REVIEW: 'Black Mass Rising' OGN by Theo Prasidis and Jodie Muir



Writer: Theo Prasidis
Artist: Jodie Muir
Publisher: TKO Studios
Release Date: March 16, 2022
Cover Price: $19.99

Set one year after the death of Dracula, hope is returning to the lands of Transylvania, and a young peasant girl named Aurelia dares to dream of a better future, free from the yoke of the devil's hundred years of darkness.

But when a mysterious Healer drifts into town, seeking to cure land and people alike, a terrifying new evil stirs in the blasted lands, and it seems that the lord of the undead is not through yet...or could it be an even greater evil? A titanic and darkly fantastical reimagining/sequel of Bram Stoker's sanguine classic.


★★★★☆ (4/5)

If you're into sweeping gothic horror involving Dracula then TKO Studios has you covered with 'Black Mass Rising.' The original graphic novel by Theo Prasidis and Jodie Muir is a mesmerizing reimagining of Bram Stoker's classic that is chilling, frightening, and eerily alluring. 

The story encompasses an extensive arc that begins with an evil presence terrorizing a small village. Prasisdis cleverly introduces this ravenous demon, beautifully and horrifically designed by Muir, with an unassuming sequence that plays on the reader's nerves as the tension builds before finally being unleashed. There are a lot of small quiet moments that eventually lead to some suspenseful reveal. What really holds the story together are the characters. Aurelia is a peasant girl from the village that endure a constant state of fear and with good reason before deciding to leave and that's where her journey begins. 

The religiously devout Healer tries his best to calm the villagers and bring some hope in the name of God but his devotion is tested over and over. You can break the book into three parts. The first part sets the stage for the evil that emerges, and Aurelia's motivation to venture off with the Healer. She's a frustrated girl tired of living in fear and believes if she's to die then she'll die on her own terms. The second part sees the awesome introduction of Wilhemina, a skilled fighter with a snarky attitude that really enlivens the book. Her energy and humor give off a more modern demeanor and really adds a burst of energy to the story. Her backstory informs what's to come next. The third part is where the story comes full circle with many surprises and twists that change the fortunes of all the characters. 

There is a section of the book where the transition isn't very smooth and the story makes a jump that may have readers scratching their heads. Regardless, this trip back to Transylvania is a rewarding one with characters you'll invest in and follow their transformative journey. Muir's colors and seemingly painted panels offer a classy and sophisticated look at haunting terror, the kind Anne Rice writes about or the kind you've seen Francis Ford Coppola put on screen. It's dreamlike and ethereal at times with some of the most threatening visuals of the devil you'll see in comics. 

'Black Mass Rising' is an exciting and absorbing tale of horror. A layered and fresh vampire tale that's beautifully rendered and an unnerving read. Dracula has returned in excellent fashion.