I will admit, this series has started to give me doubts. As I pulled open the “My Books” page on the DC subscription website, I wondered if I might end up starting this post with a trite quote about the definition of insanity, or maybe go more novel and find a quote about masochism. Happily, neither is necessary as I believe that the comic is finally starting to find its feet and its groove.
First things first: the gorgeous water-color artwork from the stand-alone issue is gone, and the style from the first three chapters is back. This is disappointing, though decidedly expected. Characters are still questionable interpretations at best, but the dialogue is well written enough that we can keep track of who is who.
The story is where this issue shines and finally makes this feel like we’re firmly planted in the Vampire Diaries universe. What we have is a prequel chapter, set before the show begins, in the days where there is a Mystic Falls with humans other than Matt Donovan. We have a high-school party in the woods and we get cameos here from Bonnie and Tyler and I think I might have even seen Vicki. We also have an Elena whose parents are still alive. She’s the bit of a brat that we meet in the first season. It’s nice to see her because it reminds us of the arc her character has taken, from the girl who was so opposed to pretty much anything Damon aside from existing to the one who still wants to stand at his side, despite the revenge he’s been taking out on the Whitmore family.
In vampire land, we have Stefan returning to the Salvatore boarding house to check in on Mystic Falls. Zach is still alive and Stefan is currently not speaking to Damon as evidenced by Zach asking him “How’s your brother?” and he replies “Who?” It’s all works and feels right.
The stories start to merge as there seems to be a pack of vampires in the woods and it’s up to Stefan to figure out who they are and why they’re there.
At this point in the game I sense that not only will the comic and the show not merge, but they won’t even brush up against each other. If the comic continues in this direction though; with stories that feel natural for the setting and maybe fill in some things we didn’t know I’m okay with that.
This is the first issue that I’m comfortable saying buy it. It’s the first issue that I feel like will finally be truly satisfying to fans of the series. I hope it continues to stay this way.