Review: The Vampires of Lower Bennett Street #1

Originally posted on Irish Comic News (3/Apr/2018)

Written by Mike Lynch.
Line art by Joe Campbell.
Colour art by by Joe Campbell.
Letters by Joe Campbell.

Issue one drops the reader straight into the action as escape attempt is in progress in what seems to be a secure facility of some kind. It’s a distant totalitarian future, where a man only identified as Lazarus is would-be escapee. Considering that a number of armoured and heavily armed soldiers are in pursuit, it would suggest Lazarus is more of a threat than reader may have thought on first glance.

After the escape scene reaches its climax, the reader is transported back to 1690s Ireland. This shift to historical Ireland informs the reader that Lazarus has a bit more life to him than the average person. It might explain why the soldiers in the opening scene were in pursuit of him.

The arrival of monster hunters to the city in 1690s Ireland reveals the nature of the relationship between the vampires and Lazarus. It’s revealed over the course of the story that Lazarus is in Ireland hunting a scroll that holds the secret to eternal life, and eternal death. It seems that long life is more of curse than a blessing for Lazarus.

I was quite impressed with the artwork, it reminded me a bit of the art by Cat Staggs on the Crosswind series. The escape scene doesn’t take up a huge amount of the comic, but the part that it does makes it clear from costume and symbols adorning the front of buildings that whomever is in charge is using a strong military force to maintain that control.

With the rest of the comic, buildings, characters and costume are well drawn. As it’s a comic with vampires the scenes are all at night in Ireland so plenty of action by moonlight or torch. The art handles all that is required by the story right up to the explosive cliff-hanger.

The one thing that bothered me little was scenes  of dialogue between two of the characters. The camera angle that was used a number of times gave the appearance of a character talking to the back of the other character. Some of the parts of the story make sense that angle would be used but other scenes allowed for a different angle. The art has a great standard and shifting the angles a bit to vary it up a bit would give a bit more energy to dialogue sequences.

With Campbell doing the art and lettering, the lettering was unlikely to end up in a location that obscured the artwork. Lettering is clear to read and leads the eye through the page nicely. I did like the lettering on the sound effects where a sword was swinging through the air ( or someone being thrown). The lettering had a bit of transparency applied to it that worked well the action it denoted.

I enjoyed the first issue. The character of Lazarus is interesting with little of his backstory given away at this early stage to entice the readers to stick with the series. Equally, I’m curious to see how things play out between Lazarus and the vampires. It also doesn’t hurt that art is of such a good standard.

Plenty of questions are raised about Lazarus, in both strands of the story that should have readers coming back for issue 2.

So if you like some mystery with vampires and the supernatural thrown into the mix, then have a wander down Lower Bennett Street.

Buy The Vampires of Lower Bennett Street on Comixology.

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