Hello again. If you follow GateCrashers, you must be thinking: another vampire book? Really? And the same reviewer? Don’t you cover different genres? If it’s your first time here, you are probably confused. Try keeping up.
There are a lot of recently published vampire comic books, both ongoing and upcoming. To name a few examples: The All-Nighter, American Vampire, Stake, Cult of Ikarus, These Savage Shores, Vampire: The Masquerade, Killadelphia, and Blood Stained Teeth. And I have a taste for them. Despite multiple titles, each one makes me fall in love a bit more with this monster. How could this be? It all comes down to versatility. And the creators of Little Monsters understand this to perfection.
The star team that gave us Descender, Ascender (Image Comics), as well as Robin & Batman (DC Comics) present Little Monsters. It is the story of the last children on Earth, who also happen to be vampires. Their days consist of playing music, talking, hunting and feeding, playing capture the flag or tag, and exploring their surroundings. They’ve done this for a hundred years, waiting for some elder to return, but they are bored and anxious about their futures. They have been alone for as long as they remember. But everything is about to change.
Issue #1 is a five-minute read. It is graphic, with big and few panels showing more art than dialogue. You get a first glimpse of who everyone is, but because there are eight kids, you don’t get to know anyone past the surface. There is a cliffhanger in the ending, but I don’t feel it is enough to hook the reader, especially new ones, because of how little this whole issue gives you. Nevertheless, there seems to be a LOT more than what has been told.
The premise of vampire kids in a dystopian future has potential for future issues. I am excited to see what Jeff Lemire has planned. I have seen him write a creator-owned book with children protagonists in Sentient (TKO Studios), and he was excellent at capturing their curiosity, strong will, and innocence. In this issue of Little Monsters, we start to discover their different personalities and roles within the group. I can’t wait to learn more about the eight protagonists and their lives in this new world.
With all that said, the MVP of this book is Dustin Nguyen, the artist. I’ve talked about how many stories show vampires differently, and one way to set your book apart is the art. And this one feels like nothing you have seen before in the genre and comics in general. It is an unusual and innovative style. In essence, it is a black and white book. But it is complemented with splashes of colors in specific pages that highlight defining elements and guide the reader through the page. The level of detail and its ability to set the mood of a grim future with drops of hope is outstanding. I love it because it goes out of the classic comic book art and gives us paintings that suit the style of the book.
Overall, this is a beautiful book that felt like a preview more than a first issue. But given the talent involved and what few we could see from it, I believe it is enough to give it an opportunity and return for Issue #2. Also, see how I almost did not mention the vampire aspect? That is awesome because this book shows another way of approaching the vampire concept subtly. In the following issues, we will find out if it remains this way or if the character’s vampire origin is explained and has repercussions on the story.