BLADE: VAMPIRE NATION #1 / Written by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by DAVE WACHTER/ Colors by DEE CUNNIFFE/ Letters by VC’S CORYPETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
A nation of vampires. It sounded insane, out-loud and on paper. Yet Dracula made a convincing case that his people could safely inhabit those lands around Chernobyl that no human could live in. The United Nations agreed to his proposal and to recognize the new nation of Vampyrsk on one condition – that the legendary vampire hunter Blade be empowered to police the new nation and ensure law and order were maintained. Reluctantly, Dracula agreed.
Unsurprisingly, many people have a problem with this arrangement apart from Blade and Dracula themselves. And one of them felt strongly enough to try and assassinate Dracula before his rule could truly begin. This leaves Blade with a long list of suspects and an urgent need to find the guilty party before an already fragile peace breaks.
Blade is not a character I usually associate with comedic concepts. Certainly the Blade trilogy of movies did have some humor, but the character himself is not one I usually think of as having vast comedic potential. Typically Blade serves as the foil to less serious characters. I also don’t think of Blade as being much of a detective. This makes the central concept of Blade: Vampire Nation incongruous from page one. It also makes it a fascinating read.
Mark Russell is a great character writer, but this time out he spends more time exploring the concept of a nation of vampires and the logistics of how such a thing would work. This provokes some of the social commentary for which Russell is famous. It also provokes ample comedy, through concepts such as government sponsored group therapy for those fledgling vampires getting used to their new status and elder vampires having trouble coping with modern times.
The artwork is serviceable, but not outstanding. Dave Wacther is a fine artist, who employs a variety of body types in his character designs and what little action exists is well blocked. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that really stands out or grabs the reader visually, which is a problem in a horror/mystery title. The muted colors of Dee Cunnifffe do little to help matters.
Fans of Mark Russell’s writing and stories that examine the nuts and bolts of Marvel Universe politics will get a kick out of Blade: Vampire Nation. I suspect that fans of Blade and horror comics in general would be better served waiting for a title with more bite. Still, for what it is, this is a good read.