Well, as much as I’ve been enjoying this series, I have to say the ending left me wanting a little bit. Niles and Jones did an incredible job of building up the story to this issue but I felt like we fell into a sprint to resolve everything in this issue when I wish we would’ve had at least two more issues to wrap it all up.
I think what happened is there were a lot of good ideas but not enough time to flesh them all out. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say there’s a storyline involving a prophecy that I thought was introduced at the perfect time. It was a great set-up and was the best twist in this story. However, there was a sub-plot with the character of French that I felt distracted from the prophecy plot. French’s story really came into play last issue and I was afraid that they’d wrap it up too quickly and that’s exactly what happened. This short-changed the prophecy story in my opinion which was the better of the two.
“Chains” (No Spoilers)
This is an incredibly dense comic. I’m not talking page-length, I’m talking story-wise. It takes me a while to get through the 22 pages of story but Paul has packed so much into those pages, I feel more than full when I’m done reading. It’s a great feeling!
Things slowed down significantly in this issue but rightfully so. Our characters are on their way to cracking the mystery at the heart of this story and Paul continues to add great twists and turns; even tragic ones. I won’t say who, but let’s just say at least one character doesn’t make out of this issue. It’s so cool when a creator is not afraid to end his creations. It raises the stakes of the story and shows that no one is safe. Plus, Paul does a great job of creating great characters in such a short amount of screen time. It actually sucked when I saw this character die. That’s great story-telling!
“Fangs, Romans, Countrymen” (No Spoilers)
This comic is kicking major @$$!!! It’s so refreshing to be reading a creator-owned work that this hitting it on all cylinders!
One thing I instantly appreciated about this issue is that I was able to finally grasp which characters were present and what their names were. Don’t misunderstand; this was not by Stuart Paul’s error in earlier issues at all. It’s just that this is such a dense comic I was getting lost with all the characters presented. Plus the fact that some of the Roman names of people and places are hard to pronounce here. But Paul does a great job of allowing us to recognize each of the characters and their roles now. For example, Anthony, the former friend of our main character Valen’s shows how truly brutal he can be. The opening scene between Anthony and Valen’s was highly cringe-inducing.
If there’s one things Steve Niles knows how to do, it’s to creep you the #@!$ out! Oh my God are there some eerie scenes in this issue!
One thing that I thought was a nice change of pace from the beginning of this issue is that we focus on the vampires for a little bit. It’s an interesting format that Niles has used in the others stories I’ve read of his because he’s taken time for us to get to know the human characters so now we get to focus on the vampires for a bit. Usually I find it more interesting when villains are shown to have more to them that just simply being evil. But in this case, Niles and Jones show that these creatures do nothing to warrant sympathy.