Dark Horse will release the 11th installment of The Strain: The Night Eternal on July 15. The series comes to us from writer David Lapham, artist Mike Huddleston, colorist Dan Jackson, and cover artist E.M. Gist. The comic is based on the horror novel trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
Two years have passed since the vampires, led by the Master, used atomic weapons to create a nuclear winter, blocking the sun almost continuously, and allowing the vampires to move freely, except for a two or three-hour period when sunlight filters through. The vampires have restructured society as a police state: the strongest and most influential humans have been exterminated. Those spared are used as slaves, while the infirmed and weak have been herded into concentration camps to harvest their blood.
A few survivors continue to resist the vampire occupation. Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather grows distant from his friends: The Master, now occupying the body of rock star Gabriel Bolivar, has adopted Goodweather’s son, Zach, as his protege, and is grooming the boy to be his next host body. Goodweather’s lover, Dr. Nora Martinez, leaves him for exterminator Vasiliy Fet. Following his friend, Abraham Setrakian’s death, Fet struggles to decipher the Occido Lumen, a tome possibly holding the key to defeating the Master. He is aided by Mr. Quinlan, the Master’s vengeful half-vampire son.
This issue is full of turmoil. Lapham decides to continue the dark and bleak tale of the heroes who lost. Something perhaps only common in horror tales, the heroes have succumbed to the demons, while trying to fight their own. Main characters perish in this installment, and you can cut the tension with a knife.
The story opens with instant action, as the team is being hunted, once again, by a mass of hungry vampires. While retreating from the attack, Gus and Nora come across a helicopter, and decide to follow it. It results in a reunion that isn’t all that happy. All the while, the Master is following them with sneaky plans of his own. But, there may be light at the end of the tunnel, when the team comes across other human survivors who’ve set up a camp.
The imagery is fantastic in this issue. I find myself having to root through certain comics for illustrations that can explain a story, and do so in a storyboard that isn’t confusing. With this comic, it was easy to follow the plot line, and I felt like I was knee deep in the action with them. The illustrations and coloring kept to the dark story that del Toro and Hogan brilliantly portrayed. Even the dialogue assists the story in its quest for superior tension. It’s lifelike, believable, and allows the storyline to continue smoothly.
The trilogy is one of my favorite horror novels produced to date, so it’s no wonder I love the comic version just as much. If you’re into a fast read with a thriller plot line, this series is for you. I highly recommend picking up the latest issue of The Strain: The Night Eternal when it comes out July 15.
Wicked Rating: 10/10