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You guys know Chuck Dixon, right? Of course you do; he’s done everything from Bane to Batman, from G.I. Joe to the Joker, and pretty much everything in between if you look at the rest of his catalogue: Conan, Transformers, The Wheel of Time, Snakes on a Plane (yeah, you read that right). Guy’s been around forever and still going strong.

I’ve been following his current run on Van Helsing (where he teams up with Julius Abrera on art) and have had nothing but fun in doing so, so right off the bat this one’s a recommend. Also bear in mind that it’s up to its fourth issue at the time of writing (it actually just came out a couple days ago), so if you plan on getting it, I’d go for the trade paperback at this point, since it’s over halfway done. And also because I’m partial to TPs anyway.

Oh, btw, and we’re not talking ye olde Van Helsing here…

The plot follows Liesel Van Helsing on her hunt for a legendary artifact, which brings on just about everything you’d expect from an Indiana-Jones-meets-vampires tale: operating outside the law, hard-hitting action, great art, scary-looking baddies, desert-crossing treks, and no small amount of cheese.
But this is the good kind of cheese. I’m not talking that stinky stuff that some people like to have with wine, either, but rather the positively delicious stuff that reminds you of the breakfast grandma always used to make all those years ago, in the countryside.
Or maybe that’s just me.

In any case, this comic has been a really fun romp from beginning to its current issue. It starts out with an investigation that steamrolls into a wide-open chase for the prize, all the while dealing with reanimated deadites, vampires, a special agent who ends up joining Liesel on her quest, and very solid set pieces.
What I mean by that is that I’ve seldom come across either filler pages or panels, everything is tightened up to its meat-and-potatoes basics while not feeling too threadbare, and I can pretty much remember every chat, chase, or chilling splash page so far, even though it’s been a while since I read the first couple issues. So that’s another plus.

I also enjoy the setting and the straightforward manner in which this is blended into the story, with the narrative cues and translations. There was actually a repeat translation of a term in the second issue (and again in #4) and I had a “what’s this here for? I know this from #1!”.
You learn something new from comics every day.

The story has a sense of urgency to it, and the art does well with both monster depictions as well as humans, although I’ve come across a couple panels where it looks like certain body parts seem to want nothing to do with their respective bodies, but these exceptions are very few and far between and there are more than enough great splashes and action progressions to balance that out.
The only other complaint I might have here is that faces sometimes lack detail in what I believe is the attempt to make Liesel and other women that appear throughout look youthful and attractive. Sometimes they’re just a beautify filter away from turning baby-buttocks smooth.
Her rendition by Renzo Rodriguez, for instance, in the Grimm Universe Presents 2019 one-shot is more my speed, with a little more definition here and ane extra smidge of ink there.

This whole thing so far is a great, mostly light hearted adventure (yeah, in spite of all the things trying to make Liesel dead), it has great timing for breaks in action all across, and generally hits all the hallmarks of what I’m looking for in both a #1 issue and a run: it hooked me from the first couple pages, it drove hard and fast over the ones that followed, and it doesn’t seem like it’s letting up anytime soon. Well, sooner than its #6 finale, I guess.

I won’t get into more details, but there’s plenty here to enjoy so definitely go have a look at this one, and try not to think of that breakfast cheese when you read it.

Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!

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