The Strain is a new maxi-series from Dark Horse Comics written by David Lapham, drawn by Mike Huddleston, colored by Dan Jackson, and lettered by Clem Robbins. This series is based on the novel of the same name written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan which was released in 2009. Having not read that novel, there will be no comparisons made to the original material.
I discovered this title in the October issue of Previews which included a multi-page preview. I will admit that the cover image drew me in and I was a bit disappointed with the difference between that art and the style used in the interior of the book. Huddleston handled the art for both, but used different styles. The interior has a dark, crisp look to it. There is a good use of shadow and darker colors to give the book a dark tone for most of it.
There’s a mix of backstory and the current tale here. I should mention that there is no vampire action. So if you go in expecting the vampires depicted on the cover feasting or engaging in other vampiric acts, you’ll be disappointed. But the events do serve as a solid setup for the rest of the series. Our story starts in Romania in 1927 a story being told to a young boy, Abraham, about a giant named Josef Sardu. In an attempt to avoid giving away all the details, the story included an expedition led by Josef’s father into a dark forest hiding all manner of beast. It ends with Abraham being told that if didn’t scrape the bowl to finish every scrap of food, Sardu would come for him.
In the present, we meet Ephraim, who works with a hazmat unit. While his son is over for a weekend visit, he receives a call about a plane that touched down at JKF and immediately went dark. The C.D.C. and Ephraim’s team were dispatched along with a small group of what appeared to be a S.W.A.T. team. Once aboard the plane, they discover everyone but the pilot is dead. There were no signs of the cause of the deaths. They also discover a coffin in the cargo hold. The book ends with a character watching news coverage of the airplane and his words tying back into past events.
I want to see where this goes for several reasons. One of those is that I am curious about what happened on that plane. A second reason is seeing Huddleston’s vampires in his interior artistic style.
Because this is a book from an independent publisher, its availability will depend on the shop. If you happen to come upon it, pick it up. This first issue is priced at $1. So unless you’re strapped for cash, there is no risk with this purchase.