Blood and Water (Vertigo)

    (Vertigo, 2003, 2009)
™ and ©2003 DC Comics, Inc.

Blood & Water takes a messy, hard-to-stomach subject — the horrors the human body suffers from the effects of hepatitis A — and surrounds it with beauty in the form of the undying (literally in this case) love of friendship. Adam Heller, a formerly handsome high school stud, is now bloated, smelly, and weak, but his best friends (a couple who happen to be vampires) take him to museums and to the park, and, even more touchingly, they consume the bland food he has to eat and avoid uncomfortable subjects (such as sex and other things Adam can no longer enjoy).

The first few pages do such an excellent job of taking an unflinching look at Adam’s condition that certain readers may find themselves disappointed when the story abruptly introduces vampirism into the plot. However, once this is understood and accepted, readers can hop back on board and enjoy the ensuing ride, which becomes less realistic, more hopeful (in an odd sort of way), and, as a result, less depressing.

The art is a bit dark and rough for those who prefer a slicker, more streamlined approach, but it fits the script extremely well. Also, some will be turned off by the highly offensive cross (which is phallic in nature), but the related jokes, especially the one on the last page, are actually very funny.

— Brett Weiss

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Collects Blood and Water (Vertigo) #1-5; ca. 2009Judd WinickTomm Coker