounds.
Horror fans, and those looking to familiarise themselves with the story before the TV series comes out should check this out.