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Review: Vampire: the Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth #1

Vampire: the Masquerade #1

The White Wolf/Onyx Path RPG Vampire: the Masquerade returns to comics courtesy of Vault, and this issue is a wonderful entry point into a complex world of alliances, hierarchies, and yes, bloodthirst. Tim Seeley, Devmalya Pramanik, and Addison Duke handle the lead story of Vampire: the Masquerade #1 focusing on Cecily Bain, who is muscle for a vampire clan in Minneapolis. However, she also has a fiercely independent streak and the tiniest trace of a soft side beneath her murderous, take no shit attitude. On the flip side is Tini Howard, Blake Howard, and Nathan Gooden’s backup story about the anarch, Colleen, who isn’t beholden to the Twin Cities power struggle and just wants to make sure her and her vampire buddies survive to the next day. It was really nice to get two incredibly different perspectives on this rich world, especially as a newcomer to the franchise. (My only real exposure to Vampire the Masquerade was in the Baphomet/Morrigan-centric issue of WicDiv even though the lore has always fascinated, and I picked up some of the RPG sourcebooks via Humble Bundle.)

Seeley and Pramanik set up Cecily as an anti-hero with a heart of gold in Vampire: the Masquerade #1’s opening story. She proves her ruthlessness by killing the clan accountant’s girlfriend (He’s just valuable enough.) in the opening scene, but then she shows tenderness with her sister Karen, who has dementia, and a new vampire, Ali. Pramanik with the help of colorist Addison Duke uses intense shadows to create intimacy in their visuals and hint that Cecily is strongly considering turning Karen into a vampire so she doesn’t have to deal with the pain of completely losing her and also that her youth is restored.

This concern for the weak continues to Ali, who was sired by an anonymous vampire and is clan-less drifter in a highly hierarchical world except this may not be the case thanks to some suspenseful silent sequences from Seeley and Pramanik. Visually, Devmalya Pramanik and Addison Duke lean into an industrial, post-punk vibe that hints at past “glory days” for Cecily and Karen and also hinting that Cecily might have a sense of nostalgia between her tough, get the job done veneer. Her interest in alternative culture and music does dovetail nicely with her refusal to be more of a company woman and just do her job for the Prince instead of getting the vampire clan equivalent of a desk job and lose some of her precious freedom. (And, by extension, a lack of prying eyes on Karen.)

In both stories, Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, and Blake Howard lean on characterization and easy-to-connect-with personal relationships instead of the deep Vampire the Masquerade lore to drive the story. Without the vampirism, Colleen and her band of anarchs (Basically, vampire without a cause.) could be young people with wanderlust that favor the open road instead of stable jobs and lifestyles. The character sheet for Colleen (And Cecily too, while we’re here.) adds real depth to her character and the messed up relationship with her husband/sire Mitch and also acts as a rare peek at the bottom of the author’s theoretical iceberg. The backup is a free spirit to the rigid structures that Cecily encounters in the main story, and Addison Duke uses a lighter palette because as a thin blood, Colleen can actually go out during the day. The Howards and Gooden’s story adds depth and perspective via a momentum-filled On the Road with vampires plotline instead of relying on boring exposition to show what life as another kind of vampire is like.

With two memorable leads and a focus on showing readers what it’s like in the universe instead of exhaustively explaining its rules, Vampire: the Masquerade #1 is an enjoyable read even if you’re not familiar with the RPG. The dual nature of immortality shows up a lot in the comic, but Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, Blake Howard, Devmalya Pramanik, Nathan Gooden, and basically Gothic set-dresser Addison Duke dive into other implications of being a vampire in this world like navigating bureaucracies and complicated interpersonal relationship. Hey, it sounds like the real world, but with hotter outfits, blood, and fangs.

Story: Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, Blake Howard
 Art: Devmalya Pramanik, Nathan Gooden
Colors: Addison Duke Letters: Andworld

Story: 7.9 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Vault Announces The Devil’s Red Bride from Sebastian Girner, John Bivens, Iris Monahan, and Jeff Powell

Vault Comics has announced The Devil’s Red Bride, a brutal samurai grindhouse epic by writer Sebastian Girner, rising star artist John Bivens, colorist Iris Monahan, and letterer Jeff Powell. Set in 16th century Japan, The Devil’s Red Bride is a blood-drenched love letter to Samurai fiction in a chilling tale of guilt, trauma, and vengeance.

The fates of warlords ebb and flow like tides of blood, none more than the Aragami Clan who follow their lord clad in the ‘Red Devil’ mask into every battle. But when Lord Aragami succumbs to illness, his daughter, the fierce Ketsuko, hatches a plot to save her people, no matter the cost…Years later, as Ketsuko wanders the heaving battlefields of her ruined homeland, she discovers a chance to avenge the terrible wrong done to her clan, even if it means stepping back onto a road steeped in slaughter.

