Review: Dark Shadows (Comic) #9

Dark Shadows 9Written by Mike Raight

Illustrated by Guiu Vilanova

Published by Dynamite Entertainment

In which Barnabas confronts the person behind the recent spate of vampire attacks – and realizes that in order to set things right, he must embrace those aspects of his nature he’s been striving to overcome…

One thing the televised Dark Shadows rarely dealt with/dwelt upon was following up on the consequences of characters’ actions – particularly those of a fatal nature. More often than not, a body would get buried in Eagle Hill Cemetery or stashed in the Collins family mausoleum, and the rest of the characters would conveniently forget about that person’s existence.

Or did they have some help forgetting?

In possibly the most interesting development in this story arc, Barnabas makes blatant use of a heretofore-unseen mind-fogging ability to make young David forget what he has witnessed and experienced. (Mind you, this ability would’ve come in handy in the televised Dark Shadows when Barnabas was all worried that Maggie Evans would remember everything he’d subjected her to, but oh well…)

As for Lockwood (a vampire unwittingly created by Barnabas back in 1795 whose actions have propelled this story arc), his back-story is an interestingly – if ramblingly – related one. (Props to Quentin for lampshading this with a snarky comment, by the way!) Although I have difficulty believing that an unfettered vampire would stay in the same hidey-hole and survive without feeding for more than a century, but logic is probably the least of this comic’s concerns.

This issue definitely delivers on the gore and violence, as Barnabas and Quentin must deal not only with Lockwood, but with the vampire children he has deliberately spawned.  Barnabas’s actions throughout these sequences are wholly in character – sympathetic to their plight and determined to help if at all possible, but even more resolved to ending any threat to him or his family.

And thankfully Guiu Vilanova is back as illustrator, so the characters look recognisably like their televised counterparts once again…

VERDICT: A competent, but not spectacular, conclusion (more so than an “ending” as such) to a story arc marred by sub-par artwork, with several directions for new plotlines effectively signposted. 6/10

John S. Hall

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