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"Dark Red #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by AfterShock Comics

Dark Red 2 00

Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Corin Howell
Colored by Mark Englert
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 24th, 2019

Review:

Charlie is a simple man with simple tastes. He's content in his trailer and his dead-end job at the gas station. All he needs is some occasional blood from a willing donor and he's set. That all changes when Kamille shows up. She's another vampire looking for help and Charlie could be her white knight, but that comes with a whole lot of trouble.

I've seen all kinds of vampires in my time as a comic reviewer. Big ones, small ones, ones that climb on rocks. I can safely say that I've never seen something like Dark Red. It uses these creatures as a lens to view current political turmoil in an absolutely fascinating way. Charlie is portrayed as your average guy who means well, even though he's a vampire. Someone in authority in the bloodsucker community suddenly speaks directly to him, mirroring how Donald Trump rose to power in real life. It's incredible to watch this play out.

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Writer Tim Seeley handles this with care and precision. It's very easy to draw parallels between the events in Dark Red and those in our world, but he doesn't beat you over the head with the message. Additionally, there's a great twist in this issue when things get a little too far out of Charlie's comfort zone. You see where he draws the line and it opens up the door to a total bloodbath.

Artist Corin Howell captures the quaint, small town normalcy of this place. Victor Varney, the smooth-talking vamp in charge looks like your average, preppy businessman with a face you just want to smash. Everything about this guy is sickening and that feeling only grows with each turn of the page.

He outlines his plan to Charlie in this matter of fact way that's pretty chilling. There's a lot to take in as he's basically explaining the current status quo for vampires and local laws as related to these creatures. Letterer Marshall Dillon guides us through these tidbits in an easy to read way. The dialogue never feels overwhelming and it's certainly never boring. One element that really stands out is when the vampires use their monster voice. Their otherwise normal speech shifts to a red font, outlined in a squiggly red word balloon.

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Much of this conversation happens in the gas station, under the sterile fluorescent lighting. It washes out some of the emotion, which is fitting as Charlie and Victor are the two main characters in there. With those bright lights you can imagine how blood looks on the page. Colorist Mark Englert makes this stand out in a big way. It adds to the shock factor of the violence, especially when we're not expecting it.

Dark Red puts some current hot button topics in perspective, through the guise of a vampire story. Sure, you can come for the monsters, but you'll stay for the riveting story. Charlie's journey is particularly interesting as we're not entirely sure how to feel about him. Sometimes we hate him and sometimes we love him, but he's always entertaining.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Dark Red 2 Small
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: Fivestars

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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