LITTLE MONSTERS #1
They are the last children on Earth…who also happen to be vampires. For longer than they can remember, these child vampires have lived a life of eternal wonder amongst the ruins of humanity. But shocking events fracture the group and set them on a path of discovery that will shatter their innocence forever.
I like vampire stories and I like dystopian future stories so when I read the press for Little Monsters it was like catnip… an irresistible combination of some of my favorite fictional flavors served in one delicious dish by two masterful comic book chefs. Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen are a creative team perfectly at ease with each other (several years together on Descender and Ascender has seen to that) and so there’s absolutely no push-pull between art and writing just a perfect symmetry, a beautiful dance if you will that makes for a perfect introduction to the series.
We get to meet a large chunk of the primary cast. A group of vampiric children living in the ruins of a city after an, as yet, unspecified apocalyptic event, spending endless nights in the hazy ennui of childish games like capture the flag, stupid pranks, surviving on the blood of rats, and generally getting on each other’s nerves as children or any group of people that has been stuck in the same routine can. It’s an interesting conceit Lemire presents us within that while all the characters we meet are children, they’ve lived more than a hundred years in the place we find them, having been made and left there by another being referred to as “The Elder” who will no doubt return at some point. The interesting part is that all the children seem to have kept their childish innocence…devoid of any truly “Adult” influence have simply stayed children in their behavior…there are no Claudia’s (yes that’s an Anne Rice reference) and that’s a fascinating idea…preternatural innocence preserved by the fact that the only living creatures around them are the other children and the rats of course.
Lemire brilliantly fleshes out personalities in short thrift through familiar comfortable dialogue, bringing all these children to life effortlessly is flawless. By the end of 26 pages, you have a feel for nearly the whole cast in one way or another and I already feel connected to some through the writing. It’s an interesting mix of younger children and older early teens by the look of things. Especially happy to see a nonbinary character be part of the cast in the form of the ever scavenging for crayons Romie. The cliffhanger ending actually begins after all the introductions when Billy who seems to be a central figure in the group goes looking for Romie as dawn approaches. Billy is the voice of curiosity here, he’s bored with over 100 years of the same routines and wants something new. What’s that saying though? Be careful what you wish for as Billy comes across a startling surprise at the end of the book. It’s a brilliant read that brings up so many questions about the nature of these children and how it will be tested when change is introduced into their lives. I cant wait to see how Lemire explores this in the issues to come.
Dustin Nguyen eschews the pastel-colored shades of his regular work in other books aside from the cover which has the characters in color. It’s a 95 percent black and white comic twilight world punctuated by the occasional pop of color. That color is mostly red ( which works very well at reminding us what these children are) backgrounds are sharp black jutting shadows of a city in ruins contrasted against white foregrounds under the full moon’s light. This works marvelously well to set the mood and show us the ruined world these immortal children live and play in. It’s unmistakably Nguyen’s style but the choice to limit the color palette makes it feel completely different from his other work in things like Descender and stamps it with a darker atmospheric feeling. Steve Wands as usual is perfection in the lettering department.
Little Monsters #1 is a perfect opening issue that seamlessly marries Lemire's smart, sharp, and to the point script with Nguyen's moody choices in look and feel for a brilliant establishing shot of an apocalyptic world where immortal children play endlessly in the moonlit ruins of a fallen society night after night waiting for the return of the one that made them. Compelling in the ideas it posits and the questions that it will raise on the horizon, Little Monsters #1 is a perfect first issue.
LITTLE MONSTERS #1: The Children at the End of the World
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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