Rodney Barnes, writer
Jason Shawn Alexander, art
Luis NCT, colors
Marshall Dillon, Letters
The previous issue continued to deepen the reader’s insight into the father/son relationship and the parallel drive each had to rid Philadelphia of blood sucking vampires. Readers will recall that James Sangster Sr. was a police officer in Philadelphia prior to becoming a vampire. James Sangster Jr., also a police officer in Philadelphia, continues the investigation after his father’s demise. Their relationship was strained for years prior to James Jr. returning to help his father battle vampires.
In this issue, Sangster Sr. travels to the next life and throughout his journey, the book asks several important questions: How does death feel, where do we go when we die, what comes next, what happens to my deepest desires, and will I be reunited with the ones I loved? For Sangster Sr. a surprise awaits which changes the trajectory of his experience and increases the intrigue for the reader. James Sr. still has a connection to the life he left that must be dealt with before he transitions completely.
Back in Philadelphia the war rages on between the police force, led by James Sangster Jr., and the vampires. The vampires have expanded their strategies and new faces lead the group. The most interesting part of this battle happens with a reflection made by James Jr.: “There is no uphill in this.” This statement rang the reality bell as when considering everything the city has endured and yet still has to endure due to the vampire attack. The parallel to our current pandemic environment, mistreatment by the police, societal upheaval, and presidential race was poignant.
Once again, the art is spot on for the tone of the book. The handling of the afterlife imaging was especially impactful as it employed the use of the color red, which usually means hell, with the image of a loved one and a touching exchange. The swimming backgrounds, the gatekeeper character, Charon, were not well defined, which increased the emotional experience of mystery, fear, and anticipation around what it all meant for the character and what could happen next. This issue builds on the major themes of the story and continues marches ahead in the human vs vampire war in interesting ways. Overall 9/10