Just in time for the Halloween season Image Comics and Skybound have teamed up with Universal for a brand-new Dracula comic book series. Titled Universal Monsters: Dracula, this new mini-series creative team will be the Department of Truth creators of James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds. Even if the Universal Monster brand isn’t my thing there was no way I could pass up reading a series done by Tynion and Simmonds. I got the chance to check out an early copy of the first issue of Universal Monsters: Dracula. Check out how the debut goes with our advance review of Universal Monsters: Dracula #1.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Letterer: Rus Wooton
“THE BIGGEST NAMES IN COMICS RESURRECT THE MOST ICONIC MONSTERS!
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH creators JAMES TYNION IV (W0RLDTR33, Something is Killing the Children) and MARTIN SIMMONDS reteam for an extra-length miniseries about the monster who started it all! When Dr. John Seward admits a strange new patient into his asylum, the madman tells stories of a demon who has taken residence next door. But as Dr. Seward attempts to apply logic to the impossible…his surrogate daughter Lucy begins to fall under the spell of the twisted Count Dracula!” – Skybound Entertainment
Universal Monsters: Dracula #1 does everything a first issue needs to. It sets the groundwork for what to expect from the direction and tone of this new Dracula series. This is a series that will not hold back on the horror aspects of the Dracula franchise. It will embrace it as part of the storytelling that will be diving into the psyche of different people.
Right away James Tynion and Martin Simmonds establish the legend of Dracula. Even without mentioning his name, you feel the specter of Dracula looming large over every interaction in this first issue. Dracula is the clear driver of the story. The longer we get into Universal Monsters: Dracula #1 without him appearing the more powerful his presence grows.
This is an impressive thing to accomplish given how Dracula is one of the most adapted fictional characters in pop culture. It’s a credit to Tynion and Simmonds’s storytelling ability that they can let that familiarity get in the way of their adaptation of Dracula’s story. They immerse you in the way they are telling this story and you just let the comic book guide you through the world that’s crafted.
Focusing on Renfield, Dr. John Seward, and Mina Harkins individually gave a great idea of where each character is coming from at the start of this story. Each has their own thoughts and perspectives that make them all as important leads as Dracula is. This all builds anticipation for when we do see these characters share screen time to be even stronger.
Simmonds’s art style is a great fit for Universal Monsters: Dracula. He was made to draw this type of series. There is such a haunting nature around Dracula and Renfield. Those scenes are balanced out with the different tones we see in John and Mina’s scenes. The color palettes utilized throughout Universal Monsters: Dracula #1 made scenes even more striking, especially the way red was used throughout the issue.
The only drawback to Simmonds’s art style was that backgrounds for the most part looked flat. There was not much depth given to the background so these elements blended with the foreground in various scenes. It was not a deal break at all but something noticeable in scenes where what’s in the background was helping to set the mood of a scene.
James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds create an immersive reading experience with Universal Monsters: Dracula #1. Every character shines in their own that you are fully invested in the parallel journey they will be on. If you are a fan of Dracula or the horror genre this is a comic book to not miss out on.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10