Tuesday, 28 May 2013

STEVE NILES AND MENTON3'S TRANSFUSION

Transfusion is a haunting post-apocalyptic tale, of a world inhabited by a few surviving humans, the giant robots they created, sort of like Fred Saberhagen's Beserkers, but who use human blood as fuel, and the vampires who need to save the humans from the robots for their own purposes. It opens with a group of humans being led to a small patch of corn, which we discover is bait, but before they can be harvested by vampires, robots attack, setting the stage for a complicated triangle of blood lust.

I say blood lust, but Steve Niles' story is really more about survival—and the art, by Menton3, emphasizes this brilliantly. Everything is washed out, in the tired shades of faded life. The bodies are skeletal, already ghost-like, as if haunted. There are elements of Weimar Germany's expressionism (think Nosferatu) and a few hints at Frank Kline's abstract expressionism too. But the way the vampires are drawn is itself unusual: their multiple needle-like teeth are less Nosferatu and more as if they were wearing some sort of Clive Barker fetish masks, they carry a real sense of desperation, almost helplessness.

The story otherwise proceeds as a learning process, whereby William, the vampire leading the humans in the opening sequence, is saved by, and needs to cooperate with, two humans in order for them all to survive. And when the major twist is revealed, and we learn why the robots are powered by blood, we realise why both humans and vampires are indeed haunted. I Transfusion reads to me like the script (and the additional material in the book includes some of Niles' script) for a particularly good episode of the Twilight Zone, and the art makes it look like a masterpiece of direction. A vampire story that's far more Twilight Zone than Twilight is nothing to sneer at these days, and Transfusion is an impressive piece of work.

t's not a happy ending, per se, but that's the point.

Transfusion
written by Steve Niles, art by Menton3 with Tony Moy
IDW $17.99 ISBN 9781613775998

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