In my last review of Dracula: The Company of Monsters, I suggested that the series was better served by a limited run as opposed to being an ongoing comic. Someone at Boom! Studios must have had a similar notion, because the series is now poised to end at issue 12. Fortunately, writers Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory have set the stage for an exciting finale with the penultimate issue of the storyline.
Thanks to the machinations of our protagonist, Evan; the forces of Dracula and Evan's insane Uncle Conrad have been tricked into meeting in a climatic battle that spans the entire issue. To complicate matters, Evan has also made a deal with Marta and her vampire hunters to eliminate the survivors. All in all, it's a pretty good plan by Evan, who has alternately been used as a pawn by all three sides prior to this.
To a certain extent, Evan's motives are starting to come in question. Out of the entire cast, Evan definitely seems to have the most humanity; even if he isn't exactly hero material. In the previous issues, Evan learned that Dracula's powers are derived from the devil himself and that Dracula is destined to start the Apocalypse on Earth, If Evan is trying to stop that, he's automatically the hero. However, Evan has now lied to and manipulating the vampire hunters who would have likely sided with him anyway; which leads me to believe that he's possibly planning a third double cross. Evan also demonstrates a magic based ability that may indicate that he's no longer human himself.
By the end of the issue, Evan literally has to decide whether he should kill Dracula and stop the Apocalypse or kill Conrad for destroying his life. And Evan only has one shot to do it with. It's a tough call to place the fate of the world over personal vengeance and it isn't clear what Evan decides in the final cliffhanger. Knowing that the next issue will finish the story, this is the best hook that the series has used to date. We're going to get a conclusion one way or another.
While the battle between Dracula and Conrad is very strong, some of the issue suffers during the war between their minions in the woods. It's hard to care when characters we haven't really met before are taking up page space to fight each other. The artist, Scott Godlewski is sometimes inconsistent with his figure work, but there are at least a few exciting pages when the forest itself is used to attack the vampires. However, I'm not a big fan of Godlewski's cartoonish style. It works for Conrad and Dracula, but their respective minions are almost interchangeable except for their period clothing.
One of the best interlude moments comes when Evan's would-be love interest, Marta comes face-to-face with his fiancée turned vampire Corinna. The dialog there is particularly good and it's potentially a good hero sequence for Marta if she survives.
Issue 11 may not be the best starting point for Dracula: The Company of Monsters. But this has been a consistently entertaining series and I'm eager to see how Busiek and Gregory wrap it up.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5/10