Mortal Terror #1 Review: Dracula Gets Flipped

Mortal Terror #1 review header

Humans are vampires and vampires are humans in this flipped Dracula story, Mortal Terror #1, from Dark Horse Comics, written by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, with art by Peter Bergting.

We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!

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Mortal Terror #1 Review:

In Mortal Terror, life is death, vampires are humans, up is down, and everything is here to break your brain. But the simpler version is that the characters from Dracula have been flipped, and so now our heroes are the vampires — not the humans.

Host Alex Zalben kicked things off saying that this book, “legitimately broke my brain while I was trying to read it. I tried to wrap my mind around this premise and what was happening here.” The issue, Zalben noted, is that after decades of reading vampire stories, there was something inherent in the idea of humans being vampires and vice versa that created a wall to understanding what was happening in the book.

That said, he thought the “art was awesome” and shouted out some “bad *ss vampire action sequences,” including a stand-out attack on a train right at the top that “feels like an action movie when you’re reading it.” That said, “The basic premise crashed my brain to a halt while I was reading it.”

Pete LePage had a similar problem, noting that he “did not have an easier time” reading the book than Zalben. He agreed, positively, on the art, noting that it reminded him of B.P.R.D. and similar Mignola-verse books. “It meets the vampire tone really nicely, and sucks you into this world seamlessly.”

But on the premise, again, LePage felt that the reversal felt like “this thing in your brain that you can’t scratch, that drives you mad in a way.” However, he felt that if he had read several issues at a sitting, that perhaps the premise would have settled in a little more.

Zalben agreed and felt the second issue was well worth checking out for that reason — mostly because he worried that as a reader, the problem was on him. “This is so stupid, but it’s calling the vampires mortal, and that therefore the humans are vampires… There’s something about that extra level of difficulty that even now talking about it, I can feel my chest tightening,” Zalben said. “But still, it’s worth picking up despite all that. Just know that it’s going to wrinkle your brain in very bad ways.”

Mortal Terror #1 Official Synopsis:

A vampire-flipped Dracula in which mortality means life… and life means death.

Vampires Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westenra, and Mina Murray live in underground London, trying to keep the undead city safe from the rumored mortals above who seek to give them life, only to kill them. But when the authorities refuse to believe mortals, let alone the mysterious Count Dracula, are anything more than myth, they are on their own to keep their city eternally dead.

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