"Castlevania: The Belmont Legacy #1"

Reviewed by James Lewis

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Pencils and Ink: E. J. Su
Colors and Letters: Tom B. Long
Cover: Robert Teranishi
Cover Colors: Dan Brown
Editor: Kris Oprisko

This cover image for Castlevania: The Belmont Legacy #1 was scanned and contributed by Tyler Rietze

So. After nearly 20 years of being a video game mainstay, the Castlevania series finally get its first official state-side comic series. And the honors are done by adaptation veterans, IDW. These comics are pretty hit or miss, although lately they've really been shining. Still, Castlevania as a series has a lot of promise while having just as many issues. For starters, the back story is a bit muddled (although if you can sort it out really shines,) and the publishers don't make it any easier on themselves by focusing in on an obscure character like Christopher Belmont (although a comic adaptation for Belmont's Revenge would be too hot to handle.) Still, Dracula is always fun in comics so it's at least a good starting point. And despite some missteps on the part of the crew, the comic works for what it is: a fairly predictable, but none the less funny foray in kicking undead butt back to where they came from.

Not that we get any butt-kicking here; that'll probably be most in the third and fourth issue in this four-issue limited series. Here, we are introduced to the characters of Christopher Belmont on his afore unmentioned wife, Illyana. Their wedding day is at hand, and poor Christopher has a lot on his mind. As if the upcoming wedding weren't enough to keep him fretting, our hero is always pondering his role in the hero legacy that the Belmont clan has garnered for itself. Meanwhile, some nutty cultists are trying to resurrect Dracula (again) so he can do what he does so well: take over the world.

Overall, the story would feel a bit too familiar if the reader weren't aware of what they were getting into already. Christopher is an interesting enough hero, although his cold feet make him come off as a bit of a wuss (even in his dreams, he seems pretty iffy.) This could be translated as the cold footed hero, which is a fine archetype which Adreyko is working with. The scene with Christopher praying for guidance is especially touching, as well as some of the big, bold portraits of what looks like a Simonesque Belmont kicking some Dracula butt. Illyana is just as effective in her role as the damsel-in-distress-to-be, and actually comes off as the most sympathetic character in the book. Of course the real kudos go to the appearance of the Bartley clan, including badass, crossbow wielding Sona who is just as clichéd, but a lot more fun to read than Christopher or Illyana.

As far as the art goes, I found myself a bit under whelmed by the work of Su. While perfectly fine for the most part, most of the scenes seemed to carry very little energy and the characters facial features all seemed to be dangerously similar. Many of the architectural designs of the scenes seem appropriately middle age gothic in their construct, and his work with medieval clothing deserves an honorable mention. Still, I hope the dynamism takes a step up once he actually hit Castlevania proper.

Despite the fact that nothing much happens in this issue, it achieves its goal of setting up the backbone for the story to come and presents its hero and his love in a sympathetic light. Still, it's a shame that fans have to accept the book as simply the "same old story," instead of being treated to something would have been much more multi-dimensional and involving. Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but thus far it seems we're painting by number, and the numbers were printed pretty big.

Still…Sona is awesome.

The Grade: B-

Writer Interview

The comic's writer, Marc Andreyko, was interviewed in Play magazine. Within the interview, he answers questions about why the comic focuses on Christopher Belmont, the impetus behind this choice, and its content therein. These scans were contributed by Angel (click on an image for the larger version).


Comic Scans

These scans were contributed by Francisco R. Click a thumbail to see a larger version.

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