Most comics fans are most likely familiar with Christian Ward as an artist. His art by him brought life to series like G. Willow Wilson’s Unseen Kingdom and Matt Fraction’s ODY-C. Readers can look forward to more of his art in the upcoming Aquaman:Andromeda, but for now, Ward is taking a moment to write a story of his own. He is joined by artist Patric Reynolds, colorist Heather Moore and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou to present Blood-Stained Teeth #1, a thrilling vampire crime comic due out April 27 from Image Comics.
Blood-Stained Teeth #1 follows an entrepreneurial vampire named Atticus Sloane. Atticus turns humans into vampires for a price. This business has afforded him a life of luxury, but it has also drawn the attention and anger of other first-born vampires, who look down on humans who become vampires. When Bram Stoker and his goon named Tooth try to bully Atticus into retiring from his gray line of work, the vampire is forced into a dangerous situation.
Ward wastes no time jumping into the vicious world of vampires in Blood-Stained Teeth #one. Atticus turns a woman into a vampire on the very first page, and things only get wilder from there. Ward’s fast pace helps set a punchy, exciting tone for the series. But despite the non-stop nature of this first issue, he still manages to build a complex world. The social hierarchy of first-born vampires and “sips,” who become vampires after being bitten, is explained briefly but clearly. Ward capitalizes on the audience’s familiarity with the vampire mythos by adding his own twist to the genre without spending too much time on the exposition.
Reynolds’ art captures the thrilling tone of Blood-Stained Teeth perfectly. He includes iconic horror aesthetics that fans will associate with vampires while adding his own distinct style to each character. Reynolds’ style adds a modern element to the ancient characters and grounds the proceedings in contemporary times. Each page seems designed to throw the reader into a disorienting world without distracting from the narrative. Reynolds adds a brutality to each action scene and every landscape to reinforce the harsh, but entertaining tone of Ward’s writing.
Heather Moore’s colors add vitality and a sense of motion to every panel. She bathes Reynolds’ inks in a sea of neon that helps to amplify the comic’s pace. Moore makes the world of Blood-Stained Teeth bright and poppy, without distracting from the fact that it’s all taking place in the middle of the night. It is sometimes difficult whether or not some of the fascinating textures in these pages originate from Moore’s colors or Reynolds’ drawing, but together the two have created some unforgettable images.
Blood-Stained Teeth #1 lays the foundation for a thrilling crime drama. Ward and Reynolds combine horror and action to create a fun first issue that utilizes classic archetypes while being remarkably unique. The entire creative team works together to craft a truly striking first issue. Every page stands alone as a work of art, and the story is as fun as any vampire narrative in recent memory.
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