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"The Vain #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Oni Press


Written by Eliot Rahal
Illustrated by Emily Pearson
Colored by Fred C. Stresing
Color assistance by Macy Kahn
Lettered by Crank!
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 6th, 2021


After robbing banks, fighting Nazis, and dealing with Cuban Communists, what else can this vampire group do but start a cult? Welcome to the '60s, baby! Tensions are rising between the four of them as they struggle to survive in these changing times. Meanwhile, Felix, the FBI agent who discovered that vampires exist, loses everything from his job to his family and finally his sanity.

The Vain has jumped forward through time with each issue and this one alone goes through about a decade. While I get the idea of showing how these characters are adapting to each new time period, it doesn't quite land as we're not given enough time for each new plot point to settle in before we jump ahead again. You can connect the dots on the plot points, however the character development suffers.

Click images to enlarge

For example, the opening scenes are set in 1967 where we see the beginnings of the cult, then we jump ahead to 1972 where it's fully formed. I get that. The problem is that there are these rifts forming in the vampire group and you'd think they would have more fights or even split up over the course of five years. Granted, time is different when you're immortal and maybe that time felt like a blink of an eye to them.

Artist Emily Pearson keeps up with the change in decades perfectly. The style is the same quality that defines her work, however the look and feel of the story shifts. The trends of the '60s make way for those of the '70s. The panel layout feels more angular in The Vain #4 than in previous issues, which lends itself to the more erratic nature of both the vampires and Felix as we head into this new decade.

Click image to enlarge

As the bulk of The Vain #4 is set in California, colorist Fred C. Sterling, with assistance from Macy Kahn, give it a brighter shade. Even though the vampires can't come out during the day, they still walk through the sun-bleached streets, or rather the alleyways. We move from some softer shades with the fun and lively cult to a more serious tone when you see the true extent of the power the bloodsuckers have over their followers, mining them for their life force.

Letterer Crank! returns with some great typewriter style caption boxes towards the end of this issue. I love how there are smudges to the font in these, it's a nice little touch that works really well.

There is some really cool stuff at play in The Vain as the paths of Felix and the vampires continue to circle each other in this strange spiral. After losing everything, will the FBI agent take his revenge? I just hope we get a bit more on the character development side as the plot has been taking up the bulk of the space so far. Also, how far ahead will we jump with the next issue? Will we get into the styles of the '80s?


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Art: fourstars
Overall: 3 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
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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