Pat Mills Continually Surprises in Requiem Vampire Knight
Everyone knows Pat Mills, the founder of 2000AD and the writer of diverse classics such as Slaine and ABC Warriors. Mills crafts accessible, dynamic characters and Requiem Vampire Knight continues this trend. Originally available for the French market, Requiem is now available through Comixology. Requiem is undoubtedly some of the best horror writing I have ever read. It possesses layers of satirical humor laced with potent, extravagant violence that punctuates each page.
Heinrich has served the Fatherland faithfully. He fully embraces the concepts both politically and spiritually of National Socialism. It has been the salvation of his people and there is nothing he would not do for the cause. But Heinrich has a dark secret which overshadows his patriotic soul. He has fallen in love with a beautiful Jewish girl. He has sown his Germanic seed inside the enemy of his people and he is filled with self-loathing and guilt. However, his soul still burns with the passions of love.
Requiem Vampire Knight opens with Henrich dying on the Eastern Front. His striking face and the white snow accentuate the deep red blood leaking from a fatal wound inflicted by the Marxist Russian army. His thoughts drift to Rebecca, his one true love. This is a love which should not be but is none the less. Dying, he barely perceives a Russian soldier lift a portrait of Rebecca and contemptuously infer a coarse sexual reference. This relationship is a greater blasphemy than that of the Bolshevik army sweeping away the glorious German army. With the last of his strength, Heinrich reaches out and snatches the sacred portrait. Finally, he received a bullet to the head, killing him instantly.
The reader travels with Heinrich through his death to his resurrection in Hell. Here, he promptly massacres zombies who have been looting corpses with a weapon that shoots metal stakes. Keep an eye out for Tepess (Vlad the Impaler). Heinrich then saves a vampire captain of the Resurrection corps. At this point, it’s revealed that Henrich is a vampire too and we witness his training and his rebirth as Requiem.
This story has gallons of action, mixed with a little pathos and satirical, wiry humor. We have completely grotesque characters interacting with even more insanely grotesque characters. The first volume builds a series of memorable protagonists and backstories. The conflicts between the groups of characters as they interact with each other becomes addictive. The reader turns each page wanting more, greedily thirsting for the next series of panels and more rich, catchy, intelligent dialogue. However, the main characters possess few redeeming characteristics. The protagonist is relatable but he was a Nazi, the bastard.
Oliver Ledroit’s art is incredible. The digital format is very impressive as you can zoom in on the detail. It’s rich, evocative, disturbing, and instantly iconic. Every page challenges the eye of the reader. The characters are given a vivid quality and there are some fantastic choices of color. Each panel matches the tone of the narrative perfectly. The lettering is dynamic and clear making this collection easy to read and follow.
This first volume of Requiem Vampire Knight will capture your mind and corrupt your heart. You will instantly reach out and consume the next volume. This is a classic in Mills’ repertoire and a very different side to the creator of Slaine and ABC Warriors. I found myself drawn into the hellish, inverted universe of Requiem Vampire Knight. Watching the protagonist interact with historical characters such as Dracula and Aleister Crowley was a highlight of this volume for me. Be sure to check it out!
Are you looking forward to reading Requiem Vampire Knight this week? Let us know in the comments!
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