Overview

Undying Love #1

Review

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Undying Love #1

Credits

  • Words: Tom Coker & Daniel Freedman
  • Art: Tom Coker
  • Colors: Daniel Freedman
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 30, 2011

The vampire story is over! Long live the vampire story!

Many would argue that vampires are oversaturating pop culture’s common nomenclature. In movies, television, music, novels, and comics, you can’t swing a cat by its tail without hitting a vamp or two. It’s gotten to the point now where some people cringe when the word is spoken. I say fear not, haters, this is a tale free of the sappy undertones, but loaded with the grit and grime that the undying would undoubtedly accumulate over the centuries.

Without much set up, we are introduced to John Sargent and his true love, Mei. Mei is sickly and worried about the journey they are about to embark on. John is steadfast and confident in his skills and training. He is affectionate with her, but more John Wayne than Edward Cullen. There is grizzled emotion to spare in the first few pages alone. 

Things really ramp up when John tends to the simple task of fetching water for tea, and a red fox begins to talk to him forebodingly. Before we know it, a mystical samurai fight breaks out and we get to see John put his mettle to the test. Vague words are spoken in shadows that this human has no chance of completing his task. By now, the reader is hooked on Coker and Freedman’s break-neck paced antics.

Creators Tom Coker and Daniel Freedman share writing and art duties (pencils by Coker and colors by Freedman) in this noir-ish, horror tale. The violence is plenty but stylish, and the colors are vibrant but muted by the heavy blacks, creating a grounded reality in this decidedly mystical world.  

The two men work in sync very well, creating an original voice in what is thought to be an overdone genre. The inclusion of a character as mysterious and familiar as John Sargent is a breath of fresh air to the proceedings. The emotion (or in some cases, lack thereof) that they convey with the renderings is spot on. The atmosphere created in such a short amount of time is reminiscent of the best that someone like Alex Maleev can offer. 

Having never experienced Coker or Freedman’s work previously, this reviewer was pleasantly surprised by their collective handling of the material. The story is played straight and for emotional impact, upon which, both are delivered.  Undying Love #1 is a success in its delivery, hook, and ability to buck the trends while at the same time embracing stereotypes. All genres can be elevated by writing and tone, two things that Mr.’s Coker & Freedman have delivered in spades. 

Being one of those people that cringe at the idea of vampires, I eat crow gladly in the shadow of a book like Undying Love. 

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