Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artists: Fernando Blanco and Andrea Sorrentino
Rather than writing about the Jupiter’s Legacy, the issue #1 that has the whole comics community abuzz this week, I’m going to write about a final issue that seems to have been largely, and criminally ignored. There’s nothing worse than the cancelation of one of your favorite series, but in an ideal world the creative team has enough time to send the series off properly. Fialkov and team do a bang up job of it in I, Vampire #19.
The series has taken more twists and turns and reversals of status quo in its year and a half of existence than virtually any book in the New 52 (with the exception of maybe Mieville’s Dial H, Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, or Morrison’s Batman Inc., but that list of names should tell you something). It has also featured some of the best executed cameos; I don’t think anyone has written the new universe version of John Constantine as well as Fialkov has and I would have loved to see him on the Constantine series. Most importantly, however, Fialkov made us truly care about his characters, with all of the family betrayals, ambiguous moral codes, and romantic tension derived from unrequited love and conflicting allegiances. As much as I would have loved to see these dynamic narrative elements play out over four or five years and dozens of issues, the best I really could have hoped for is a satisfying sense of closure that didn’t minimize the journey that got us there. Not only was I satisfied by how Fialkov tied things together, but I was pleasantly surprised by the way he did it.
It’s a little less fun to review a final issue because the whole spoiler thing forces more circumlocution than I prefer. What I can reveal is that the story returns us to the 16th century and the events following last September’s superb zero issue. If that story amounted to Andrew’s origin, then this one tells that of his evil ex-lover, Mary. Fialkov provides closure through the story’s beginning rather than through its end. It’s admittedly not an entirely original plot device, but it is one that’s somewhat rare in the world of serialized mainstream comics; it also fits remarkably well with the cinematic feeling that the series has cultivated throughout its run.
The only thing disappointing about the concluding issues of I, Vampire is that Andrea Sorrentino was stolen away for Green Arrow (which, in fairness, he is doing a fantastic job on). Fernando Blanco’s work demonstrates enough technical skill and moody atmosphere to be an acceptable replacement, but he lacks the nuanced rhythm and pacing that Sorrentino brought to the storytelling. I wish I Could have seen how Sorrentino would have handled Lucifer’s reveal in this issue (not a spoiler if it’s on the cover, even if it is a “surprise” gatefold). Sorrentino does, however, make a return for the five pages of flashback in issue #19, which are as beautiful as ever and make for a great exclamation point to the series.
I greatly admire the work that Fialkov did on I, Vampire, as well as his Image series Last of the Greats, but, unfortunately, he seems to be getting the short end of the stray when it comes to cancellations and editorial conflicts. I sincerely hope that he finds the success and readership that he deserves in the near future. I look forward to his next projects and plan to devour them with enthusiasm. So should you.