“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
Day Men #1Publisher
Matt Gagnon, Michael Alan Nelson, and Brian Stelfreeze
Prior Experience With Title
None, but it is a new property so I’m pretty much in the same boat as everyone else. I read an interview in Bleeding Cool Magazine that it is about these individuals that act on behalf of the vampires during the day.
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
I was thinking about it the week prior but went in favor of All-New Aspen. Then I read on the internet that they were thinking of making this into a movie so I had to see what all the fuss was about. Luckily my Comic Shop still had one copy left considering the first issue is already gearing up for a second print.
“Each morning sees some task begun, each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, has earned a night’s repose.” The very first panel of this series is a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and it gets us in just the right mood for what is about to unfold. I admire how the issue opens, dropping us head first into this world, revealing little by little, and cleverly hiding the face of our main character, David Reid, until he kills the vampire and proclaims who he is in the quote-unquote heroic shot. The premise of the story is unique. Here we have a group of individuals called Day Men that look after the needs of the vampires during the time of day when they are unable to do it for themselves. We quickly meet his “human counterpart” inside the vampire family estate, Casey Kennedy, and the chemistry between the two of them is great. We get glimpses of some of the tasks he completes for the family before he heads to retrieve the family troublemaker, Nybor, from a “neutral territory” bar. Things are going really smooth until David finds him and realizes that Nybor has killed a rival family member belong to another vampire clan, the Ramses. David gets him out of there fairly quick not before encountering the Ramses’s Day Man that even vampires are nervous of. The whole scene is definitely a nice set up for an inevitable future confrontation between the two Day Men and the suspense and tension is done to perfection. After sidestepping that potential threat, David and Nybor manage to arrive at a safe house just in time to be greeted by a trio of Ramses family vampires. An epic action scene unfolds where Reid displays that his cane is the perfect weapon in fighting the undead by defanging one with his cane’s handle and killing that one and another with the end of his cane acting as a stake. The third one gets away but not before killing Nybor, signifying the official start of war between the two clans. The issue ends with Titus, the human champion of the House, addressing David. There is a hint that he is impressed that this single Day Man was able to kill two vampires but proclaims that this war between the families would span beyond all their mortal lives and that David better get used to this new world order now.
David Reid: Sometimes to protect those close to you, you have to venture into darkness.
David Reid: The day is a weakness to my employers. But they found a way to use the sun to their advantage. My name is David Reid. I’m one of the Day Men.
Casey Kennedy: The last guy never made me coffee.
David Reid: I guess the last guy didn’t have his priorities straight.
Casey Kennedy: The horrors of the night have nothing on a pissed-off accountant when Column A and Column B don’t add up.
Casey Kennedy: So…let’s talk about boats…they’re these seafaring constructions that float on water and don’t spontaneously burst into raging infernos.
David Reid: So if I’m understanding you correctly you’re saying that’s not normal.
David Reid: It takes all of one second to see these boys aren’t yokels being paid in beer money and lap dances.
David Reid: The Dark Room is populated with the dangerous and the desperate. All sharing the common desire to forget the world outside these walls. And a visceral hate for anything, or anyone, that reminds them of all they’ve lost in the world.
David Reid: Leave it to the Ramses to employ the only human I know that makes vampires nervous.
Kellen: Tell me about our new Day Man? Is he settling in?
Casey Kennedy: It’s only been five months, but yes, he’s adapting well. He’s…reliable. Competent. But young. Very young.
Kellen: What makes you say that?
Casey Kennedy: He’s still smiling.
David Reid: Did you know Paul Revere rode through here on his midnight ride? Right down this street.
Nybor: Great…history lessons from a…from a mortal…
David Reid: The whole discipline of fighting vampires is based on one core principle. Anticipation. Basic concept is this: when a receiver is in motion, a quarterback doesn’t throw where he is. He throws where he’s going to be.
Titus Parthicus: This will be a war we fight for centuries, long after you’re dead. The rest of your life–however long that is–will be spent defending the honor of the family. Understand this…you will spend the rest of your life bathed in blood.
Final Verdict: The art was great, the dialogue was snappy, and the first issue was highly enjoyable. I had to ask myself though “why did I get to the end of the issue and was not looking forward to the next?” I’ve come to the conclusion that while it was an interesting premise it looks like it is just going to devolve into a vampire VS vampire war which doesn’t interest me in the least. I thought maybe I was wrong but after looking at the solicitations my fears seem valid. A real shame in my opinion but I’ll have to keep an eye on this series as the months progress. Who knows, maybe I’ll pick up the trade paperback and be proven wrong but for the time being I’m going to have to Pass On This Series Going Forward.