Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars #1 (Stranger)


CREDIT: Stranger Comics

Rating: 4.5/5 – New Reader Friendly Intro to a Classic Character
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Vampire Hunter D has been around since 1983, and has been in over 30 novels as well as a couple of popular Anime films.  I’ve never experienced the character until this comic came out.  Reading a comic featuring a well established character can go a couple of ways: It can make a lot of assumptions about an existing familiarity with the character and make a new reader feel like they walked into the middle of something or it can bring new readers up to speed.  I think this comic from Stranger Comics followed the latter path as I had no problem coming up to speed as I read the comic.

Brandon Easton did a great job writing this (from an original story by Hideyuki Kikuchi).  He did not blast out an information overload or give a tired rehashing of the character’s full backstory and origin.  There is plenty that I don’t know yet, but that is not different than any first issue for a new property where things need to be introduced to the readers.  There is just enough introductory dialogue and internal monologue to get me going with what I need to know and I picked up the rest as I went along…though I was left wondering what the deal is with D’s demonic left hand (but I got a bit of background on this in the backmatter of the comic).  The art by Michael Broussard was excellent, moody and rich with a wonderful range of color complementing the art, I was particularly fond of his work on characters faces.

The art was the main draw on this for me as I initially browsed the comic, but I was then drawn in by the story and the world, particularly as presented by the creative team of Easton and Broussard.  I cannot speak to how this comic will work for people who have a previous familiarity with the Vampire Hunter D character, but it worked great for me as an introduction to the character and his world.  I appreciate the fact that Stranger added a couple of pages at the back of the comic detailing the publication history of the character as well as the basic backstory of the character.  This is a seemingly simple thing to add that a lot of comics skip.  It added a lot of value for me and I really appreciate it.  I’m definitely on board for this 5 issue series.  The next issue is due out in January, and it has been added to my pull list!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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