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"Dark Red #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by AfterShock Comics

Dark Red 1 00

Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Corin Howell
Colored by Mark Englert
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
2019, 33 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 20th, 2019

Review:

Chip is working a dead-end job during the graveyard shift at a gas station, which works out well because he’s also a vampire. He doesn’t have aspirations of exotic locales or fancy living. He’s a down-to-earth kind of guy that’s probably more comfortable in a red hat, polo shirt, and tiki torch, if you know what I mean. All of this is about to change when someone knew waltzes into his life.

Dark Red turns the vampire mythos on its ear. Chip doesn’t live a glamorous lifestyle with a castle and frilly clothes. He literally mops up puke on a near daily basis then goes home to sleep under his trailer. He’s carved out this peaceful little life for himself. It may be simple, but it does the job. His needs are met.

This isn’t to say that Chip is de-fanged or anything like that. He lets them out when needed, especially towards the end of this issue when his home is attacked by a few vampires. His whole demeanor changes when he vamps out. Letterer Marshall Dillon changes the font and style of the word balloons for his speech. They become a dark red, signaling the shift into vampire mode.

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This fight also includes a great idea that I don’t see used too much, at least outside of a Joe Ripple movie. These rival vampires are armed with stakes made of ice, specifically holy water. While this would be a pain to transport and maintain, they’re pretty cool in combat.

Artist Corin Howell has some rather creative kills in Dark Red #1. It’s tough to pick a favorite between the guy getting his head squashed by a CRT TV or the other one who gets impaled by a few of those icicle stakes. The latter has a nice touch with an eyeball dangling precariously from the tip of the stake. There’s one more that just might steal the show, but I don’t want to spoil it here.

Colorist Mark Englert sets the tone for Dark Red. Since most of the issue takes place at night, this mostly comes out with cool blues. When blood is spilled, it’s bright and shocking. It makes the violence pop on the page. The mystery woman that appears at the end of the issue is another shock to the system, with skin so pale she’s practically a ghost. It immediately draws the eye, as she appears almost angelic.

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Chip is challenged about his lifestyle early on, but he is so set in his ways. He’s an incel vampire. He yearns for a simpler (see “whiter”) time. You’d think with his strength and abilities, he’d look to do something more about this than just sitting in an easy chair watching old movies. That’s probably saying something about his character and those that resemble him.

With the current political climate, it was only a matter of time before it influenced some comics. Dark Red is a satirical take on the stubborn white American male, through the lens of vampires. It’s like a distant cousin to all the sex and violence from True Blood, but this one sits alone in its trailer park, wondering why the world around it is so scary and different.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Dark Red 1 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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