Dark Fang #1

Cover to ‘Dark Fang’ #1. Art by Kelsey Shannon/Image Comics

By Clyde Hall. It’s the season for horror comics with a comedic touch, and Image fields a contender with Dark Fang #1. Writer Miles Gunter and artist Kelsey Shannon give their modern vampire tale an infusion of green to accent all that scarlet. A century past, Valla was a mortal fisherwoman turned by a vampire needing a housekeeper for himself and his three undead brides. Blue collar human, blue collar vampire. Except that Valla gives notice at the end of pointy stakes and swords, and escapes the surface world to live in the sea. An oil spill brings her back to dwell with humankind, and she must adapt to a society much changed.

The ecological element is subdued here, but will continue as part of the ongoing plot. Given humanity’s poor stewardship of our planet, the idea of an undead avenger going Silent Running on corporate greed tickles my heart. Gunter also provides some cute touches on vampiric un-life as it would be today. Mesmerizing via wi-fi and smartphone addiction aiding victim acquisition. But it doesn’t always work. Valla wearing a giant jellyfish for a dress is just too silly, and it undermines some of the more horrific moments. Shannon’s art, though solid, also caters to ‘cute’, rendering blood-soaked Tepes terror scenes tepid. Her overall style, however, is Disney-gone-wrong, and for most of this story, that feels very right.

Horror and comedy are double-edged blades either rendered cutting or dull. Gunter and Shannon aren’t fashioning a razor just yet, but their first issue is edged enough for an enjoyable main character introduction. Valla is pure predator, with little interest in or concern for human lives; her former one, or the ones she now needs for sustenance. Her bloody rampage against those endangering her food supply with unsustainable abuse of our resources makes for enlightening entertainment.

Image Comics/$3.99

Written by Miles Gunter.

Illustrated by Kelsey Shannon.

Letters by Taylor Esposito. 

5 out of 10