The Strain #2 – Full Review (Comic Blog #10)

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Art, comics, Horror, Vampire
Tags: , ,

A plane of dead passengers (other than the 3 lone survivors), no signs of struggles or resistance from the victims. A mysterious engraved coffin and chain of events that Dr Ephram Goodweather need to understand.

The comic immediately focuses on the opening of the engraved coffin. Once opened the smell of decay is apparent, however the soil contained is alive and rich. A second question of what was initially in the coffin is raised. Ephram has also noticed that despite two hundred and six airline meals in the cabin decaying, there was not a single fly. Also disturbing is the fact that none of the bodies have rigor-mortis or started to decompose.

The survivors are being observed at Jamaica Hospital Media Centre. Ephram & Nora Martinez question the pilot on his memories regarding the journey. This calm questioning can’t be used on their next interviewee Mr Barbour who is more concerned with getting home to his wife, kids & dogs. The final survivor is goth rocker Mr Bolivar whose main goal is to see if he can get any Oxy’s. Although he seems a likely character to have such a coffin, he soon corrects Ephram that is look is an act to sell records and get laid. Ephram is then informed of his duty to perform a press call before we receive a reminder of his personal life that he has had to temporary leave behind.

Chesapeake Bay, Dark Harbour, Virginia – home of the multi billionaire Eldritch Palmer. Eldritch the ‘mastermind’ behind the hugely successful Stonehouse Group. Their latest acquisition has been in energy-futures and their 6 nuclear plants are due to go online shortly. Eldritch is an old and frail man who relies on heavy medications and ongoing care. He doesn’t see energy as the future, however he sees ‘life’ and is proud that he is proving the medical
world wrong as he was not expected to live beyond forty. We understand the extent he is willing to take to survive.

While Ephram is addressing the media, the city in watching a solar eclipse that has plunged the city into a temporary darkness. Nora is at the airport wanting to start the sample process, before discovering it has been removed. This proves to be a fatal mistake as we see the drivers deformed body, with the top of his skull removed (surrounded by black cats).

A mysterious man pays a low life to drive a truck to a set location. His details are hidden in darkness, however he must have influence as he is aware of the hired helps past record and family history. Unfortunately, he is unaware of his deadly cargo and his closing panel would appear to be his final.

We return to Ansel Barbour’s home where his religious wife is blessing his return. Ansel himself is praising his luck, although not feeling 100%. Meanwhile, Ephram & Nora are in the office of the chief medical examiner, Manhattan. They have noticed a small scalpel like piercing in the deceased, they can assume that it has been used to remove blood from the victims, however they are at a loss to the white ‘milk’ like substance which is in its place.

The comic closes with Ansels wife calling him and the kids as he has been in the shed for over an hour. Only then does the cover image connect the story so far.

Art 4/5 – The comic follows similar form to #1, with the brighter more vibrant colour of the living compared to the dark and looming environment. The panels follow a standard format, although they ensure the story continues at a steady pace.

Cover 3.5/5 – I was a fan of the first cover and although I have no complaints this time either, it lacks the immediate impact. However, I do believe it still provides enough of a teaser to tempt readers into getting involved in the story.

Story 4/5 – I am a real fan of this series and I hope that now the first two releases have been to build the story, we start to see the bigger dangers ahead. There has been a good combination of character building and story development and a comic that I look forward to receiving each month.

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