BLOOD STAINED TEETH #10
Time’s run out for Atticus Sloane, but the Vampire-for-Hire is past caring. Now held up in Dr. Beverly Phelps’ underground hospital, he’s trapped in a last stand against the First Borns and choices have to be made...
Atticus Sloane, firstborn, self-involved vampire maker for hire, a right bastard that cares about no one but himself. Or is he? Over the course of this series Christian Ward and Patric Reynolds have painted that picture through the ongoing actions and drama that Atticus has gone through, Atticus the defiant self-involved First Born, that defies the oldest rules of vampiric society for the right price cause being immortal is expensive, very expensive. Now Atticus finds himself at a crossroads as the Pensmith assassin reveals her true nature and the council of First Born descends on Dr. Phelps’s hidden clinic. Atticus is faced with a choice…
Now before we get that choice, it’s important to look back over the entire ten issues that inform the ultimate choice that Atticus makes because really if you have been paying attention, he doesn’t just grow a conscience at the last minute, he’s always had one. Ward and Reynolds have used the dead Joey to reflect the better nature buried inside that brutal cold vampire First Born body over the entire series. Joey was always trying to make Atticus a better person, and ultimately he did, this is reflected in how Atticus interacts with Dr. Phelps and her people. However, at the dead Joey isn’t the catalyst. It’s the character of Alex Starr, who Ward and Reynolds have constantly had present, through posters, paintings and then ultimately the reveal in this issue as Atticus comes face to face with the living breathing Alex Starr. We learn why Atticus ultimately has a soft spot for Humankind, and finally makes the choice he makes. He’s still a bastard, but he’s a bastard that makes the right choice at the end because he has a love of humanity expressed through the character of Starr.
Another thing that Ward and the rest of the team have explored superbly in this series, particularly this second arc, is how the First Borns view humankind, yes we are cattle to them, but we are cattle they absolutely depend on because we facilitate the lifestyles they can have because of us. they drain us of blood AND our money through their corporate vampirism. Brother Stoker makes Phelps an offer to partner with her to profit off her research not once but twice, even though Phelps killed his own son proving just how cold-blooded Mr. Stoker can be as he sees an opportunity to enrich the vampire nation off of Dr. Phelps research. Ultimately the contrasting viewpoints of Dr. Phelps and her people and brother Stoker are expressed in a fantastic juxtaposition of words: We continue to bleed them dry. It’s a smart ending to the series from Ward and co that leaves the world they’ve created open to more exploration even as we say goodbye to Atticus and his part in it.
Blood-drenched, psychedelic neon painted modern vampire noir is the only way to describe the visuals. This issue continues that trend with heads being chopped off and other violence like the fate of the mouthy Mr. Tooth, contrasted with exploratory pages set in the past that reveal insights into our main character and several others. Patric Reynolds and Heather Moore bring us violent blood-spattered action and intimate moments of personal revelation drenched in Moore’s absolutely glorious over-the-top neons, while Otsmane-Elhaou continues the assault on your senses with brilliant, vibrant, and aggressive sound effects lettering that shows off why he is one of the best letterers in the business and really this entire series could be used as a study in how color and lettering can elevate the already brilliant line work from Reynolds to an absolutely sublime level. It’s a stellar finish to a series that has really taken the vampire noir trope and elevated it to a new level for modern readers.
The story of Atticus Sloane ends here, in the neon-drenched dawn of a new day, with a final issue that, in the end, gets to the core of its central characters through a fang-sharp script and bloody, beautifully colored art from an incredibly talented team of creators. Not to be missed by anyone who calls themselves a vampire genre fan.
BLOODSTAINED TEETH #10: The First Born and Alex Starr
- Writing - 9.8/109.8/10
- Storyline - 9.8/109.8/10
- Art - 9.8/109.8/10
- Color - 9.8/109.8/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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