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Blood + Water

Blood + Water back

Judd Winick & Tomm Coker


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"When you lose someone, you want the world to cry in agony."

Top-notch, playfully iconoclastic book set in modern-night San Francisco. Immediately striking is the art's resemblance to Steve Yeowell's, and if that doesn't make you reach for the book in an instant then you're clinically insane. Add in Jae-Lee-like jaggedy shadows and you're onto a winner.

Adam Heller is dying. All his life he's lived with Hepatitis B as a result of his mother's drug use. But that was manageable until food poisoning, he says, threw him into the horrors of Hepatitis A. It's not just the disease itself, but the side-effects of the medication Adam takes to keep the virus in check, and Winnick goes to great pains to impress upon you exactly what both entail. Truly Adam has been suffering - an invalid rendered ugly living in virtual isolation - so it's almost a relief when the doctor pronounces his death sentence. It'll all soon be over. Only, it won't. Not if his sexy best friends have anything to say in the matter.

"You on the scene, jellybean? You okay? You look a little pale."
"Well, I'm pretty anaemic, y'know. I'm in liver failure so I'm jaundiced as well. Taking that into account... I will admit that I'm more than a little freaked out. But I think I'm handling it pretty well... You have just informed me that you're fucking vampires."

Winnick wrestles great comedy from Nicky and Joshua explaining their condition and what they now have to do to Adam. It's quite the process, and not just a nip on the neck. There's cleverness in the consequences too, in the lengths you'd have to go to disguise your ageless immortality. I've read a lot of Anne Rice in my guilty past and this ain't that. It's stylish, sassy and unpretentious just like Adam, Joshua and Nicky who cut through the gothic bullshit with flick-knife tongues, arched eyebrows and knowing smiles.

So with a new lease of life and the prospect of forever with his friends in front of him, Adam hits the town with a vengeance. Halfway through, however, the tone shifts in a moment, wiping the grins off everyone's faces. See, there's a very good reason why Nicky and Joshua waited so long to create Adam. Their gut instincts - heightened by what they are - told them that they really, really shouldn't turn Adam into a vampire. They didn't know why, they just knew that they shouldn't, but Adam was their mate so what can you do? They couldn't just leave him to die...

Shame about that, for everyone's sake.