Dracula: The Company of Monsters #5 (Boom! Studios)
by Kurt Busiek, Daryl Gregory & Scott Godlewski
I’ve been way behind on my reading, comics and otherwise, so it’s only been now that I’ve gotten around to checking out this new take on Dracula by Boom! Studios. With a concept and plot from celebrated comics writer Kurt Busiek, scripter Daryl Gregory delivers a compelling drama about the darkness of men’s souls. On the surface, this is about Dracula’s resurrection in the 21st century, but in reality, it’s about the human characters and the nasty things they’re willing to do in the name of ambition and self-preservation. Evan makes for an unlikely hero. He’s far from the most ethical man, but his shades of grey are swallowed whole by the blackness of those in his life, even his fiancee, who initially and deceptively comes off as the loyal partner. The corporate elements help to ground the piece while also serving to allow for a couple of moments of satire. I love that “the company of monsters” referred to in the series title aren’t literal monsters but ones in terms of morality.
Godlewski’s style is a relatively simple but effective one. His character designs tend to be angular, and those sharp edges are in keeping with the harsh qualities of the players in the drama. His elongated figures are also perfect for a story featuring lean, gaunt predators such as vampires. His style reminded me a little of that of Norm (Batman, Archie) Breyfogle. It’s also comparable to the work of Giancarlo (The Last Resort, Gorilla-Man) Caracuzzo. Most of the characters — and there are quite a few of them — are ordinary people, and the artist does a solid job of providing designs that distinguish among them clearly. 8/10