Review - Bad Blood #1

"I heard you were looking for a vampire."

Vampires are creatures of myth and legend, with everyone and their brother writing tales of their, well, tales. The big characteristic with them is there required affinity for human blood, but very few of them actually chronicle what happens when they ingest "faulty" human blood. In Bad Blood #1 from Dark Horse Comics, one such vampire is making it a point to get back at the human with the aforementioned blood. The first issue is written by Jonathan Maberry and illustrated by Tyler Crook.

Trick is your typical college student, his whole future ahead of him. The only thing is that he's also terminally ill with some form of cancer and is essentially living on borrowed time, arising every day to keep fighting what he perceives to be a losing fight. He's got great friends who support him, but their encouragement still isn't enough motivation to get him through the trying times. Once he meets a vampire though who feeds on him and is poisoned by his sick blood, all bets are off.

Vampire stories are all the rage these days, but Maberry has offered up a very unique and fresh take on the genre. The vampire who feeds on Trick is your typical vampire, but his surprise at the tainted blood is presented with great shock. What's more is that the vampire personally holds Trick responsible and begins targeting his friends as retaliation, something which prompts Trick to start a war with the undead. The concept of vampires not being able to handle various types of human blood is novel and new, generating a great conflict between Trick and the vampire who bit him. What's more, the fact that the vampire holds Trick responsible for his illness adds further insult to injury when it comes to Trick's diagnosis.

Crook's illustrations are very appropriate for the story. The vampire is the picture of greed and avarice, rife with arrogance at his position as a vampire. Trick is effectively a walking corpse, courtesy of his illness. There's a colored pencil finish to the illustrations that speaks to the simplicity of the situation, which boils down to a vampire and a human squaring off. The panel layouts are the standard grid format, which very little in the way of deviating from that pattern, but those grids showcase Trick's emotional transformation. He goes from someone unwilling to continue fighting to one who wants to fight until all vampires are killed and his friends avenged.

Bad Blood #1 is the start of a very fascinating series about vampires and terminal illness. You could argue that being a vampire is itself a terminal illness, considering the lack of feeding will kill them. The vampire who bit Tricky is full of horror and malice, proving more than enough for Trick to capitalize on in seeking out all vampires. It's a very interesting premise in that it gives Tricky something to push himself with when it come to fighting his illness; something those with such an affliction struggle to find. Where the series goes from here is anyone's guess, but it's looking to be a very positive direction.

Bad Blood #1 is in stores January 1 with interiors below.