I have been reading The Strain comic rendition of the Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s book trilogy from the very beginning. And in reading those for as long as I have, you develop certain favorite and not so favorite characters as it progresses. Of those “not so favorites”, I have always had Dr. Ephraim (Eph) Goodweather on top of my list. I don’t know if it is his headlong focus and denial of all things around him, or just his irritating character flaws. Eph just has always felt like a lost soul in the series of lost souls. He is not a likable guy. And as these issues progress toward their finale, Eph’s companions are likewise tired of him and his issues. They have been for a while. And I don’t know if it is just because all of the horrible darkness of The Strain: The Night Eternal. Or, if I am finally beginning to see what others in the know have always seen in Eph. I think I am actually starting to feel sorry for him. The dude has had a bad go during this trilogy; a really bad go.
And with Issue #10 of the series, the reader sees just how bad it truly has been. In a scene with The Master, Eph’s human son Zach, and his divorced turned into a vampire wife Kelly, we see how the Master is at work alienating the one person who still might have some inkling of love for Eph. It is tragic and sad. I feel for old E here.
But that is just one moment in this issue that has strong action, deep story, and impact making happenings. I enjoyed this one all the way through as it has a strong mix of all elements at work made hauntingly beautiful in a way by writer David Lapham and artist Mike Huddleston. In just the scene with Zach, Kelly and the Master, the art and the writing is kind of sickening, yet very profound at the same time. Vampire Kelly acting as a loving heartfelt mother spewing venomous hatred leaves a memorable mark on you as you read.
The other big item that gets attention during this issue is the secret to the Lumens finally being revealed. Believing it just to be a dream and being egged on by other not so supportive members of the gang, Eph is falling apart not knowing which way is up. This “a-ha” moment for him is also profound.
And if you aren’t into profound and “deepness”, Issue #10 also has some good action and some intense drama as the gang are trying to figure out how best to deal with the Master in winning the struggle. Not everyone is in agreement, but the weaponry is coming together with the location where to strike. Oh yeah, there is also a moment regarding a recent outing of the traitor named Creem amongst our heroes and his report back to the Master. Not a good meeting for him. But a wonderful one for us as we see something very rarely seen in the Master…Fear. Lapham and Huddleston really nail it here.
I have mentioned that the darkness involved in The Night Eternal has been a hard read compared to the more peppy and entertaining The Strain and The Fall. This series of stories has been tough. But I have seen a deeper emotion within the pages of this third one that make it in some ways superior to the previous two, even if it is a downer of a story.
This has been the issue that I am beginning to feel that emotion and also beginning to feel some hope. It may just be a small and tiny glimmer of hope at that. But it is hope. Hope or not, the one thing for sure that you can bet is that Eph will be involved in it. Hated or not, the Master isn’t working young Zach just because he is mean. Well, he is pretty mean. But he is working Zach because in Eph he sees the only true threat to his kingdom. He fears this possibility. I think I am looking forward to see where this ends.
David Lapham and Mike Huddleston have been with the series also since the first and they too have built a strong and cohesive tandem in making this such a strong comic series adaptation. We are rounding the corner to the end and I know that I will miss it, darkness and all as we reach its conclusion. Regarding this issue, it is one of the good ones.