Saturday, May 30, 2020

Brothers Dracul: Volume 1 Blood of the Dragon – review

Author: Cullen Bunn

Artist: Mirko Colak

First published: 2018 (TPB)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: The legend of Vlad the Impaler is the stuff of nightmares. The inspiration for the most iconic of monsters―Dracula―Vlad tortured and murdered thousands of victims. But what turned him into such a depraved killer?

The truth lies in his teenage years, when Vlad and his brother Radu were held hostage by the Ottoman Empire. During this time, the brothers learned many things―archery, riding, the art of combat, matters of court...and how to stalk and slay vampires.

The review: The association of Vlad Ţepeş with vampires is something that won’t go away any time soon. However, this looks at that association through a different lens. Concentrating on Vlad, and his brother Radu’s, time held as hostages to the Ottoman Empire (with a wraparound of Radu visiting Vlad, and fearing for his brother’s sanity, due to the mass impalements), this sees an Empire fighting a shadowy scourge – vampirism.

Son of the Sultan, Mehmed, is sworn to fight the creatures and the two brothers are trained in martial techniques in order to be his bodyguards in the task. Not that they are told this and whilst Radu takes to the bow well – and gains favour with their instructor – Vlad is still rebellious, knowing that they are prisoners even if the cage is gilded. Even when they are sent on their first hunt they are not told what to expect; Mehmed proves to be fearful, whilst Vlad is a natural vampire hunter.

The reason the Ottoman’s use children/teens as hunters is suggested to be due to their innate innocence – Vlad shows little in the way of innocence, however.

I enjoyed this. The vampires needed more examination, we see them as animalistic, even feral monsters. But then we see at least two who retain human form. There is an ability to summon insect swarms, and silver powder will burn the vampires. The artwork is competent and works, but I wasn’t absolutely wowed by it and the score is bolstered by the story itself. 7 out of 10.

In Paperback @ Amazon US

In Paperback @ Amazon UK

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