Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen take readers into the world of vampire children in Little Monsters #1, a deep and brooding issue that’s sure to entertain.
Sometimes people wish they could go back to their youth when the choices were simple and the responsibilities didn’t distract them from their dreams. However, these notions are foreign to a herd of vampires stuck in eternal childhood, who have made post-apocalyptic Los Angeles their personal Neverland. The talented Eisner award-winning team of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen produced some of the most critically acclaimed titles, including the sci-fi space opera Descender and DC Comics’ Robin and Batman. With their new series little monsters, the duo deliver an intriguing story that combines elements of horror and fantasy in equal measure. Published by Image Comics, little monsters #1 depicts the lives of the last children on Earth as they resist their bloodlust to maintain their innocence.
little monsters #1, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin Nguyen, shows the joy of childhood from the perspective of eight vampire children. Every child has their own hobbies and interests. Romie, Yui and Lucas fight with art activities. One likes to draw, one reads and the other composes music on the guitar. Thrill-seeking twins Ronnie and Raymond, meanwhile, pull off stunts without a care in the world, while the other three, Billy, Bats and Vickie, perform all night long without anyone saying otherwise. Despite such freedom, a disillusioned Billy is tired of his monotonous life. Things suddenly change when Romie doesn’t return until sunrise and Billy makes a startling discovery: the presence of humans.
little monsters #1 starts off slow, gradually building the world through character introductions. The post-apocalyptic world is immediately welcoming, with an intriguing setting where children move through debris and play under the cover of night. As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that there is something wrong with the children. It is only through the conversations between the characters and their activities that readers uncover clues about these strange children, which only increases the mystery. Jeff Lemire enjoys writing deep, character-driven stories while marrying elements of the human psyche into storytelling. A linear narrative with a refined frame, little monsters #1 entertains the reader until the end.
The macabre linework and bold inking of artist Dustin Nguyen feels perfectly at home in this dystopian, moon-drenched land filled with a decaying cityscape. Each character has a unique design that exudes their personality, even without a line of dialogue. Most of the time, it’s their expressive appearances and body language that do the heavy lifting in the storytelling. Nguyen uses a wide range of greyish shades to create the nocturnal atmosphere. Very tight Ben-Day dots give the illusion of shadows in a surprisingly well-lit expanse. The blood moon’s red glow and dark foreground make for a striking look for the book.
little monsters #1 takes readers back to their carefree youth. However, this is just a diversion that lures the reader into an unsuspecting trap until the real, insidious secret comes to light. Lemire carefully pulls the strings of this tale, to keep the truth hidden until the very last moment, creating a sense of suspense all around. Many outstanding questions remain at the end of this first issue which will no doubt be cleared up as the series progresses. little monsters #1 ends with a drop of truth in a sea of fun and games as the little vampires discover a new toy.
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