16th century Japan. The fates of warlords ebb and flow like tides of blood, none more than the Aragami Clan who follow their lord clad in the ‘Red Devil’ mask into every battle. But when Lord Aragami succumbs to illness, his daughter, the fierce Ketsuko, hatches a plot to save her people, no matter the cost…

Years later, as Ketsuko wanders the heaving battlefields of her ruined homeland, she discovers a chance to avenge the terrible wrong done to her clan, even if it means stepping back onto a road steeped in slaughter. 

From writer Sebastin Girner (Shirtless Bear-Fighter!, Scales & Scoundrels) and artist John Bivens (Creature Feature, Spread) comes a blood-drenched love letter to Samurai fiction in a chilling tale of guilt, trauma, and vengeance.

The Devil’s Red Bride #1 hits store shelves in October 2020, and will launch with a variant cover by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel.

The Devil's Red Bride #1

Vampire: The Masquerade #1 Gets a Variant David Mack Cover

Vault has announced a set of new Vampire: The Masquerade #1 variant covers from legendary artist David Mack.

The gorgeous, painted piece by Mack will come in two different printed variants. The first, in a lush purple and blue, will be a standard, open order variant. The blood red version will be a special, deluxe variant, printed on thick card stock, with silver foiling and spot-gloss highlights, and will retail for $9.99.

Each issue of the Vampire: The Masquerade will include exclusive material for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition of the tabletop RPG from Modiphius Entertainment. These materials enable readers to play alongside the unfolding comic events in their own in-game chronicles.

Sink your teeth into the hidden world of vampires, ghouls, and hunters who live in the shadows and scheme among us. In the comic series, Cecily Baine, an enforcer for the Twin Cities’ elite cabal of Kindred (vampires), takes a mysterious young vampire under her wing and is swept up in a conspiracy that can shake the foundations of vampire society. 

Vampire: The Masquerade is co-written by Tim SeeleyTini Howard, and Blake Howard, with art by Devmalya Pramanik and Nathan Gooden, with colors by Addison Duke, letters by AndWorld Design, design by Tim Daniel, and covers by Aaron CampbellNathan Gooden, and David Mack. The first issue will hit store shelves on August 5th, 2020.

When Cecily Brine, a courier for the Twin Cities Camarilla, takes a mysterious younger vampire under her wing, she’s dragged into an insidious conspiracy. Will she be able to escape with her unlife and protect her aging, Alzheimer’s afflicted sister, or will she be yet another pawn sacrificed to the Masquerade?

Meanwhile, an Anarch coterie investigates a mysterious killing.

Vault Announces, a Black Magic Espionage Series from Cavan Scott and Corin M. Howel

Vault Comics has announced Shadow Servicea dark and magical new series co-created by writer Cavan Scott and artist Corin M. Howell, with colors by Triona Farrell, letters by Andworld Design, and design by Tim Daniel.

Worried your partner is cheating? Need a missing person found? Gina Meyers is the Private Investigator for you. Sure, she’s a witch who worries that her powers make her more of a monster than the crooks she’s trying to catch, but it’s not like London’s criminal underworld is literally going to hell… is it? This is Shadow Service. Spy craft meets black magic in the shadowy world of MI666.

Shadow Service#1 hits store shelves in July 2020, and will debut with a Pulp & Paint B cover by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel.

Shadow Service #1

Vault Comics Announces Giga by Alex Paknadel,John Lê, Rosh, and Aditya Bidikar

Vault Comics has revealed Gigaan epic new sci-fi series co-created by writer Alex Paknadel and artist John Lê, with colors by Rosh, letters by Aditya Bidikar, and design by Tim Daniel.

Nobody knows why the skyscraper-sized mechs known as ‘Giga’ fought their bitter, centuries’ long war. All they know is that when the fighting finally stopped, the dormant Giga became humanity’s new habitat and new gods in one. When disgraced engineer Evan Calhoun finds an apparently murdered Giga, his society and the fascistic tech-centered religious order that controls it are rapidly thrown into chaos.

Giga #1 hits store shelves in the summer of 2020, and will debut with a Vault Vintage B cover by Nathan Gooden & Tim Daniel, that pays homage to  Herb Trimpe‘s iconic cover to Shogun Warriors #1, published by Marvel Comics.

Giga #1

Vampire: The Masquerade Comes to Comics from Tim Seeley, Tini & Blake Howard, Devmalya Pramanik, Nathan Gooden, Addison Duke, Aaron Campbell, and Vault

Vault Comics has announced that they have partnered with Paradox Interactive to publish the official Vampire: The Masquerade comic book series. The first comic in the series will be available for purchase from comics retailers across the US in July 2020. The comic is co-written by Tim SeeleyTini Howard, and Blake Howard, drawn by Devmalya PramanikNathan Gooden, and colored by Addison Duke, with covers by Aaron Campbell.

