Hammer may be best known for its film adaptations of classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein, but the studio also has an enormous back catalogue of characters languishing in relative obscurity. Captain Kronos is one such example. A prolific vampire hunter, Kronos roams Europe in the 17th Century looking for vampires to vanquish.
In this book he stumbles upon a town that’s in thrall to a coven of vampires. The townsfolk have barricaded half the town to keep the powerful head vampire at bay, sacrificing those on the wrong side to his vampiric curse. By the time Kronos arrives, the elders are desperate for help.
Kronos is a skilled monster killer but there’s little more to him than brawn and a devil-may-care attitude. Much of his success lies in the hands of his companions: Grost, a long-suffering scholar who researches his way to less gung-ho plans; and Carla, a beautiful but deadly killer, who battles a very modern war against sexism and inequality, while simultaneously injecting some youth and enthusiasm into the otherwise embittered trio.
It’s a rollicking vampire story, bringing little new to the sub-genre but plenty to appeal to its fans. Abnett can probably write this stuff in his sleep and, while there are some pleasing plot twists, there’s limited character progression.
The art is unspectacular but channels a seventies vibe, which helps locate the story in its cultural context. The underlying pen and ink illustration has a classic feel to it, while the colouring, although clearly modern, uses a subdued, simplified palette, invoking simpler times.
This graphic novel sequel is certainly a novelty, as pulpy as the films the studio once produced. It doesn’t carry the vampiric gravitas of something like Anno Dracula, but it’s a fun aside for fans of the undead. Perhaps a bit like Kronos himself, the story carries some bite but is too formulaic to become a vampiric classic.