Review - Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1 (@strangercomics)

"Yet I'm calm. That's because of you, D. Because I know you're coming."

Hunting vampires is almost cliche at this point, but there are some who are more seasoned at it than others. Van Helsing for instance. Vampirella. Even Vampire Hunter D has been around the block a few times when it comes to hunting vampires and what's one more trip in Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1 from Stranger Comics. The issue is written by Brandon Easton, illustrated by Michael Broussard (backgrounds by Sheldon Mitchell) and lettered by A Larger World Studios.

Drawn to Mars by an ancient message from Cecile, a girl who could see the future, D arrives to find a colony that is little more than a blood farm. With Left Hand by his side, D sets out to cleanse Mars of the vampire scourge.

Mixing vampires with space is something that Easton does with aplomb in Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1. In fact, for a book about vampires Easton spends plenty of time setting the stage for the series by describing why Mars is even involved at all. Easton uses Cecile as the narrative point of view for the tale, funneling all the events to this point and possibly going forward through her eyes. Her story acts in parallel to that of Vampire Hunter D's; however, inevitably Easton will cross both over. The dialogue is pretty clean and does a great job of getting the reader up to speed without dumping information on them.

Broussard's artwork in Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1 is very slick and fast-moving. There's a sheen to the artwork that gives it a very futuristic feel that fits with the central plot of Mars being colonized. Broussard does an exceptional job of following the action very well, presenting fight sequences that are clean and reminiscent of something you'd find in a manga or anime. Broussard lays out the panels in a fairly straightforward fashion, but there are a few instances where they get a little rougher in an effort to better follow the fighting. The emphasis on color is used very well in the book, in that Mars pages offer hues of orange and Vampire Hunter D's blade glistens with a bright blue.

Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1 is a pretty fast-paced book that has a love story at its center. Vampire Hunter D has what is essentially a single objective--hunt out and destroy vampires--and it looks like that mission will be taking him to Mars. Easton pens a script that's great at being a first issue in that it offers up the main characters and plot threads to start tugging at. Broussard's illustrations are gorgeous and do a wonderful job of capturing the unique life that Vampire Hunter D leads. Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1 is a great first issue that's setting the table for bigger things to come.

Vampire Hunter D: Message from Mars #1 is available now.