From the internationally bestselling World of Darkness universe, Vault brings readers an official Vampire: The Masquerade comic series. Sink your teeth into the hidden world of vampires, ghouls, and hunters who live in the shadows and scheme among us. In the comic series, Cecily Baine, an enforcer for the Twin Cities’ elite cabal of Kindred (vampires), takes a mysterious young vampire under her wing and is swept up in a conspiracy that can shake the foundations of vampire society.

Each issue will include exclusive material for Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition of the tabletop RPG from Modiphius Entertainment. These materials enable readers to play alongside the unfolding comic events in their own chronicles.

Vampire The Masquerade #1

Vault Announces Engineward, a New Series from George Mann, Joe Eisma, Michael Garland, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Vault Comics has announced Engineward, a zodiac-inspired, twelve-issue science-fantasy comic series written by George Mann, drawn by Joe Eisma, colored by Michael Garland, lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and designed by Tim Daniel.

In Engineward, Earth is an ancient myth, long forgotten. Now, the god-like Celestials, who embody the surviving zodiac signs, rule with brutal efficiency. When Joss, an Engineward, discovers and reactivates the head of a fossilized Ghoulem, she learns all is not as intended. Her destiny—and the truth about her imperious rulers—lies somewhere far beyond the borders of her shantytown.

Every issue of Engineward will feature a special “Zodiac Cover” drawn by Joe Eisma and designed by Tim Daniel that portrays one of the twelve Celestials of Engineward, released according to the zodiac calendar and the sign they represent.

Engineward #1 debuts with a Pulp & Paint B cover variant by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel. It hits store shelves in June 2020.

Engineward #1

Bleed Them Dry is a Ninja Vampire Tale

Vault Comics has announced, Bleed Them Dry: A Ninja Vampire Tale, a new comic series created in association with Lotus, Nagoya TV, and F.J. DeSanto. Created by Hiroshi Koizumi, written by Eliot Rahal, drawn by Dike Ruan, colored by Miquel Muerto, and designed by Tim DanielBleed Them Dry weaves Japanese and Western mythology together to create a deep-future sci-fi epic about Detective Harper Halloway, who’s been tasked with capturing an insidious killer: Someone targeting our immortal brethren, the Vampires that have been living beside us peacefully for centuries.

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.

Bleed Them Dry #1 will release with a B cover variant by Nathan Gooden. It hits store shelves on June 24th, 2020.

Bleed Them Dry #1

Vault Announces Hundred Wolves by Myke Cole and Tony Akins

Vault Comics has announced Hundred Wolves, a historically inspired fantasy comic series co-created by award-winning novelist Myke Cole and master artist Tony Akins, with colors Vladimir Popov, letters by Jim Campbell, and designed by Tim Daniel.

Hundred Wolves is set during the Siege of Vienna in 1683. Andrei and Oksana have left the Cossack band to raise their daughter on a farm they hold from the noble Count Ostoja, but the raiding life isn’t done with them. Both the Hundred Wolves and the couple’s new liege lord wish to employ their deadly skills—and neither will take no for an answer.

The full synopsis of HUNDRED WOLVES can be found below: 

The Hundred Wolves are bloody-handed terrors of the steppe. Andrei and Oksana have left the Cossack band to raise their daughter on a farm they hold from the noble Count Ostoja, but the raiding life isn’t done with them. Both the Hundred Wolves and the couple’s new liege lord wish to employ their deadly skills—and neither will take no for an answer. From celebrated author Myke Cole (The Sacred Throne Trilogy, The Shadow Ops Trilogy) and venerable artist Tony Akins (Fables, Hellblazer, Wonder Woman) comes a story of war and family, blending historical fiction with a touch of fantasy.

Hundred Wolves #1 will hit store shelves in April 2020. The first issue will drop with a special Pulp & Paint variant cover by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel.

Hundred Wolves #1

Vault Announces Finger Guns from Justin Richards, Val Halvorson, Rebecca Nalty, and Taylor Esposito

Vault Comics has announced Finger Guns, a new comic book series written by Justin Richards, drawn by Val Halvorson, colored by Rebecca Nalty, lettered by Taylor Esposito, and designed by Tim Daniel.

In Finger Guns, two troubled teenagers discover they can manipulate emotions by firing finger guns. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be uncomfortable teen feelings and angst. Oh yeah.. And chaos. So much chaos.

Finger Guns #1 will hit store shelves in February 2020. The first issue will drop with it’s own Pulp & Paint variant cover by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel.

Finger Guns #1
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