Story: Eliot Rahal
Art: Dike Ruan
Colors: Miguel Muerto
What They Say:
The year is 3333. Earth is in a state of recovery. Vampires are real, and though far less populous, they thrive alongside humans in the Japanese-engineered mega-city known as Asylum. People have come to understand that some Immortals are good, some are bad, and most navigate the world without incident. There is peace. That is…until now. Someone is brutally murdering vampires. And Detective Harper Halloway has been assigned to the case. To solve it, she’ll have to unearth a much deeper truth: The future of humanity has been edited.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I’d gotten into a number of Vault Comics works a year or so ago and was definitely glad to see a new series cross my desk. Eliot Rahal has written a number of works I’ve liked so seeing something new from him on this front was a big plus as he’s a solid writer with some strong dialogue scenes that never feel too verbose. For this series, he’s teamed up with Dike Ruan on the artwork and it’s my first time seeing their work. Ruan’s got some really good style here and I get the sense that they’ve grown up in the age of both anime/manga and comics being blended more in the artwork so there are a lot of neat visual cues here, largely in the backgrounds, but also in the framing of scenes that feels a bit more out of Japan. But there’s so much strong character design elements here that feel far more Western grounded that bringing them together in the year 3333 definitely fits together right.
The series takes place in the city-state of Asylum, a place where it’s made for those that have lost homes elsewhere and built up generations of people since then. In this future, there are a limited number of people who have taken the path of becoming immortal that are quietly called vampires because of their need for blood to survive. One can imagine how problematic resources are this far into the future and we get a few nods with that which in turn explains why there are few of these immortals overall. This installment involves showing us one of them, a renowned prosecutor, having been killed by a whispered vampire slayer and that’s starting up a whole panic within the city. As our lead detective Harper Holloway says, there’s no way of knowing how the immortals will react and how much blame will go to your average human for the actions of a singular one that caused this. The death of an immortal makes for a super high profile case and that makes everything she and her partner, detective Atticus Black – also an immortal – placed under a microscope.
The book gives us some standard cop fare here in the angry chief yelling at them, the city breathing down his neck, all the usual stuff that I’ll admit feels even more out of place in the here and now. That said, it focuses more on Harper as she’s dealing with a number of issues of her own health and wellbeing that gets interrupted by her partner, through his contacts on the low, revealing who was behind the murder and bringing him in. The oddness to the flow captures Harper’s reactions perfectly and that it leads into more revelations and twists at the end, that look to really alter her life as well, is exciting as I want to see how she copes with it going forward if it’s as bad as it looks. There’s a lot of chaos in the final act of the book that serves it well as a great hook for coming back for more.
While Bleed Them Dry doesn’t tick off an extensive list of things that I like, it does hit a number of them and it’s easy to be drawn into it. I want to see more of this world that Rahal and Ruan have crafted in order to understand how it and the city-state of Asylum works and to see more of its people. I’m definitely craving more of both Harper and Atticus to understand their dynamic and deeper stories. It’s the kind of series that starts off strong and while just a little too packed/chaotic at the end does it in a way that will definitely make you want to see more of it. it felt like it needed an extra page or two in order to smooth it out just a bit more. But that said, it’s a solid launching point that’s definitely worth checking out.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Vault Comics
Release Date: June 24th, 2020