Everyone knows the story of Dracula. The Lord of Vampires who lived in the Transylvania of Romania until Jonathan Harker brought him to England. A lot of stories tell how he became a vampire in the first place or his adventures following. Vlad Dracul #1 begins the “true” story of the inspiration behind the pop-culture icon.
Matteo Strukul has crafted a tale that is eerily familiar and yet new all at once. Strukil includes elements that fans are familiar with but adds enough new lore to make Vlad, at times, an almost sympathetic character. Vlad is framed as a leader of a small nation who would do anything for them and his lover, but the nobility of this appearance is counteracted by his treatment of other women and what he says during pillow talk regarding his reasons to go to war with the Ottoman Empire. So while the reader feels sympathy for many of his actions, they also feel horror at them.
Andrea Mutti’s art is a beautiful watercolor style that is very fitting for a wintery setting like the mountains in Romania. His use of red is just perfect for showing the bloody nature of Dracula and is often used as his clothing. Mutti has created some beautiful pages! Some feel like they were taken directly from a Dracula film, and others that make me want to purchase the original artwork. There were times when the lettering by Joel Rodriguez and the Scout Production team could have used better placement and consistency.
At times, Vlad Dracul #1 seems to stutter in its sense of flow despite a well-designed panel layout. Dialogue feels unnatural to the situation, a panel lacks dialogue necessary to the flow, or the scene suddenly changes. One page is normally colored as if it were the middle of the day, and the next, it has a pinkish tint as if dusk came on within seconds.
Vlad Dracul #1 is a great comic about the man behind the famous vampire. While it contains some pretty graphic scenes, this is a book highly recommended for fans of Brom Stoker’s infamous character.