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You can tell Transfusion #1 is a unique title by the oddly built robot on the cover, and the words underneath Transfusion, which may have people rolling their eyes: “Vampires versus Robots.” Yes, this title has vampires and robots that both crave blood. And if I had two words to describe horror maven Steve Nile’s Transfusion, wonderfully weird comes to mind. And that’s not just from the bizarre post-apocalyptic type of world Niles creates, but the disturbing tone set by Menton Matthew’s artwork.
In a post-apocalyptic world overrun by robots thirsting for blood, a family of humans attempts to get some food only to be spotted by a scout. Family bonds are strong, but are they strong enough to survive steel?
Despite the concept of vampires versus robots seeming stupid, it is pulled off well with this first issue. The story is starting off very vague, making me all the more interested in the future of the series – though this does mean the prospect of it taking a nosedive into stupid is still a possibility. There is also a great twist at the end that is only partly ruined by Transfusion’s subtitle.
The biggest advantage this issue has is all the mystery it’s building with every moment, making us ask questions like: Where did the robots come from? How did they take over? What’s the more in-depth history with our main protagonist who has managed to capture my interest with some narration and little dialogue?
Speaking of the narration and dialogue, while there is so little of it, the format is very odd. The lines would still be fairly short even if Niles didn’t have this odd habit of breaking lines apart and moving them over diagonally. But as a result of this odd habit I find myself reading the narration more slowly which seems to put more emphasize on each word and makes the issue feel longer than it is. Also, because the lines aren’t clumped together, they seem to be off on their lonesome, adding to the tone of the issue. But for some people this may seem like just another pointless design quirk.
The somber atmosphere of Transfusion is perfectly encapsulated with the artwork. This artwork will not be a fan-favorite for a lot of people – especially if you’re one of those people who hated the artwork in the Silent Hill comic books. I didn’t even have to looks up the artists credentials before making that comparison, and the artist for this issue Menton Matthews III (Menton3) has also done the artwork for Silent Hill comic books. And I like the style, despite some gripes. It can be hard at times to see what is going on because of the lack of color and intelligible lines. But his use of color is very effective in creating that somber mood. The best images (other then the ones of people getting torn apart for you horror hounds) are the two full page spreads at the end, one featuring some deathly white vampires (complete with skimpy clothing for those looking for horror hussies) and another showing part of a vampire’s face that, half-way down the page, has black paint dripping from a line in the panel that forms artistic fangs. His use of powdery whites and grays contrast wonderfully with red bloodshed and makes for a very unique painted ascetic that you either like or hate, but never love when it can easily make you lose track of what is going on.
This is not worth every comic fans time or money. If you are not interested in a dark and dank atmosphere with some blood and a different kind of artwork, don’t pick this up. But for fans of horror, read this to experience a grim atmosphere and a fantastic start to a story that definitely leaves those willing to look past the concept at face value thirsting for more. Just be aware it won’t feel like you’re getting a preview into an awesome series rather than a full $4 comic book which I will only look past once since this is the first issue and they are trying to draw in readers with a lot of questions and get them past face-palming at the concept of vampires versus robots, and for me they succeeded. I’m hungry for blood, and I want more Transfusion!