Oni Press 2015
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Drew Moss
Coloured by Nick Filardi
Lettered by Crank
The Stubbs are a rowdy, trouble-making bunch, but the Whatelys... folks speak of the Whatelys in hushed whispers. When the Whatleys bargain with dark forces to rid them of the Stubbs clan, four unlikely heroes are all that’s left between a ravenous legion of ghoulish, vampiric creatures and the unsuspecting world beyond the boundaries of this sleepy Ozarks community.
After reading this issue i’m more convinced than ever that this feels like what would happen if you merged the Dukes of Hazard with the Strain. Except you get a whole lot more charm than you’d ever anticipate from that merging. Cullen is such an accomplished storyteller and this one has this great feel and undertone to it that pretty much defies description but it’s undeniable that you feel it.
Last issue ended with R.F. and Jack getting to the Whatelys place and seeing for themselves the monsters they’d become. That’s right where we pick up to as the boys are attacked by those home. You’d think the boys would be outnumbered and outclassed fighting a bunch of vampires or Draculas! as Jack likes to call them but these good old boys have a few things going for them. Most noticeably Jack’s strength that is within that aw shucks demeanor of his. Seriously though his dialogue here is what makes this so darn entertaining it takes the edge off the horror of the situation and endears the reader to him.
Also making a surprise return from last issue is Samson whose anger fueled rage helps bring a turn in the tide of battle. Again not something you’d expect to see happen but lo and behold it’s another point of interest that just kind of surprises you in the best of ways. There really is this whole damn charm oozing off the way the story goes here that struck a chord with me and sets this apart from any spin you’d ever seen in a Hatfield/McCoy situation.
I do like how Cullen is using some of the lore surrounding vampires here as well, including Jack’s love of the movies and how it ties into what’s going on. Like the inability to cross running water for instance. Or the bite being able to turn someone much like that of a werewolf. There really are so many different legends surrounding vampires and what’s “real” and what isn’t is up to the writer to use as best as they see fit when trying to make their story work as best as possible.
I was looking forward to seeing the boys try to explain this to Cecil and Sue but with what happens well that’s a far more effective way for them to see the truth. I also like how Seth changed and what he’s able to do now. Though did he know when he was brought there what he was already or was he something of a plant? Taken in by the boys so he’d be safe and be able to stay alive while ensuring many of his rivals were eliminated? Oh and his new ability to summon a few well let’s just say friends that just so happen to be migrating right now yeah that’s gonna be something to see next issue.
I have to say this won’t be anything you are expecting it to be and yet it’ll be so much more.
I am loving the interior artwork here too. There’s something cute and disturbing about how the vampires look and it’s a stark contrast to the area wildlife’s such realistic touch. The humans too have a great feel to them that is classic comic books but also a touch of Saturday Morning to them. The real treat though is seeing the outdoors and how the trip through the woods or last page just brings this to a real world place.
Cullen and company have struck magic with this one folks!