The Strain is the creation of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Originally, The Strain was supposed to be a television event, but it became a novel instead. In fact, it became a trilogy of three novels…”The Strain”, “The Fall”, and “The Night Eternal” published in 2009, 2010, and 2011 respectively. With the publishing of “The Night Eternal”, Dark Horse Comics began work in adapting “The Strain” into a graphic novel, using writer David Lapham on the scripting. The graphic novel has had good acclaim since its release. Good enough acclaim it would seem, as the proposed television idea has become a reality and is now in development. As for the graphic novels…we are now at Issue five of part two, “The Fall”. The Strain can best be described as an epic apocalyptic event, combining the elements of vampire movies, zombie “ground zero” action, and “end of days” prophesy storytelling. A vampire virus being spread by worms has infected New York City and things are beginning to fall apart fast. Now, a pawnbroker, a doctor, an alcoholic, an exterminator, and a criminal have come together under extreme circumstances to stop the threat and they may be the only thing that can save the world. Or, is it too late already?
Issue five plays like a television episode and it works extremely well in keeping you glued. The characters are all interesting and the story drips with emotion and energy. Lapham has taken Del Toro and Hogan’s story and he has added a nice level of personification that corresponds well to the artistic surroundings of the issue. The vampires in The Strain are not the “pretty people” that many characterizations portray them as in other stories. No. these vampires are more in line to horrific demons from Hell, using extra-long (and grossly veiny) tongues to kill and infect others throughout the city. They are not pretty, and the art work, masterfully drawn by Mike Huddleston, gives the reader a sense of foreboding with a real sinister Something Wicked This Way Comes feeling as you read.
Add some backing “discovery” elements with high-brow action regarding a personal decision from one of our “would be” heroes trying to stop the fall, and you have a riveting issue that is effective in conveying its title. I was entertained from beginning to end and eagerly am looking forward to the next issue as well as past issues as I had never read this title before until this review. That is not going to be the case now however. Like one of the many in the story, I am infected… infected with a desire to read more.
The Strain is well worth the read and if the television production can utilize the same elements of the graphic novelization (i.e. creepy visuals with lots of dark and brutal surroundings, deep pale faces, ultimate evil depictions, strong characterizations, etc.), then it should be a runaway hit. But don’t wait for the show. Get this graphic novelization now. Read it, enjoy it, and see how this will play out. I know I am.
Creators: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan Writer: David Lapham Artist: Mike Huddleston Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/20/13