Review: Dark Shadows: Year One #1
The origin of Dark Shadows, finally revealed! How did Barnabas Collins become a bloodthirsty vampire? What tragedies befell the Collins family through the generations? All it took was one night of weakness, and Barnabas cursed his family — and himself — forever! The twisted tale of one of pop culture’s most iconic and enduring vampires begins here!
Dark Shadows fans are getting a new comic looking at the origin of Barnabas Collins. The story is written by Marc Andreyko and features illustrations from Guiu Vilanova. Josan Gonzalez provides colors and Troy Peteri tackles lettering. It seems like Year One stories are all the rage, but is Dark Shadows one that’s worth the special treatment?
The story opens with a wedding. It’s Barnabas Collins’ wedding day and he’s not that happy. We flash back a few weeks prior to see why. Barnabas is in a pub with his uncle Jeremiah when the beautiful Angelique bumps into our young antagonist. The two have a quick chat and then rendezvous in Angelique’s boudoir. Barnabas, who is engaged to another woman, realizes the encounter is a mistake and runs out of the room during the night. Barnabas is struck with guilt, but his uncle writes it off as a little bachelor party debauchery. Barnabas gets some comfort knowing he’ll probably never see the woman again. Barnabas’ fiancé arrives at the wealthy Collins estate with her family and handmaiden. You guessed it, Angelique is his betrothed’s handmaiden. Angelique wants Barnabas, but he’s having no part of it. This leads to a bizarre group of events occurring where Jeremiah challenges Barnabas for his fiancé’s hand and Barnabas’ sister falls deathly ill with a fever. Something is behind the strange occurrences, and Angelique says she can stop them if Barnabas marries her. Barnabas is faced with a tough decision. Can he do it? Will he break his fiancé’s heart? If you are a fan of the show, you probably know the answer.
Andreyko writes a solid script. He stays true to the TV show when it comes to Barnabas’ story. Fans can rest easy knowing it’s more in line with the show than the stinker that was the recent movie. Andreyko hits all the major points and makes a very compelling character with Barnabas. Vilanova does a good job with the art. He uses a lot of dark, bold lines and shadows. All the characters, especially Barnabas, are very recognizable and pretty close to screen accurate. Gonzalez’s colors work well with the story. He uses darker tones and an almost pastel pallet.
Bottom Line: This series should easily please Dark Shadows fans. As someone whose knowledge of Dark Shadows is based on the recent movie and a few episodes of the TV show, it seems to fit in perfectly with the latter’s style. There’s enough her to appease the old fans and an interesting story to draw in new readers. It’s a solid first issue, but it doesn’t knock your socks off. There’s more than enough to warrant a return trip though. 3.5/5