cover image Bad Blood

Bad Blood

Jonathan Maberry and Tyler Crook . Dark Horse, $17.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-61655-496-5

Very smart and very bleak, this Bram Stoker Award%E2%80%93nominated graphic novel works fresh changes on traditional and pop-cultural vampire lore. Trick Croft is a college freshman fighting leukemia. When a monstrous vampire attacks him, it recoils in dismay, poisoned by Trick's polluted blood. After the maimed bloodsucker begins slaughtering Trick's friends, the young man tries to become a vampire slayer, searching through the freaky nightclubs of vampire wannabes. He meets Lolly, a heroin addict who sees vampirism as salvation from her wasted life%E2%80%94until she actually meets some of the horde menacing Trick and becomes his ally. When they find a mentor, an ageless vampire hunter, readers may be lulled into thinking this is going to be another variation on a familiar theme, but Maberry (the Rot and Ruin seres) knows exactly what readers expect, and he plays expertly on their hopes and fears. Crook's anti-glamorous art fits the script perfectly, all the way to the tense climax. Readers who value honesty and intelligence over comfortable clich%C3%A9s will find them here. (Dec.)