Written by William Harms
Art by Matt Timson
Letters by Troy Peteri
Release date: March 31, 2010
You know what’s a great word? Impale. At all opportunities, the word impale should be worked into a sentence. So I am proud and excited to review Impaler #5, Top Cow’s newest addition to the ever-expanding world of the vampire. At least these ones don’t ‘sparkle’ in the sun.
America has been overrun with a plague of vampires who have consumed the East Coast in a bloody rampage, turning or tearing through anyone they find. These aren’t your garden variety fanged Eurotrash in capes either. Inhuman grotesques wrapped in shadow, giant misshapen monsters with blood sucking tentacles, and winged demons litter the landscape. The story follows the soldier Lt. George Wagner and his fellow troops as they fight to survive, cut off from the rest of humanity, while Wagner’s wife and children flea to New Mexico and stay with a kindly stranger named Tom. Meanwhile, Detective Victor Dailey has been recruited by a man with superhuman powers named Vlad, and is preparing to turn the tide against the undead.
It seems you can’t go anywhere without tripping over a vampire these days, and the concept is very quickly reaching the saturation point. So it’s always nice when someone at least tries to do something new with bloodsuckers. Impaler is one of those projects that take the vampire in a new direction, and on many levels it works. Writer William Harms has blended vampires with the post-apocalyptic landscape you’d traditionally see in a zombie or a plague comic. While Lt. Wagner deals with the undead, his wife has to deal with man’s inhumanity towards man as fleeing refugees begin to fight over everything from food to gasoline. On the other hand, I don’t know how much more mileage comic books are going to be able to get out of these supernatural-collapse-of-civilization stories before they become repetitive. The plot and character development still kept my interest, but I’m starting to get the feeling I’ve read this story many times before.
Where Impaled really succeeds is in the art. Matt Timson’s vampires are more akin to Nosferatu then Dracula or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Timson’s angular and geometric character designs amplify this naked inhumanity within the vampire, which is contrasted against the softer, rounder human characters. The colouring is dark, punctuated on occasion by the harsh bright red of blood or the sickly orange shading of the master vampire.
Impaler is a fun and very energetic contribution to the horror comic genre, and despite the over-used vampire and post-apocalyptic themes, the story’s energy and artwork keeps the comic feeling fresh.
RATING: 4 out of 5 Impalings