It seems impossible to have a vampire story without romance these days. I, Vampire is no exception (though it is a title originally from the 80s, so the only bandwagon jumping it’s committing is to be relaunched at this present time). What helps though is that these are not your sparkling vampires, but rather the blood-thirsty, shape-shifting, weak in sunlight, Dracula-type vamps.
There are two timelines running in the book: The present where our hero and vampire himself, Lord Andrew Bennett, is staking vamps after a huge attack where bodies cover the city streets; and the past where Andrew spends one last night with his lover, Mary, who has been corrupted by power and wants embrace her vampiric nature on a grand scale. It’s the familiar trope of vampires who feed on humans and consider them merely livestock vs the ones who feed on animals and want to live side by side with humanity. The only thing that sets this book apart from normal modern vampire stories is that there are mentions of superheroes in this world. That could be interesting later on, because right now this is nothing new.
While the art is nice, it also causes confusion. There is a lot of shape-shifting between human and animal forms which is done beautifully, but Mary also shifts between human forms which the art style does not make very clear. I couldn’t tell you what distinguishing facial features any of the characters have. Andrew has a white patch of hair, so thankfully we at least know who he is at all times.
As for the writing, there’s no hand-holding like many of the rest of the new 52 with their excessive use of exposition. The character interactions are clear enough to piece together what happens, but there is still a lot left out which will probably be covered in the next issue. I don’t think the art is doing the writing any favors for clarity.
Survival Rating: LIVE. Only because vampires are still a fairly hot commodity and American Vampire seems to prove vampire comics that aren’t Buffy, can last.
Recommendation: Avoid. Unless you really must have your vampire fix. It might become more interesting later on, especially if it ties in with the rest of the DCU, but right now, it’s old-hat.