Writer: Chris Roberson
Art: Michael Allred
Guest Art: Gilbert Hernandez (#12)
Colors: Laura Allred
Letters: Todd Klein
Rating: 7.5/10 Chimps
This weekend’s read had me shambling back to Oregon in search of some good grey matter with the second volume of iZombie, uVampire, from Chris Roberson. Last time I had visited the city of Eugene, Oregon, our main character Gwen and friends had just watched their monster trio grow as mummies, vampires, and monster hunters were starting to go bump in the night now as well. The first volume of issues really left you wondering where it was going to go next. Spoilers ahead.
uVampire spends a lot more time than it’s previous volume jumping from character to character, eventually leading to connections to other’s situations in the story. Spot opens up about his backstory and lets us know about his life growing up with hid grandpa as well as how he became a were-terrier. As the relationship between him and his pop-pop slowly deteriorated over the year, Spot finds himself a surprising second chance to reconnect after his grandfather dies and his soul gets stuck in the body of a chimp. Figuring out how to get a soul unstuck from one body is a tough challenge but thankfully Ellie’s story comes into play for this. Our favorite Ghost Girl is feeling tied down in Eugene, only able to go to places she has memories of. With a little helpful teaching from the gang’s newest acquaintance and mummy, Amon, she learns that she can possess bodies to get out and see the world.
As for the bulk of the story plot happening in this volume, Gwen, Amon, the vampires, and the monster hunters are our primary viewpoints for the action and intrigue. When Gwen finally chops down on a new brain after some time spent intermittent fasting, she is shocked to discover that the brain she ate belonged to someone who knew her as a child and has memories of Gwen that she has been slowly losing. Between date nights with Horatio (the younger monster hunter), Gwen sets out to look for her old childhood friend at Oregon University to learn more about herself and resolve the mother’s, whose brain she ate, last wishes in reconciling with her daughter. Across campus, Amon the mummy discovers an old acquaintance from his past is working there and is up to some shady operations. While the nature of what she is really up to currently isn’t completely revealed, we do know that she wants to summon a Cthulhu-esque creature that could do destroy the world. So, probably nothing good.
Finally, we get to the vampires in this breakdown. Being as the title of the volume is uVampire, I thought that the plot would have heavily focused on them but not so. After their first run in and slaying of the vampire that was killing the locals (Claire, who is not dead now), Horatio and his partner Diogenes get into a back and forth with the local vampires who decide to be diplomatic and seek a truce in exchange for information on the other ghosts and ghouls running around Eugene. We get a back story into how all these girls became bloodsuckers thanks to Claire and potentially see their club on campus grow a little bigger after the loss of some members.
Overall, the read was fairly enjoyable though not as strong as the first I think. uVampire continues where the first volume began in setting up more of the plot while not entirely paying anything off just yet. More characters are introduced like Spot’s grandpa whose soul is stuck in a chimp, Galatea, who seems to have the overarching master plan, Gwen’s childhood friend Tricia, and Gavin, Gwen’s younger brother. Like a zombie shambling through the streets, this story is in no rush to get where it’s going. Instead, it takes its time so you get to really follow along with our characters and see the lives they live and how they have to due to the various fangs or tails they might have.
Returning to a series that has the Allred’s on art is a refreshing welcome after some time away. The soft but colorful palette Laura Allred uses for this run has such a big nostalgia hit on me as it takes me back to the days of watching Scooby-Doo as a kid. The colors just scream that a mystery is about to be uncovered. That doesn’t mean they can’t also lend to the spooky and sometimes grotesque visuals Michael draws when Gwen does her brain-eating thing. There was only one spot I was confused on with the art and lettering towards the back half of the read when Horatio is talking with the Vampires, the lead vampire seems to be talking from another.
Secret agendas, missing memories, and, what some would call a man who voiced a chimp stuck in the body of one irony, uVampire continues to do its monster mash as it expands the world and the lives of the characters we follow. Without peeking ahead, things definitely seem like they could be coming to convergence with all these plots. I for one find that to potentially be some good upcoming brain food. If you are a fan of some Allred art or love some monster-themed stories in the modern-day, then don’t let iZombie uVampire stay buried in your to be read pile for forever.