Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artwork: Mirko Colak, Maria Santaolalla (colours)
Lettering: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 27th June 2018
Cullen Bunn and Mirko Colak’s twisted look at the formative years of Vlad the Impaler continues this week as we see Vlad and his brother Radu rapidly growing into their role as the Sultan’s personal Vampir killers.
Far from the frantic scramble for survival we saw in last time out, this latest chapter sees Vlad and Radu working as a far more cohesive, far more confident monster killing team, presumably due to what feels like a decently sized passage of time between the two issues.
We also continue to see evidence of the growing darkness inside young Vlad as his frustration with Mehmed, the Sultan’s cowardly son, bubbles to the surface in a rather physical manner. There’s still a sliver of softness to him though, although his blossoming relationship with “bucket girl” Ermine raises so many red flags that it’s difficult to look directly at it.
Much like the first two issues, Bunn seems more than happy to let the Colak take the wheel here, propelling the narrative forwards with his striking visual style. And, much like his work on Unholy Grail, there’s an enjoyable contrast between the smooth, character-based moments and the kinetic action set-pieces, an approach which gives the latter far more of a sense of urgency.
It also doesn’t hurt that his Vampir are genuinely terrifying, feeling more like frenzied, animalistic predators than anything even resembling human. That said, colourist Maria Santaolalla deserves every bit as much credit as Colak for these moments, bringing the Vampir to life with a blend of dark blue skin, piercing green eyes and bloodstained mouths and fangs.
The characterisation remains enjoyably restrained, and while we already know the final destination of this story, the chain of events that sees Vlad turning from an angry young man to one of the most violent conquerors in world history definitely makes for an utterly captivating read.
If you like your historical retellings with just a dash of supernatural horror, then you really need to sink your teeth into Brothers Dracul. Bunn and Colak are carving out one hell of a niche for themselves with this particular subgenre, and I can’t wait to see where this story goes next.