New 52 Review: Rise of the Vampires, paperback collection, featuring I, Vampire 7-12, and Justice League Dark 7 & 8. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Peter Milligan. Art by Andrea Sorrentino & Daniel Sampere.
I enjoyed the first trade of I, Vampire very much (reviewed here, along with the first trade of Justice League Dark). The first half of this collection is the “Rise of the Vampires” storyline that crosses over through both titles. The team-up works well, as Madame Xanadu, John Constantine and Deadman seem to be natural compatriots for Andrew Bennett, Mary Queen of Blood, and their army of vampires. One of the strengths of the New 52 initiative was the strength of their “Dark” line, which also included Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Demon Knights, and Resurrection Man.
Cain, the father of all vampires, has killed the sympathetic Andrew Bennett. But that does not stick, and Andrew manages to return to life, changed. The specifics of that change are unknown, making those around Bennett nervous. He announces that he is Cain's opposite, meant to build and not destroy. Andrew and Mary reunite in an embrace, as he will lead the vampires with her. The vampires are reformed again with a thought, and they swarm Cain while Andrew beheads the immortal evil. After undoing the slaughter and erasing memories, the vampire couple walks away with their docile vampire army, leaving up in the air the question of Bennett’s evil.
The last four issues of the collection deal with Bennett’s struggle to control the entire vampire population of North America, without allowing them to decimate the entire human population. He comes up with a plan to allow them to feed as they wish, if they can beat him in a fight. One one vampire accepts the challenge – Mary. And they fight for the right to control the army. And the Van Helsings get involved. As does a team from Stormwatch. Because comics.
Fialkov continues to do a terrific job humanizing Andrew Bennett, and in these stories, he does the same for Mary. The tragedy of their centuries-old relationship is clear whenever the characters interact.
The crossover with Justice League Dark may well have been an attempt to bring readers to I, Vampire. At this time, Justice League Dark was selling about twice as many copies per issue as we I, Vampire. Unfortunately, this did not help save the I, Vampire title, which was canceled after issue 19.
source: public library