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23 July 2012

Dracula the Unconquered by Sims, Downer and Krach

Dracula the Unconquered #2.  Story by Chris Sims.  Art by Steve Downer.  Letters by Josh Krach.

Editor's note:  The image samples below are not full pages.  The full pages have even more cool stuff in them.

I love Dracula but I'm a hard sale on Dracula movies or comics because I love a very specific Dracula.  When I was a kid my local library had a stack of Marvel's Gene Colan drawn Tomb of Dracula.  Gene Colan would become one of my favorite artists and when I think Dracula I see his Dracula.  That is a very big shadow for a comic to have to stand in but Dracula the Unconquered is its own kind of Dracula comic.  I don't really need another Dracula horror comic.  I've got my Marvel Essential Dracula collection and musky back issues for that.  This is a comedy adventure Dracula comic.  More like the "Animated Adventures" version of Tomb of Dracula.
Adventure Dracula is a clever twist.  Dracula is still Dracula.  The themes and settings are still horror based.  All of the Dracula ingredients are there.  It is the execution that is different.  The writing and art are much more playful.  Action adventure Dracula sounds a bit silly but it works and is a lot of fun.

The premise of the book is simple.  Dracula is back from the dead, again, but this time instead of being hell bent on turning mankind into an army of undead he is hell bent on stopping another guy from turning mankind into an army of undead.  So, Dracula is the good guy.  Sort of.  He's still Dracula.  He has a female sidekick to bounce dialog off of because internal monologues can slow things down in an adventure comic.  Non-dead human sidekick also makes the action more interesting because she really could get offed at any moment and, unlike Dracula, stay dead.  (Unless she didn't.  It is a comic.)
In Sim's story for this specific issue, Dracula wants to gather up his arsenal to fight his rival so he goes to his old home only to find that it has been filled with death traps.  Death traps everybody!  This allows Dracula's new sidekick to see him in action and get an idea of what kind of adventure she has gotten herself into.  But more importantly it gives Downer a lot of cool stuff to draw.  And he is really good at it.  (See image above.  I love that stuff.)  Downer's soft clean design is not what I would expect in a horror comic but it great for this adventure stuff.  He draws the action, gadgets and traps really well.  I particularly liked the giant music box cylinder based intercom system.  He also pretty sharp with the characters' acting and gestures.  I'm very impressed with his colors.  Great pallet choices.   Dark enough to be spooky but still warm.  Not a lot of gimmicks.  Just solid coloring.

I had a lot of fun with this comic.  Dracula, death traps, some jokes, some twists, some turns, a surprise from Dracula's past (spoiler averted) and a enough questions to make me anxious for the next installment.  

Your best pal ever,

Shannon Smith

p.s. Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
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