BY MATT TUCK, THE BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
A brutal, apocalyptic joyride that begs you to draw comparisons with modern politics, Rise of Dracula #1 is a gory first step into a new world that is equal parts vampire fantasy and dystopian authoritative future.
RISE OF DRACULA #1
WRITTEN BY RICH DAVIS
ART BY PUIS CALZADA
THE STORY SO FAR
Rise of Dracula is the second of three chapters in the reimagined Dracula saga. The initial six issues of Cult of Dracula strayed from the source material, but the characters resonated with their original counterparts from Bram Stoker’s immortalized classic. The biggest difference was that Dracula was not necessarily a singular being. Rather, it was a title handed down over generations to chosen vampires. The idea was that the original Dracula may have been dead and gone (not to be confused with undead and gone), but the mantle was passed on. Different Draculas took different forms, both male and female, and inspired a variety of myths along the way. In the end, the vampiric blood cult remained in the shadows.
Throughout Cult, Mina is selected as the next Dracula, a title that places her firmly at the head of the cultish table. As the next chapter in the saga opens, we find Mina reaching larger aspirations. Instead of being content to feed in the shadows and live as a myth, she has ushered the authoritarian fall of mankind beginning with the heart of democracy, Washington D.C.
The influence of those ‘90s and 2000s vampire movies is evident. With vamps acting as the ruling faction, and humanity serving more or less livestock and pets, there are clear connections to the 2009 Ethan Hawke film, Daybreakers. In that film, the similarities between the vampiric regime and the Holocaust were apparent, and the same can be said for Rise.
While there are plenty of stormtroopers and vampire Nazis to set the stage for a nice rebellion story, Rise remains true to what brought it to the dance in the first place: blood-sucking vampires. There is a moment that takes Blade’s bloodbath in the vampire dance club to a new level, and I won’t spoil it for you here. Clearly Davis is having a lot of fun concocting interesting ways to torture the humans of Washington D.C. in ROD #1.
Rise’s premise is an interesting take on vampire lore that had lost its monster footing to zombies. In most modern vampire tales, there is at least one character who believes the bloodsuckers should be the dominant species on the planet and subjugate humanity as prey. Davis brings that to life here while building on the mythos established in Cult.
One of the biggest pluses for readers is the pacing. Many first issues of a new series get off to an understandably slow start to establish the exposition. Rise puts its foot on the gas and immediately delves into the splatter fest, and that is the advantage of continuing where the first series left off.
Overall, the artwork was sufficient, but it didn’t necessarily blow me away. Some panels felt a bit cartoony and flat for the themes and action being presented. In all, that is a minor complaint, and it did not keep from immersing myself in the story, which is the real gauge of a story’s quality.
If you hated Twilight and Anne Rice’s romanticized perspective of The Vampire Chronicles, you will thoroughly enjoy Rise of Dracula. From the opening pages to the last, Rise is proving to be even more brutal than its predecessor. There’s enough blood and gore to make Quentin Tarantino gush, which will please the hardcore indy readers looking for the excessive violence that is the trademark of many independent titles.
Don’t forget the collecting potential here as well. A television series that Davis said is meant to be a prequel of sorts to Cult of Dracula is in development and moving forward. If the show is a hit, then we could see the events of Rise play out in live action as well, and that makes for an investment opportunity on the ground floor. At cover price, it’s worth the cost of admission.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.