Dracula: The Company of Monsters

Rating: 
2

The basic premise of this book is "Dracula meets corporate America." But the thing about doing a comic book focused on corporate America is that there’s not always a lot of inherent excitement to be found with a bunch of guys in suits. Granted, The Company of Monsters isn’t just set in board rooms, but when I closed the book, I couldn’t help thinking: "Gee, not much actually happened."

The book focuses on Evan, who at his Uncle Conrad’s request, is helping to decipher numerous ancient documents in order to resurrect the entombed Dracula. Conrad wants to use Dracula’s knowledge and mystic powers to help his company rebound. Obviously, there’s some inherent risks at bringing a vampire back to life, and a few individuals pay for Conrad’s decision with their lives. Dracula forms a manipulative bond with Evan, who is a reluctant participant in all of this. By the end of the book, all hell has broken loose.

What I like about this book is that Busiek and Gregory are trying to stay true to Dracula’s origins, i.e. the Bram Stoker novel, and historical detiails about Vlad III the Impaler of Romania, whose name is associated with the Dracula character. Thus, the Dracula we see doesn’t have the big widows peak, the big arching eyebrows, the cape, etc. He’s not a caricature, he’s just a man who’s been plucked out of his own time period.

This is a decent debut for co-author Daryl Gregory. Dracula and Evan have some The Silence of the Lambs-type scenes while Dracula is imprisoned in an underground facility following his resurrection. Those kinds of scenes are always fun. Plus, seeing people pour 900 gallons of sheep blood on to a a vampire’s body is definitely an interesting visual. What eventually happens to Conrad is also fairly interesting.

Still, the book is a bit dull at times. The story really doesn’t kick into high gear until the last few pages. It doesn’t help that this volume only contains four issues, as opposed to DC and Marvel’s usual standard of six. Had we been given a bit more story, I might be a bit more forgiving. You can certainly find better books out there to spend $12.99 on, even ones that only collect four issues. Heck, if you want to stay with BOOM! Studios, try Irredeemable.

The series still has potential, but the pace needs to pick up soon. The book obviously implies that Dracula’s evil is miniscule compared with that of corporate America. When the character starts absorbing the news, and sees what’s happened in the world since he was entombed, he is disgusted. I’d like to go down that route some more, and see what Busiek and Gregory have up their sleeves. But for now, I’m not terribly impressed.

 

-- Review by Rob Siebert

Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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