Incarnate #1 (Radical Comics)

incarante-header.jpgNick Simmons makes a bloody splash with his debut, a manga-styled vampire miniseries.


50 pgs full color; $4.99

(W/A: Nick Simmons)


Nick Simmons makes a bloody splash of a debut with his new title Incarnate from Radical Publishing. No Anne Rice-inspired revisionist drama for his vampires, no sirree. This Son of Thunder (his dad is KISS bassist Gene Simmons) has crafted a gem of a vamp with an ego as big as a Transylvanian castle and a thirst for blood that would be right at home in the hallowed and crimson-splattered halls of Hammer Films.

This first book in a series of three introduces us to our lead vampire, Mot. Frozen in the form of a young man, he’s actually been collecting vein jackpots for several generations. Mot is a cold-to-the-bone psycho who doesn’t appear to have friends so much as arms-length associates. His right-hand-man here is Connor, a fellow vampire and assassin who combines his bloodlust and uniquely entrepreneurial spirit to generate a healthy profit. Connor also has the unfortunate habit of being on the wrong end of a gun, and his face repeatedly getting blown off is just part of the delightful black humor riding the undercurrent in this surprise of a story. 

The cover to Incarnate #1 by Nick Simmons. Click for a larger image.Mot and his fellow immortals are known as Revenants. Though humans throughout the centuries have been providing a fairly-steady meal ticket for these guys and gals, there’s a rumble of danger on the horizon. As revealed by Ripley, head-Revenant and owner of the Clubhouse of Forgotten Gods, a group of humans calling themselves Sanctum have somehow found a way to send them on a permanent vacation. No one in the history of humans and non-humans has possessed the skills to pull that little trick off, giving the Revenants a collective big-time shiver down their spines.

Though Simmons’ narrative skips across longstanding reference points of vampire lore, they never grow particularly tiresome. Being the introductory chapter in a three book series means there is a lot of ground to cover here, and this is accomplished without forgetting that there’s no shame in having some serious fun along the way. And while the origins of the vagabond Mot and his fellow Revenants are unknown for now, there is just enough information given to make us want to know what happens next.

The artwork, provided by Simmons with assists from Nam Kim, Ben Harvey, and Shi Hua Wang, perfectly marries the tight scripting in a winning mix of American manga and old-school vibrancy. Colors pop off the page, and panels shift and change with the rhythm of the storytelling. Every frame is important and nothing is wasted, bringing to mind Steve Ditko’s classic work for Marvel combined with the early works of manga master Masamune Shirow.

This is a gleefully gory hell of a ride; one that I hope ultimately becomes an ongoing series. To sweeten the deal, Radical Publishing is offering this 50-page book of tricks and treats for $4.99—perfect for the comic book fan looking for plenty of bang and fang for the buck. | Jim Ousley

Click here for an interview with Nick Simmons and a brief preview of Incarnate #1, courtesy of Comic Book Resources.

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