- Written by: Kevin Grevioux
- Illustrated by: Andrew Huerta & Unai de Zarate
- Coloured by: Luis Antonio Delgado & Marc Rueda
- Letterer: Amauri Osorio
- Edited by: Tom Waltz
I have always been fascinated with Vampires and Werewolves, whether it’s the classic Universal Monster portrayals that make you sympathise with the monster, or full horror mindless monstrosities that tear their victims limb from limb like American Werewolf In London (1981). So when my Dad introduced me to the film Underworld in 2003, I was immediately obsessed. Not only did it involve Vampires and Werewolves at war with one another in a modern era setting, but towards the end…SPOILER ALERT… they introduce a hybrid of the two.
I have watched and own all of the Underworld films, and whilst they have been critically panned in many cases, I love them. So it was no surprise that when I found out there were comic adaptations of the films, I had to try and get them. I have only been able to obtain the one for Rise of the Lycans so far but I will hopefully be able to get the others at some point, so here is my review for Rise of the Lycans.
The year is 1207, and the Vampires are a ruling class in the land, earning protection pay from local farms and villages as they defend humans, as well as themselves, from the Werewolves that roam the land. However, the vampires have been trying to make werewolves their slaves, to no avail, until one night, a miracle happens. The first of his kind, Lucien is born, the first of the Lycans. Werewolf by blood, but not feral like the rest, able to change form at will, and contain his humanity and senses, even in wolf form. The perfect soldier to protect the Vampires during daylight hours, but more importantly to Viktor, one of the Vampire Elders, the perfect slave.
Fast forward to 1402, and thanks to their gift of slowed aging, Lucien and Viktor’s daughter Sonja are now the equivalent of young adults in comparison to the centuries old Viktor, and as far as anyone is concerned, Lucien is nothing more that the blacksmith, but remains Viktors favourite ‘pet’. However, behind closed doors, hidden beyond the peering eyes of those that surround them, Sonja and Lucien share a passion for one another, a forbidden love that would see the end of both of them should anyone discover their secret. The only ones who know his secret, are his Lycan brethren in the cells next to his, who can smell her scent on him. The same brethren that warn him, and caution him that he trusts too much in his position with Viktor.
Lucien protects Sonja with his life, serving his Vampire masters without question for they have given him everything he has known in life, but after one mishap, in which he is discovered to have forged a new key to his collar, in order to remove it and save the life of his lover, Sonja, Viktor has him whipped and thrown back into his cell without mercy. Lucien begins to see that the others were right…he is treated like an animal, no matter what he does for his masters, but this is the last straw.
Lucien, along with the help of his new friend Raze, a human turned Lycan, begin their uprising and execute and escape plan. However there are still so many of their brethren left inside the keep, so Lucien and his man plan their attack to free them all and finally destroy the Vampires that held them captive for so long.
Events unfold that lead to demise and despair, eventually leading to the grand finale of an all out war against the Vampires from the Lycans, with aid from the bestial werewolves who fear Lucien for his superior being. The epic battle sets in motion the events of the first film and give us the origin of how it all began with their war.
I have not read much of Kevin Grevioux’s work, much to my own disappointment as I love his character in the Underworld series as well as the fact that I enjoyed the film “I, Frankenstein” (2014) which was based on his digital-only graphic novel of the same name, which I still haven’t read (I’m sorry Kevin), but I can say that I enjoyed the writing in this two-part adaptation to the third film of the Underworld franchise, as it was a fast paced retelling of the film, cutting back on the scenes that expand the film to a feature run time. The book goes through all of the films major plot points whilst still remaining a fluid story with great an awesome setting, accompanied by some fantastic art.
The illustrations by Andrew Huerta & Unai de Zarate give us a more animated appearance to the characters we know from the film whilst still remaining very recognizable to the reader. The design for the werewolves and lycans in the book differ slightly to the film, with the wolves looking a lot more stereotypical in the book (in a good way) than they do from their more unique appearance in the film franchise.
The colour schemes bring life to the characters and setting and really make the illustrations jump out and of the pages and panels of the book, whilst setting the overall tone of the story.
This was a fun and fast adaptation of the film, which is a great addition to any Underworld fan’s collection. I will hopefully one day be able to obtain the other comics and novels adapted & set within this universe so that I can build my own collection whilst reviewing them for you, the readers of my blog.