Comics Eye: Dynamite Comics New Dark Shadows Very Disappointing

For those of us who dare to admit to it, we all remember watching a certain television show on ABC back in the late 60's that was a combination of Soap Opera, Gothic Horror and (at that time anyway) quite suspenseful.

The show was Dark Shadows, and after a few years of floundering on ABC, it rose to the top of the weekday afternoon schedule, with some help from a certain older Collins family member. Just when we though that the show was going to be gone from the afternoon television line up, enter a 200 year old "Distant Cousin" from the English side of the Collins Family...one Barnabas Collins.

I'm not going to bore the rest of you with the details of how actor Jonathan Frid became a household name with his portrayal of the reluctant 200 year old vampire. The latest adaptation of the series "Dark Shadows" is being undertaken by Dynamite Comics, and even though all of the main characters of the Collins family seem to be here so far, unfortunately the comic is just weak in every respect.

The story thus far is that Angelique, the witch responsible for placing the curse of vampirism on Barnabas Collins in the first place is trying to come back to life, and in order to do so she's using every member of the Collins family (except maybe for David thus far) in order to do it.

If you're not familiar with the history of the series, then your not going to be able to appreciate the comic in the first place, and if you are a long time fan (like I am) then you're going to feel like a cheap date that writer Stuart Manning is trying to bed very quickly.

Manning is trying to move the story along so quickly that there's simply no build up to the event (Angelique's return to the land of the living) that makes any sense to me at least. In the first issue we are presented with the usual scene of Barnabas Collins being given his treatment of shots to stave off the vampiric curse by his "friend" Dr. Julia Hoffman. Obviously if you're familiar with the series you know that Julia looks upon Barnabas as more than just a friend, and over the years their friendship has sometimes been quite tenuous.

The locals in town are of course scared because there are rumours of an animal attacking people in the woods and around other areas of the sleepy little town of Collinsport, Maine...and of course Julia thinks that Barnabas may be responsible for the attacks that are happening because of the tell tale puncture wounds on the necks of the victims...the mark of the vampire.

Anyway, on top of the story moving along a bit too fast, the artwork by Aaron Campbell just isn't doing it for me. Sorry, but it's actually horrid, and it's an injustice to the portrayal of the characters they are meant to represent, and the covers aren't that hot either.

It's too bad because as a long time Dark Shadows fan, I was really looking forward to a great comic and unfortunately it looks like I'm still going to have to wait for a great Dark Shadows comic to come along, because this one certainly is not it.

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