Blood the Last Vampire 2002

 BTL2   (Viz, 2003)

TM and (c) Viz Communications, Inc.

It needs to be stressed that this is a Pulp graphic novel, because the girl in the sailor suit on the cover might entice some of those pre-teen girl readers looking for the next volume of Love Hina or Peach Girl, and this is plenty rough stuff. And I’m not just talking about the extreme violence, Sapphic sex, and nudity; Blood is as nihilistic and nasty a piece of manga as was ever published in America, with contents seemingly designed to scour the psyche.

There are surface comparisons to Buffy (a teen vampire killer and her chilly “watchers”), but, for all the genre elements, it operates in a wholly Japanese universe, where notions like absolute good and evil aren’t even fit for fairy tales. It’s a world that asks the reader to accept a dark, loveless world where help is not coming and extinction would be welcome. Genuine horror in comics is almost impossible to achieve; here’s to that rarest of successes.

— S.A. Bennett

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