(Dynamite Entertainment, 2015)
Writer: Troy Brownfield
Art: Kewber Baal
Colors: Kirsty Swan
Letters: Marshall Dillon
The blood soaked epic featuring The Blood Queen and the Prince of Darkness continues in Blood Queen Vs Dracula #2, the new four-part horror / fantasy mini-series from Dynamite, written by Troy Brownfield and illustrated by Kewber Baal, with colors by Kirsty Swan, and lettered by Marshall Dillon, brings these two horror icons together as Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory confront each other for the first time. Get ready for the sparks, and no doubt copious amounts of blood, to fly, but with their common enemy rising in the Ottoman Empire, can Elizabeth and Dracula set aside their differences, or will their own war and bloodlust consume them both?
Intrigued by the dark supernatural fables about the Blood Queen from the kingdom of Varanno, Dracula traveled to castle Nadasdy to discover the truth about the Queen for himself. With his bloodlust heightened after drinking the blood of a young woman, Leandra, whose blood seethed with violent magic and energy, Dracula made his way inside the castle where he encountered the Blood Queen as she bathed in the blood of virgins.
In this second issue writer Troy Brownfield continues to mix new themes and classic horror elements as Dracula faces the full majesty of the Blood Queen, and it would appear Elizabeth has been expecting a visit from the Prince of Darkness. This initial meeting between Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory is charged with menace and desire. The Blood Queen attempts to use her mesmerizing allure to entrance Dracula; he is impressed by her boldness, but is not as susceptible to her charms as any mere mortal would be.
The air positively sizzles between them as their verbal sparing continues, and it’s fascinating to watch as they sense out each other’s strengths, desires, and weaknesses. For all the Queen’s mystical power and Dracula’s vaunted immortal might, neither has been able to defeat their mutual enemy, and soon a dark alliance is forged to deal with the Ottoman Empire and their magic wielding Sihirbaz. However, their schemes have not gone unnoticed. In an Ottoman encampment, General Serhani’s brother, Burak who is a Sihirbaz, has cast a scrying spell and discovered the Blood Queen’s pact with the Son of the Dragon, and together the brothers hatch a plot to end this heinous conspiracy and seek vengeance for the death of their father.
Troy Brownfield really builds the suspense and intrigue with this issue as the various plots and schemes unfold. The chemistry between The Blood Queen and Dracula is electric. I love the scenes where they are taunting and goading each other, while no blood is shed their words cut deep, especially when Dracula mocks Elizabeth for the minor kingdoms she has taken; for which the Blood Queen promptly counters by questioning the Vampires power and vision for taking nearly two years to delay the Ottoman advance. We also learn a great deal more about the Ottoman Empire and the pivotal role the Sihiraz have played in the conflict.
Kewber Baal sumptuously illustrates Blood Queen Vs Dracula #2, every page is lavished with detail, and the various locations are all exquisitely rendered giving a real sense of the period and characters that inhabit it. This first meeting between Dracula and the Blood Queen is an erotically charged encounter, where Elizabeth rises from her bath to greet the Prince of Darkness, her body glistening with blood before she uses her magic to conjure attire more befitting her regal stature for her impromptu audience with Dracula. The scenes at the Ottoman encampment are also finely detailed, with the General and his brother using the spell cast to witness events unfolding between The Blood Queen and Dracula at castle Nadasdy. The colors by Kirsty Swan are rich and vibrant throughout: warmer tones infuse the scenes between Dracula and The Blood Queen with seething undercurrents of power and desire, while cooler, subtler textures accentuate the moments of drama at the Ottoman encampment, as shimmering magical forces are harnessed, and the battle in the forest towards the end is steeped in velvety shadows and hot arterial spray.
While a company of the Blood Queen’s personal guard escort Dracula and two of her students on the their journey to introduce The Prince of Darkness to Elizabeth’s husband, Sir Fernec, betrayal and treachery strikes, and those who seek to destroy him will soon know the wrath of Dracula and suffer eternal damnation for their folly.
Blood Queen Vs Dracula #2 is a great issue of this new Dynamite mini-series, Troy Brownfield’s excellent storyline keeps the pace of this tightly plotted issue in check, giving the plot and characters time to develop, and the superb artwork by Kewber Baal refines every moment of suspense and violent bloodletting perfectly. This new Dynamite mini-series continues to impress and go from strength to strength, I’d certainly recommend it, and I look forward to seeing what the next scintillating encounter between The Blood Queen and Dracula will hold.
Paul Bowler is a self-Confessed Sci-Fi Geek, Doctor Who fan, and Zombie Disposal Expert. He likes movies, comic books, and all things PS3. He likes to write about his interests, would love to write a novel one day, and also enjoys chatting to the many people he has gotten to know on Twitter. When he’s not busy being an Impossible Astronaut, he likes to take a break from his adventures in time and space to enjoy some of his favorite TV shows and movies, preferably with a nice cuppa tea & a sandwich! You can follow him on Twitter @paul_bowler, or find him at his website, Sci-Fi Jubilee.