Thursday, September 6, 2012

FLESH & BLOOD #2 - review on Ain't It Cool News!


Writer: Robert Tinnell
Art: Neil Vokes (with backup stories by Bob Hall and Adrian Salmon)
Publisher: Monsterverse
Reviewer: superhero

FLESH AND BLOOD returns with a follow up issue filled with an absolutely balls to the wall vampire tale filled to the brim with blood, gore, and saucy female vampires! I have to say that I really continue to be impressed with the continuing adventures of young Van Helsing and his cohorts in the war against the undead. Writer Robert Tinnell and artist Neil Vokes are certainly able to amp up the vampire hunting action in this volume of FLESH AND BLOOD. I was really captivated with the first volume of FLESH AND BLOOD, and I didn't think it could get much better, but leave it to the dedicated crew at Monsterverse to prove me wrong.

In the second book of FLESH AND BLOOD the game gets stepped up a bit as we see one crazed vampiress just go medieval on just about anything in her path. The sexual tension gets amped up a bit as well as everyone's favorite re-animator, Victor Frankenstein, manages to conduct a little bit of his own, ahem, research as to whether vamps only really get aroused through the drinking of blood or whether they actually are able to experience pleasure in other ways as well. Let's just say that outside of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, I don't think any of us have really seen Victor get as down and dirty with the "fairer" sex as he does in this book.

Even putting aside this version of Frankenstein's trysts with blood sucking succubi, FLESH AND BLOOD delivers the Hammer horror movie goods. From beginning to end there is everything in this comic that you'd expect from the classic horror tales that were spun out from that magnificent horror movie factory of years past. You want violence? You got it. You want flying naked vampire chicks with wings? You got it. You want heroes with overly wrought emotions trying to sort out the best method of dealing with the madness that surrounds them? You got it. It's all here, and in volume two the scale of craziness has been ratcheted up even more than it was in volume one.

What's also great is how this work manages to be a bridge between what is very much a Van Helsing prequel tale and Bram Stoker's brilliant novel that started it all. It seems to me that future editions of FLESH AND BLOOD will carry on beyond the horror novel that brought Van Helsing into existence and become somewhat of a sequel to not only Dracula, but Frankenstein as well. Thinking about the book in a broader sense, it almost serves as a backstory to how many of those old Hammer horror flicks may have actually tied into one another in some way. While FLESH AND BLOOD VOLUME ONE sees us at the beginning of Van Helsing's career, VOLUME TWO finishes up that tale, takes us into the climax of Dracula and brings us out into the other end, exploring what may have happened to him after he helped destroy the vampire to end all vampires. Altogether, the main story in FLESH AND BLOOD VOLUME TWO ended up being a very fun read indeed for someone like me who's been a fan of the old school Hammer films for a long time.

In my last review for FLESH AND BLOOD, I forgot to mention the backup feature of the book, OPERATION SATAN. That was a big mistake on my part and I have to take the time to apologize to the creators of that tale here. OPERATION SATAN is a great little follow up to the main story in the book and I actually wish that it could be a bit longer. It's a fantastically illustrated piece that I just love. It's moody, it's creepy, and it's weird. It’s everything that you could ever want in a horror story. I would love to see more from this team in the future.

There's also another short at the end of FLESH AND BLOOD that's enjoyable as well. Entitled A TERRY SHARP STORY, it seems to be a tribute to former horror director Terence Sharp. It seems at first glance to be a re-working of the classic Frankenstein story, but may be a tribute to some of Sharp's better-known works, which also happen to be Frankenstein movies. The combination of cartoon style art with bright color combinations make A TERRY SHARP STORY stand out a bit from the first two entries in the book, but that doesn’t keep it from being an effective read. I actually found it to be a neat little chunk of story set towards the end of the book and I really felt that it helped cap the volume off nicely.

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