Volume 1 collects the English Translations of Tome 1 “Resurrection” and Tome 2 “Danse Macabre”. The original stories were published in France but were written by British comic book author “Pat Mills” of 2000AD and Charley’s War fame. This is the first of 5 volumes.
Requiem is the story of a German soldier named Heinrich Augsburg who is killed fighting on the Russian front during World War 2. He finds himself transported to a dark and twisted world (Resurrection) where evil souls are reborn as monsters. In Resurrection people are re-incarnated according to their sins and find themselves as Zombies, Ghouls, Vampires or several other strange creatures. The actual type of monster depends how evil the person was in their past life. The most evil come back as Vampires who are the social elite and ruling class.
Resurrection itself is a backward mirror of earth where the seas are land and the land becomes huge lakes of fire. People are transported to this world at the age they expired and they grow younger rather than older until they eventually cease to exist. It is also a world where good is bad and archaeologists bury artifacts rather than dig them up to protect people. My impression of the planet is that it is Pat Mill’s representation of hell.
Heinrich is reborn as Requiem, a member of the Vampire Elite, with a burning desire to find the woman he loved and betrayed during his lifetime (Rebecca). Unusually, he has not entirely lost his sense of fair play in his transition to Vampire and this character trait causes him to be unpopular amongst some of his Vampire peers. It is difficult to know how to view characters actions in this book as the world is a reversed reality but there truly are some monsters. Heinrich seems to be one of the few hanging onto some sort of humanity but others are as sick as anything you will find in any horror fiction.
The subject matter is very violent with lots of S&M, Slavery, torture and even sexual content. Mills does a great job of slowly unraveling the complicated concepts of the reality whilst driving the story along. The reader is bombarded with a large array of characters to try to keep track of but the artwork does a good enough job to not make this a chore. I enjoyed the way our main character manages to begin to unravel his new reality and the pace of the book is anything but pedestrian. People familiar with the writing style of Pat Mills will instantly recognize his style of social – political writing and this stands up well to his other work.
The artwork is very well put together with Grotesque characters, enormous complex backdrops and a great sense of movement (this is definitely not a talking heads book). The style of the art reminded me of Nemesis the warlock in its level of complexity but this book is in glorious full color. The complex page layouts and very heavy use of red give this book a dramatic impact. The only down side of this swathe of dark red is that the book does need to be read in a brightly lit room as the text is often barely discernible from the art work. It is a visual feast for the eyes and the subject matter oozes with gore and nudity.
Requiem Vampire Knight is not a light read but if you are a fan of horror fiction and/or Pat Mills you should find this a good read. There are absolutely no translation issues that I found. ISBN-13: 978-1846534379. 8/10