Zenescope Entertainment 2015
Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by Michelle Bandini
Coloured by Walter Peryera
Something is terribly wrong with Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker’s very recently announced fiance. He calls Liesel Van Helsing for help and she quickly arrives with her boyfriend Hades, former god of the Underworld, in tow. Clearly under the influence of Dracula, Mina serves as a message to Van Helsing. But now what she must figure out is why Hades would jeopardize Mina’s life.
I love Liesel and the way Pat writes her. She’s her father’s daughter but her own person as well full of both confidence and self doubt in her choices and that dichotomy is what makes her so relatable even if she is out there fighting Vampires and dating Hades. That we see so much of the original Dracula and Van Helsing mythos and updating them for today’s audience in a smart manner shows his talent as writer as he keeps getting better and better. Everything here is familiar and yet fresh and new and that’s how you update a classic for a new generation.
As we learn more about Hades and his relationship with Dracula while Liesel and Jonathan come a calling was some great characterization. I love that Jonathan is so angry, upset and all kinds of distressed and that clouds his judgment. It makes the actions and events we see take place all the more plausible. That’s what really matters, taking the fantastic and inserting reality into it to combine them into things that make sense to the reader and not just oh that’s right they win because. There are setbacks and mistakes made because of human emotion and well let’s face it Dracula is a master manipulator and knows exactly what he’s doing to get them at their most dysfunctional.
Speaking of Dracula how can you not love this version? He’s everything we want him to be and so much more. Thanks to Michelle he’s dashingly handsome and thanks to Pat he’s deliciously evil incarnate. They’ve come together to deliver this whole package that through facial expressions and the way he turns a phrase to completely spellbind and terrify you that if he were real you’d either fall helplessly before him or flee in terror. Can I also take a moment to commend Michelle on the use of all the bugs/insects we see here too they just up that whole creepy factor tenfold and make me shiver and itch.
This is only issue two and the first encounter Liesel is having with Dracula but it’s important as it sets the stage for what the rest of this series is going to be about. Will her boyfriend be just that when this is over or will she decide that there’s no place for him in her life? He’s old, Hades, and he’s dealt with Dracula before and while he’s trying to save her in that old world chivalrous way this is a new era and she’s not one to be coddled. She’s also not as confident in going up against her father’s most fearsome enemy yet and this encounter shows her and us that she’s need more preparation.
This is really embracing the creepy, horror story that it should when dealing with these characters. It also shows us that it’s capable to have a strong female lead that isn’t objectified sexually in order to win the day. This is the kind of reading I look for, it’s smart, fun and interesting and full of freshness that reminds you of a forgotten past.