Impaler #1 Review
Vampires have had their fair share of the pop culture spotlight in the last few years, thanks to TV’s Buffy and Angel, novelist Anne Rice and now, Twilight. The crafty neck biters have had more makeovers than Madonna. But there’s still some life, so to speak, in the critters.
Impaler is a new series from Top Cow and is written by William Harms, who created the series at Image back in 2006. You can read my interview with the writer here. A Trade Paper Back collecting the original Image series, with 3 new issues is now available, and now we have this series, which is effectively Volume 2. However, if you haven’t read the original series, don’t fret. This still makes sense. Basically, Vald Tempes, otherwise knows as Vlad the Impaler has been fighting vampires for 4 centuries with angelic abilities given to him by a priest. When the fanged horde return in today’s New York, Vlad takes sword in hand and gets to work once more. This time, he teams up with grieving cop Victor Dailey, as well as the US Army. However, despite their superior firepower they aren’t looking victory square in the eye. Even a bomb can’t stop the suckers.
This is a well rounded, action packed tale. Perfect for comic book newbies. With its engrossing tale and dynamic artwork, it really packs a punch. There are numerous scenes of limbs and heads flying off bodies, and a lot of swearing. So, it’s not for the kiddies.
Harms knows how to pace a tight adventure, leaving the reader out of breath after the last page. The conflict between the high-tech soldiers and the barbaric creatures of the night is the highlight, and seems like a blockbuster film just begging to be made. There’s enough exposition to get up to speed and Vlad and Victor’s strained relationship seems to mirror the larger events surrounding them. There’s the obligatory scene of a soldier getting bitten, but shrugging it of as a minor wound; the kind of thing we see in every zombie film. Generally though, this is a refreshing look at this often used, and mis-used sub-genre. Matt Timson’s art helps enormously too. His realistic pencils lie somewhere between Adi Granov (Iron Man) and Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night). His page design and use of space, with rooms crowded with vamps and army men, or open areas in the blanketing snow really draw in your eyes and add variety to the look of this issue.
This reminded me of playing Doom IV, or F.E.A.R on my XBOX, with a sense of danger that you can’t shrug off. Fans of horror tired of wispy vampires that look like they’re fronting a rock band must offer their neck to Impaler and let it sink its fangs in.
You can read a preview of this issue here.