Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Strain: Volume 2 Graphic Novel Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By David Lapham
Art By Mike Huddleston and Dan Jackson
Cover By E.M. Geist

Action, Horror


A vast conspiracy has made it nearly impossible for the CDC’s Dr. Ephraim Goodweather to convince the world that there’s a vampiric epidemic spreading across Manhattan. His only hope is to go head to head with the ancient evil responsible for the wave of bloodthirsty vamps set to drown the Big Apple . . . but can the strain be stopped?!


After reading the trilogy of books by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro, when I heard this was going to be a graphic novel as well I was very excited.   The novels themselves had a real sense of urgency to them alongside a feel of claustrophobia and dread.

But do the graphic novels have that as well?

Well, yes and no.

I can't honestly fault the writing style of David Lapham here.  He was a very good choice as the writer for this title.  He takes the theme and style of the original books and recreates it brilliantly here yet at the same time keeping his own signature style intact.

The feeling of claustrophobia and dread that ran through the novels is most definitely present and correct here.  If anything, it's more apparent due to being in a graphic novel.  Lapham keeps the dialogue in short and snappy bursts without losing any of the impact of the novels, which takes a lot of talent to do.

Character wise, Lapham has done a brilliant job of bringing Del Toro and Hogan's characters to life.  He keeps their personalities intact and even manages to improve upon the character of Doctor Goodweather in places by making him even more paranoid without making it melodramatic.

Sadly, the art lets the release down quite a bit.  The actual story lends itself to being quite dirty and grimy yet the art here just doesn't do that justice.  If anything, it comes across as a bit bland in places.  Don't get me wrong, the art isn't bad, in fact it's pretty good.  It's just that their style just doesn't fit the story for me.  I would have liked an artist that had a darker and grittier feel to his or her work to illustrate this but maybe that's just a personal preference on my part.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the cover by E.M. Geist.  That's the kind of art that would have looked awesome throughout the actual graphic novel itself.

All in all, story wise this is a superb adaptation of a great novel.  The characters are well written and there's a fantastic feeling of dread running through the story.  Sadly the art, while not awful, just doesn't fit the story for me and that took me out of the story, which is a real shame.

Story 4.5/5
Art 3/5
Overall 7.5/10

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