Review: Voivod: The True Story of Vlad the Impaler

Page count doesn’t scare me. I mean it does dictate what I read at times because I don’t have endless time to read everything that’s sent to me, but it’ll never scare me off of a title. Because if something is well written you’ll never know how many pages it is. For instance, Goodnight Punpun Vol. 1 was over three hundred pages and yet I finished it about half an hour. I was sucked into the world and the writing was so good that it wasn’t a chore or difficult to read. The point I’m making is that page count only matters to someone when a book is difficult to read because it either missed with its pacing, struggled with its dialogue or worse than both of those, dropped the ball on the narrative. What do I mean by narrative? Well typically an event or story told in a three act structure with a beginning, middle and end with some subplots running throughout the story that are off beat to the main story. What’s worse than a struggling narrative? All three.

At times Voivod is all three. It’s never an inviting story, but rather some gruesome historical fiction that has awkward pacing and generally bad dialogue. I would be hard press to say that this follows a three act structure as it largely feels as if it’s the first act of a much bigger story. Which would be fine if we had more, but we don’t so it feels like one scene that never ends and doesn’t have much pay off for a rewarding narrative.

VoivodDespite all this Voivod actually manages to present enough at times that it’s interesting and entertaining. In spite of its best efforts to push you completely away you’re likely to stay just to see the ending which isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either.

At this point you’re probably screaming at me to tell you something about the story. It’s Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula, minus the vampire shit. Instead it’s about Vlad ruling Wallachia and having to go up against the Ottoman empire because he wants to be the big man at the table. There’s politics, a weird truce/self-induced ransom of give the Ottoman’s his son and wolves that just won’t go away. Oh and betrayal. Hard to forget that because one of the characters practically runs around announcing it because he doesn’t like how cruel Vlad is and yet is one step away on the cruelty scale when he kills his own father. It’s all conveniently revealed when all of the Saxon soldiers know about the betrayal and basically spout it off to anyone, including the solider of Vlad’s that’s been sent to get his son.

The art is by far the best part of the book, but it’s never really allowed to stretch its wings. It’s trying to be somewhat historically accurate which screws with the pacing a lot, but also handcuffs the story. Instead the artist can’t really expand and play with a scene because he’s illustrating what the characters are saying. Every panel has someone talking for the most part and so the art is just a visual follow up to the dialogue you’re reading. It’s never leading the story or trusted to do hold the narrative.

If you’re really into Vlad the Impaler aka the real Dracula, then you’ll likely enjoy the story. If you like strong narratives which fully developed characters that do more than talk about what they’re going to do, then you’re better off passing on this one. It’s an okay story, but it has so many problems that it ends up feeling like chore to read.

[button btn_url="" btn_color="violet" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="nofollow" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 2/5[/button]

Voivod: The True Story of Vlad the Impaler Writer: Massimo Rosi Artist: Marco De Luca Publisher: Markosia Price: $18.99 Release Date: 7/2/15 Format: TPB; Print