In Review: Brothers Dracul #3

The character relationships are starting to strain as the vampir threat increases. Recommended.

The cover: Mirko Colak with Maria Santaolalla have created his eye catching cover. Mehmed is on his knees, looking as though he is recovering from some blow or wound. Before him is Radu reaching for a stake on the ground as he sees some thing rushings at him. What he sees is shown as the background to this pair of hapless youths: three manic vampirs with blood spilling from their mouths from their latest victims. It seems the young men are to be the trio’s newest prey. This is a great image to show the reader what lies within. The illustration is slick and the colors are excellent. Overall grade: A

The story: An infant cries for its mother in a house that stands alone outside the woods. She tries to quiet the child, but senses something nearby. Looking at the window she sees a vampir peering through a crack at her and her baby. She tells the child it will be all right once the child’s father returns. That’s when a ear breaking scream is heard and her husband is thrown through a wall with a vampir on top of him. “Run, Azra! Take the baby! Get far from –” and his speech is silenced forever by the creature that rips out his throat. Azra stands frozen at the horror she’s witnessing. More of the creatures tear into the house, hissing at her and the child. One of the beasts grabs her ankle, causing her drop her baby. She’s pulled to the ground by a vampir and her child is targeted by another. That’s when someone enters the broken house. The dialogue on Page 6 is great, reinforcing that two of the characters are fairly confident in their deeds, while another is too shocked to act. This frightened individual finally wakes from his stupor and assists the pair. However there is a moment where one of the characters gets in trouble and is saved from a new weapon in the trio’s arsenal. The last two panels on Page 13 are outstanding. The conversation that follows is excellent and the reveal on 15 foreshadows troubles. A character introduced at the end of the last issue returns for two panels, witnessing what’s occurring. The final four pages focus on one of the brothers and a friend he’s made. Some solid scares from Cullen Bunn in this installment, but the character relationships are really beginning to heat up to a violent climax. Overall grade: A

The art: Mirko Colak is the perfect artist for this book, creating the realism of the time period and creating monstrous creatures doing horrific things. The opening page could be from any story of the time period: a lonesome house that contains a crying baby and a concerned mother. Notice how in the third panel Colak shows the reader the economic state of the inhabitants with several old pots, wooden shelves, and window covers that aren’t completely sealed from the elements. The vampir’s reveal in the second panel on the next page is terrific: it’s only a sliver of the creature’s face and it’s enough to make the reader respond as Azra does. The entrance of her husband and the monster atop Page 3 is outstanding: the man flying backward into the reader, debris going everywhere, and the beast following in his path. The illustration of the man on the ground as the beast begins to sup at his throat is horrific, with him making a plea to his wife with his last breath. Pages 4 and 5 is a spectacular action sequence as the creatures tear into the house, forcing Azra down, and, more horrifically, the child tumbles to the floor where one of the monsters turns it over to devour it. The motion is fluid and the horror builds wonderfully in every panel. The reveal of the heroic trio on 6 is great, but take a look at how tiny Colak makes them, leaving the vampirs in the foreground to visually make them stronger than the humans confronting them. Each of the heroes get a panel at the bottom of the page to show their reaction to what they see; each illustration is a solid introduction to their personalities. The action that follows is quick, graphic, and strong. The new weapon employed by one of the characters on 10 is a great visual that will have the reader making guesses as to its contents before being revealed by the text. The last two panels on 13 are great: again, an excellent entrance. Page 17 is a very different location from what’s been seen on the previous pages and it stands out for allowing the characters to take center stage. The action on 18 is great for being textless, allowing the reader to decide how much time it takes to occur. The last page returns to a mysterious character that seems bent on evil, though he doesn’t resemble the supernatural creatures this series has shown. I am really enjoying Colak’s art. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors are a key factor in this book’s thrills, showing the horrors yet maintaining the nightly tone. Maria Santaolalla uses violets for the night and lighter colors for the characters. Santaolalla creates the night without blacking out elements of the art in ebony. I’m so grateful she does this! It also gives the horror scenes an extra sense of eeriness, for when the vampirs attack their pale blue bodies look creepy against the violets and the crimson splattered on their mouths and chests radiate off the page. When the husband dies red is splattered everywhere to increase the inhumanity of the act. The vampirs have glowing yellow eyes that also capture attention superbly. The lack of colors on a page are also outstanding; take a look at Page 12. The backgrounds aren’t colored in three of the panels which make the violets of the vampir explode off the page. Even the creature’s scream is outlined in color, leaving its interior white, emphasizing the hollow final efforts of the beast. Page 17 is a much lighter, warmer color scheme, with the colors on a character’s hand telling the story. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Simon Bowland is the letterer for this issue. His contributions include sounds, dialogue, yells, a whistle, whispered dialogue, and the tease for next issue. There are several sounds in this issue, each punctuating different actions, from a baby’s cries to a vampir’s roars. There are several different types of yells in this issue, showing the reader how loud one should read the intensity of the speaker. Though it’s only in one panel, a character whistles off panel to get the attention of an individual. It’s written as a musical note and instantly conveys to the reader what it is. Overall grade: A

The final line: The character relationships are starting to strain as the vampir threat increases. The characters are great, the visuals beautiful and horrific, and the cliffhanger has a greater threat emerging from the darkness. This is a winning team of creators making a delightfully dark tale. Recommended. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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