This week I bring another review of a book produced by Approbation Comics and Bart Alex Thompson called Vampires Unlimited #1: Shades of Things to Come. So, vampires are still dominating the media alongside the caped heroes and flesh-eating zombies, but because of this fact it takes a little something extra to stand out these days.
The story opens with Shades and his girlfriend, Chase, who are members of a gang called the Jade Dragons, being chased through some dark alleys by a rival gang known as The Blood Fangz. When the situation seems almost hopeless for the young lovers, Eric Lothos, a vampire who narrates the story and has apparently been watching the events unfolding in the city, intercepts and dispatches the rival gang members singlehandedly, but unbeknownst to the couple. Eventually, in order to evade some stragglers from The Blood Fangz, Shades and Chase make their way into a bar called “Night Dreams” where Chase decides to separate from Shades temporarily due to his wandering eyes. While there, Shades meets a British man named Red Rum and the owner of Night Dreams, Doll. Shortly after Shades and Chase reunite and depart, the story shifts more onto Doll and we are later introduced to D-Bone, a gangbanger who seems to have a strained relationship with her, and Osiris, Doll’s lover.
The story seems to be decent enough for the first issue. Even though there isn’t much focus on the only vampire in the story, besides him being the narrator and his brief appearance in the middle and end of the book, all of the main characters for the series are apparently introduced to some extent here. The vague dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, but I assume that it is meant to build questions to be answered later in the series. The characterization is also lacking, in my opinion, and the reader doesn’t have a lot of reason to care for any of the characters in particular yet. My main problems with the book were just a few minor conflicts with the physics portrayed in the action, consistency in the designs, and a couple of small spelling errors in lettering. For example, on one page during Eric Lothos’ confrontation with The Blood Fangz we see what appears to be piss running between one of the gang members’ legs but the way it is drawn would not imply that the man wet his pants, but that he is urinating freely. It’s a little awkward. The art for the book looks good overall, and there was an honest effort made in the use of color, even though I think the use of shadows could be used better for a horror story.
Vampires Unlimited has potential, but from the first issue I’m not certain that it really stands out a lot from its other vampire-themed competitors. Its real promise will hopefully show in the next issue and keep readers wanting more. Several issues have already been released, so if you are interested, check them out and find more news from their website http://www.approbationcomics.com/.