Written by Chris Sims
Drawn by Stephen Downer
Lettered by Josh Krach
Published by Action Age Comics
“Return Of The Black Death”
This story is set in 1901 in London An innocent young woman named Thalia has unwittingly released the legendary Dracula from a coffin in which he had been chained into some years earlier, in Britain’s infamous Tower of London. It turns out that this was at the behest of a vampire named Varney, whom longtime Vampire literature fans may recognize, but previous knowledge isn’t really necessary to enjoy this story. Through dialog we learn that Dracula and Varney, despite both being vampires, have been enemies for centuries. During the time that Dracula has been captive (the official synopsis says 10 years, but that’s not explicitly stated in the issue) Varney has amassed a large following of Vampires and plans to rule the world. But he says that at least half of the vampire community refuses to follow him, so Varney released Dracula because he knows that rest will follow him, and so he wants Dracula to be his lieutenant. As a “gift”, Varney offer Thalia to Dracula as his first new victim. But Dracula isn’t interested in serving anyone, especially not Varney. So now he and Thalia must escape not only from Varney and Varney’s two henchmen, but from the magical beast that guards the Tower of London.
It’s a fun little story, the action moves pretty quickly. Writer Chris Sims does a great job in drawing the reader into the story. As I said, even without previous knowledge of characters like Varney, you can still follow the story pretty easily. There’s a brief flashback scene that alludes to Dracula’s distant past, apparently implied that he was in fact Vlad The Impaler (although, again, if you’re not familiar with that legend, it’s okay). Thalia appears to be an interested character, showing plenty of courage that shows that she is not the stereotypical damsel in distress.
Likewise I’m impressed with Stephen Downer’s artwork. He has an “animated” style, which fits the tone of the story has, despite the subject matter, it feels more like an action comic than a straight horror comic. Together Sims and Downer make a good team, and I’m interested to see where this series goes from here.