True Blood #3 Created by Alan Ball
Written by Michael McMillian and Ann Nocenti
Art by Michael Gaydos
Colors by Marcelo Maiolo
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Cover by Tim Bradstreet IDW Publishing
Release Date: July 25, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
True Blood #3 of the Where Were You? story arc is called “Bill’s Story,” but the real star for me is the refreshing unambiguously evil villain Remus. He is sans tortured soul and manages to have supernatural properties without being in love with Sookie, or at least he is not yet. Michael Mcmillian and Annie Nocenti tell us the story of how Bill Compton and Remus became acquainted in pre-revelation (when the vampires come out of the coffin) England. I love when they show Bill as a punk rocker on the show because in his modern incarnation as politician and somewhat inconsistent anti-hero he is nearly always uptight. We get a taste of that in flashbacks as well as Remus paging Lestat as a tattoed rock singer giving up vampire secrets in his lyrics. He also likes to eat innocent people and feels he is part of a superior race as a vampire. This makes him an easy target to rally against and the gang, which includes Sookie, Eric (begrudgingly of course), Jessica, Bill, etc., is starting to do just this that.
There is a nice tie-in with the current show which right now centers on the conflict between Lilith followers who believe humans are food, and the Mainstreamers who want to peacefully coexist with their mortal ancestors. The origins of both vamp political movements and the strong arm of the Vampire Council are explored in an original way and gives a little backstory to the one Truebies already know. I love the new character they introduced, Mary Stuart, Vampire Queen of England who is a regal one indeed and something to be seen. For those of us who miss the hysterically icy Nan Flanagan since Bill turned her into splatter art, she makes an endearing guest appearance in flashback time. Volume is tuned up considerably action wise in this issue and there is a bunch of gore, but not so much that it rules the entire story. Fans looking for a little more horror or adventure and a little less sexy time than the show should be happy with the direction this comic book series is going. After all, IDW has a little less to worry about ratings wise than HBO, so they can afford a little more plot time.
Michael Gaydo‘s artwork is as consistent with the show as far as characters looking like the actors as ever, with the exception of one case. Sam Merlotte gained hard features, a harder body, and is much darker in coloring than the actor could ever be. It seems a strange choice for him, but everyone else makes total sense in comicland version. The backgrounds are much richer and more painterly than on the show, it’s amazing what one can do when budget is not a concern. Marcelo Maiolo proves he can color a green swampland that looks heavy and humid as well as he can color a fiery battle scene where you can actually see the sparks and ashes in the air. Strong artwork is not limited to the inside of the issue, however; Tim Bradstreet (of Vampire the Masquerade) who has been defining how vampires look in underground pop culture for years now, gives us an unexpectantly mod cover with pop flowers and colors galore surrounding a typically dark and surly Bill Compton.
Between the building story arc and the unique artwork (especially for a comic based on an existing television show) this title is shaping up to be an imaginative, festive, and articulate addition to the limitless escapades of the True Blood universe.