Rubber isn’t hitting the road this week, but it’s vamping (pun distastefully intended) up the series with issue #3. Dark Fantasy mastermind Guillermo Del Toro and crime writing, Hammet Prizewinning Chuck Hogan’s second book in the trilogy Strain: The Fall is adapted well by David Lapham, so far, so good. While it is definitely entertaining, there’s just a few things I need to get off my chest about it.
Released September 18th, the third issue reveals the beginnings of the larger plot-line. It’s the calm before the storm, and it looks like it’s going to be an ugly one. Here's what's up; Gabriel Bolivar (billionaire now slave to “The Master”) is getting ready to make a move to commandeer the Occido Lumen (the book that could save humanity from vampire overload). New classes of vampires are introduced. The Professor, Abraham Setrakian, fills the reader in on a little more of his history with the Occido Lumen, showing how badass he really is. But likely one of the better story arcs will come from The Silver Angel, who used to be a wrestler/vampire hunter on TV. He's aged a bit and will have to remember his strength from the better days. Maybe not as cool as the Voldemortlooking guy from issue #2, but all in all, the series has a lot of potential, it's just this one thing..
Moan! The art is great, but probably better suited for a cartoonish noir, not a horror/action series. Mike Huddleston leaves the faces and scenery intentionally blurred, shadowy or faded to pencil heads in the background.
It actually pulls me out of the comic from time to time. It feels like he's trying to avoid faces. I was hoping I might get used to it by issue #3, but ya- no. Another thing that really bothers me is how the vampires are not as scary as they are gross. Believe me, they are frightening, but they look like they want to give you mono or herpes more than kill you.
I see no difference.
To be fair, you can’t blame Huddleston for that, I didn’t read the books,but I’m sure there’s some awkward tongue action in there, reminding us all of middle school. Seriously, what are they doing? Smashing faces with sheer tongue force? Making you deep throat their tongue until you inelegantly choke on their veiny, bulbous appendage? I can't tell yet. The above image makes the end of it's tongue sharp, but that's not how the actual art is inside the comic. I hope they show less of these guys in future issues. In contrast, the other intelligent, sinister vampires in previous issues are really going to make incredible adversaries provided there's some depth & character development to them.
The series definitely has a lot going on for it, with one gem that stood out as really great writing this issue, spoken by the Professor, “...When hope is waning, vengeance must sustain us.” In context, it’s even more powerful. I will keep reading for the story, because it is decently gripping. I’m sure keeping up with it will be great for when the TV series comes out. The Hollywood Reporter claims the pilot is currently in production so watch out, The Walking Dead. Del Toro is one of the most interesting writers I’ve seen recently, & when he keeps a journal like this, he becomes way too awesome to do anything wrong. I'm sure there will be some exciting, suspense-filled issues to come in the coming issues.