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Comic review: Dracula: The COmpany of Monsters

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The Deal: Rising publisher Boom! Studios releases the first issue of a new comic that appears to be about a corporation acquiring the remains of the legendary vampire Dracula. The company's ultimate goal is to resurrect Drac and ... after that, I'm not really sure what. Time will tell, I suppose.

The Bad: Let's start with the bad this week. First off, I was pretty pissed to find that, although the comic was promoted like it was written by industry vet Kurt Busiek, the inside credits reveal he created the concept and wrote the "story." Daryl Gregory actually wrote the comic, and that sort of sucks, uh, blood — because I only picked it up to read Busiek's work. All that said, Gregory isn't necessarily wack. My biggest problem with his writing is that this issue's story moved incredibly slow. I'd hoped that the whole "decompressed" style was a thing of the past; however, this comic is all set up. Of course, some would argue that a story like this needs a lot of early development. But with so many comics on the stands, creators have to quickly grab a reader's attention — especially with a first issue; Dracula's debut edition sure as hell didn't do that.

The Good: The writing doesn't totally, er, suck (OK, last one); Gregory does a good job of establishing the major characters and clearly establishing their personalities. I also really enjoyed Scott Godlewski's art; it's clean and slightly "cartoony," but it's also incredibly detailed — complete with fleshed-out backgrounds, realistic clothing and more. On top of that, his storytelling skills are strong, with one panel logically feeding into the next, and his "camera" angles reveal a real flair for the dramatic. (Just check out his full-page shot of dead soldiers impaled on giant wooden stakes.)

The Verdict: The art's enjoyable, but the story is incredibly slow. I'll probably pick up the second issue, but if things don't pick up, I'll have to drop it.

Quick Hits:

Previews: Probably my favorite thing to read every month is the comic book and merchandise catalog Previews. Published by the industry's largest distribution company, Diamond, the gigantic tome is the best way to keep up with everything scheduled to hit comic book shops. For a geek like me, it's indispensable. But even casual readers would get a kick out of it.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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