Authors: Cullen Bunn & JimmyZ
Art: Daniel J Logan
First released: 2018 (tpb)
The blurb: Michelle survived being attacked by the vampire Radu, defeated him on more than one occasion, and has been living with the fallout for years. Her life forever changed since she was infected by him, she has adjusted to her existence as a creature of the night. Now, though, the unthinkable has happened. Radu has resurfaced… only now there appears to be FIVE incarnations of the fiendish vampire.
The review: Despite being low budget, there is something satisfying about Full Moon Pictures’ Subspecies series (see my reviews of films one, two, three and Four) – though the series did begin to seriously lag by the fourth offering. One of the reasons is that main villainous vampire Radu was such a brilliant character, warping from antagonist to almost (but not quite) an anti-hero. That said I was rather excited by the news that a fifth film might be in the offing and, until then, we have this graphic novel (and many thanks to reader NerdyWillowTree for mentioning its existence in a comment recently).
The story takes place at some unspecified time after film four and Michelle is still in Romania, working as a nurse and quenching her thirst for blood through the bloodstone – a mystical artefact that produces blood. Her world is turned upside down when Radu reappears (he was killed, again, at the end of film four) but – as the blurb reveals – there are five versions of him. We discover that there were five of the subspecies minions – homunculi that Radu created through his blood – abroad when he died. They, on his death, began to grow into clones of Radu, each with a different part of his personality and different powers. One of them feels guilt for what Michelle has been through and wants to help her.
The graphic returns to Radu’s castle and we see, again, the festival with a vampire detecting horse that we saw in the first film. We also get a line about a town in Alaska with no daytime for 30 days, in a nod to 30 Days of Night. The story, unfortunately, is thin – spread over three comic issues it doesn’t have the length to really get going. However it is fun to see Radu and Michelle again. It was produced by Full Moon and so is, apparently, canon – one wonders if it will be a bridging story to the new film? The art work worked well and suited the setting and story. It could have just done with being padded out but many thanks to Ian for the gift of the volume. 5 out of 10.
In Paperback @ Amazon US
In Paperback @ Amazon UK