"Brothers Dracul #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Mirko Colak
Colored by Maria Santaolalla
Lettered by Simon Bowland
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 23rd, 2018
Vlad and Radu are prisoners, but since they're royalty, they're treated better than most. This doesn't mean that they're free to roam around or anything. They get to accompany the Ottoman prince Mehmed on a vampire hunting expedition. Talk about a great field trip! When Mehmed chokes, the two brothers step up to eliminate the vampire nest in a bloodthirsty fashion. The transformation of Vlad Dracul into the figure we know as Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) is just beginning.
Artist Mirko Colak's designs for the vampires are most definitely monstrous. This is not the old-school European look. They are most definitely creatures of the night with rough skin, pointed ears, and piercing eyes. Then there's the teeth. Again, this isn't a traditional design. Instead, the jaw is full of large sharp teeth, spaced out a bit too much, like a deformed shark.
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These animals dwell in caves full of the bones of their victims. Discarded human remains are piled up all over the place, creating a very sinister and ominous setting. It's made even more so when we find that some of them are not dead yet. These shuffling corpses are a stark reminder for what awaits these men should they fail.
Colorist Maria Santaolalla blankets the cave in darkness, lit only by the solitary torch the men brought with them. The light eerily bounces off the stacks of bones as they descend into the lower reaches. All three are covered in blood after their first encounter with a vampire. The blood has seeped into their clothes, giving them a macabre tie-dye look.
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Vlad and Radu certainly have a grudge to settle against the Ottoman Empire, however they have to be careful with how they rebel. Any open revolt could cost them their lives. You can feel the anger building inside both of them and it's only a matter of time before that manifests physically. Since we know what will eventually happen to Vlad, every action has an added weight to it. Does this contribute to his eventual transformation? What will be the final straw that pushes him into the darkness? And what of Radu? What is his place in his brother's future?
Brothers Dracul is a dark and violent journey through the life of one of the most evil men of yesteryear. It joins other AfterShock titles like Pestilence and Unholy Grail in a solid niche of historical horror, blending fact with fiction.