ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Darkhold: Blade,’ #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Darkhold Blade #1 - But Why Tho

Darkhold: Blade #1 is written by Daniel Kibblesmith, illustrated by Federico Sabbatini, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics. After reading from the pages of the cursed book known as the Darkhold, Blade’s history takes a dark turn as history is rewritten. In this new reality, Blade’s foe Deacon Frost became a vessel for the blood demon known as La Magra and unleashed a plague that turned mankind into vampires. The other heroes of the Marvel Universe either lost their powers or became vampires themselves. Blade is about to make his final stand against the vampire lord of New York, Wilson Fisk—though he may encounter resistance from some familiar faces.

A previous Darkhold one-shot took a similar approach with Iron Man, reimagining Tony Stark’s origin as a techno-horror fable. So far, each Darkhold one-shot seems to bring the user’s worst fears to life and I can’t imagine a worse future for Blade than being stuck in a world overrun with vampires. Kibblesmith’s script slowly reveals how dark this world is. The humans that remain have become familiars to the vampire race and beloved heroes such as Amadeus Cho have become vampires. There’s also a resistance cell made up of heroes calling themselves the “Last Avengers,” led by Citizen V; the revelation concerning his identity is a genuine genius twist. Kibblesmith also pays homage to the Blade films with the overall setup, which is more than welcome because those films help reinvent Blade for the 21st century.

Sabbatini brings the same sense of frantic motion and eye-grabbing action to this one-shot that he did to Star Wars: Doctor Aphra. The opening sequence features Blade cleaving a vampire in half and then engaging in battle with other bloodsuckers, his swords sending heads and limbs flying. A swordfight between Blade and Citizen V takes place on the top floor of a skyscraper, with Sabbatini depicting the two combatants being able to match each other’s thrusts and parrying moves. And continuing the homage to the Blade films, Wilson Fisk has become a massive bedridden lump of flesh who gorges himself on blood similar to the vampire librarian Pearl.

Rounding out the artistic team is Renzi on colors, and he drenches Sabbatini’s artwork in a dark blue hue that lends an ominous air to the story. Blade himself is clad in his trademark black shades and trench coat, and Citizen V’s red, white and blue armor is a bright spot among the darkness. Even the sound effects have their own flair, especially during the sword fighting scene. The sound of swords clashing against each other is depicted as flashes of golden light, and vampires’ screams are drowned out as they combust into reddish flame after falling at Blade’s hands.

Darkhold: Blade #1 brings the Daywalker’s worst nightmare to life, courtesy of a creative team who has nothing but love for Blade. Not only would I read a whole series based on this concept, but it also whetted my appetite for an ongoing Blade series.

Darkhold: Blade #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on Oct. 27, 2021.


Darkhold: Blade #1
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TL;DR

Darkhold: Blade #1 brings the Daywalker’s worst nightmare to life, courtesy of a creative team who has nothing but love for Blade. Not only would I read a whole series based on this concept, but it also whetted my appetite for an ongoing Blade series.