cover image Dracula: The Company of Monsters

Dracula: The Company of Monsters

Kurt Busiek, Daryl Gregory, and Damien Couceiro, Boom! (www.boomstudios.com), $1

How do you make Count Dracula scary in the age of Twilight? By getting in touch with the man behind the legend, according to Busiek and Gregory, creators of this intriguing remake. Conrad Barrington, the unscrupulous CEO of a major conglomerate, manipulates his milquetoast nephew, Evan, into using ancient spells to resurrect Vlad III of Walachia, the Romanian hero who inspired the legend of the vampire king. The story is told from the nephew's perspective as he gradually learns the dark arts necessary to control Dracula, eventually coming to sympathize with him. The aristocratic Vlad opposes Conrad's self-serving corporate ambitions, and is characterized as a morally complex character with a strict code—the result is a thought-provoking Dracula that the reader can actually root for. The writers do a good job of contrasting Dracula's 15th-century value system with contemporary culture. Couceiro's colorful if slightly generic artwork serves the narrative well. While there is quite a lot of action in the series, the gore never feels tacked on, even when the expected team of vampire hunters shows up. (Feb.)