Monday, September 17, 2012

COMICS BULLETIN:Review: Flesh and Blood Book 2!

Review: Flesh and Blood Book Two

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
The second issue of Monsterverse's "monster rally" is an awesomely fun, intensely exciting treat for all fans of the classic monsters. 
This 80-page story moves at near breakneck speed with operatic intensity as it chronicles the intense battles between Dracula, Baron Frankenstein, Carmilla, a werewolf and the inevitable Abraham Van Helsing in decaying Gothic castles, treacherous mountain passes and terrifying darkness.

Flesh and Blood Book Two is a grand and thrilling tribute to the classic Hammer horror films of the '60s and '70s, chronicling the exciting crossover adventure that that much-renowned studio never produced. But of course, Hammer's budgets would have forbidden the production of a film this large in scope and adventure, full of terrifying monsters and outrageous special effects. From the opening scenes, which feature gravediggers and lycanthropy, through to the ending and its unexpected sexual liaison and talk of time travel, this story is a thrill-ride of unpredictable characters, thrilling adventures and wonderful settings.

This story starts fast and never lets go. The evil creatures in this book all have their own agendas and of course will kill, maim and destroy everything in front of them in an effort to achieve their goals. There is no compromise in any of these formidable foes, so the battles between them all become overwhelming, intense struggles between intensely evil beings. Can even a good person triumph over evil without sacrificing his very soul? If you know these stories, you know the answer to that question.

Neal Vokes draws the hell out of these pages, using a style that places large characters front and center in the panels and de-emphasizes the backgrounds and the spaces that the characters live in. This emphasizes the evil creatures that we all want to read about, and subtly tamps up the intensity of the battles. The grand personalities of these characters lead to grand battles. That's a point that's emphasized by Vokes's smart panel layouts in this book.

There are also two text pieces and two backup stories included in this book. The most intriguing of the bonus features, for me, is "Operation Satan" with writing by Tinnell and art by '70s Marvel artist Bob Hall. Hall's art reminds me in many places of the work of the great John Buscema, and the presentation of the story in black and white and the storyline of an exorcism make this short reminiscent of the best of the '70s Marvel monster mags. It's too short at five pages – I really want to read more of this story.
As usual, the folks at Monsterverse have produced a monster book that will excite anyone who loves classic horror. And even for people who only sort of like that stuff, the energy of this title might just move you into the group of people who love this stuff.

Jason Sacks is Publisher of Comics Bulletin. Follow him at @jasonsacks, email him at or friend him on Facebook.

FLESH & BLOOD - the reviews keep on coming!

  Jason Henderson, Writer Guy! 

 ("Alex Van Helsing" and "Sword of Dracula" author)

 Flesh and Blood Book 2 from Robert Tinnell and Neil Vokes

I just finished reading Book 2 of Flesh and Blood from Monsterverse comics and it's fantastic (although for mature readers only!)
What have we here, if you haven't heard of it? Flesh and Blood is a "monster mash" comics series that seems to literally take place in the Hammerscape, that weird universe reflected in British horror films of the late fifties through the seventies (but you know that, right?) But these comics really do seem to inhabit Hammer acreage, stitched together with cords from vampire and horror literature.
The story features:

  • Baron Frankenstein-- the Peter Cushing version from Curse of Frankenstein, etc.
  • Carmilla and Laura of the Karnstein Cycle
  • A young Van Helsing who does not resemble Peter Cushing, or else that would get confusing
  • Dracula
  • Flying vampires a la Van Helsing, the movie
-- in a timeline that carefully tries to stitch all of these characters together. If you were to ask me, how long before Dracula does Carmilla take place, I'd say, oh, anywhere from thirty to fifty years. And could you use the characters in both stories together? Yes. Does the timeline matter? Yes, but most storytellers wouldn't care. Writer Robert Tinnell cares: we get a young Van Helsing in the Carmilla period and an older Van Helsing in the Dracula period. I mean: wow.
Lurid, violent, crazily action-packed and literate about every piece of vampire and monster lore, this series is just maddeningly cool. Well done!