Please note that Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer – Of Wood and Blood (the third and final chapter of the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer trilogy) has been split into two separate books. ISBN codes for both volumes are included at the bottom of this review. Any complaints regarding how you cannot properly call something a trilogy if there are four parts should be addressed to the estate of Douglas Adams. They won’t actually do anything, but it might make you feel better and they could probably use the laugh.
Picking up directly after the stunning cliff-hanger ending of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer and The Great Puppet Theater, this latest volume introduces even more complications into the life of everyone’s favorite little wooden boy. Shipwrecked and stranded, Pinocchio is without weapons and his allies in The Great Puppet Theater have been reduced in number. Worse yet, Sir Dante — the father of Pinocchio’s special lady friend Carlotta — turns up with murder on his mind. And that’s before he finds out that his daughter was abducted by vampires and taken as a gift to their dark lord on Pinocchio’s watch!
Pinocchio’s quest will take him across the Mediterranean Sea where he discovers a strange town where everything wooden is able to talk. By journey’s end he will uncover the strange truth behind his creation. Finally, he will confront the king of the vampires himself – Vlad The Impaler. Or as he is more commonly known, Count Dracul!
Van Jansen brings the epic of Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer to a spirited and fitting conclusion. I’ve mentioned in reviews of earlier volumes how much wit and humor Jensen has put into the writing of this series. This final chapter is no exception, despite the drama being more intense than in the earlier books in the series.
I must also praise Jansen’s scholarship and the research that went into the production of this series – a subject which he speaks upon in brief in the afterword. One may be forgiven for thinking that a series that involves a magical puppet killing vampires would not concern itself with realism. Yet Jansen made an effort to make sure that all the information regarding Vlad Tepes the Third put forth in this story was as historically accurate as possible. There’s also a fair bit of information about the historical methods for dealing with vampires that adds further detail to the story.
The artwork of Dusty Higgins continues to evolve and impress. The human figures in this volume look so different from the vampire and puppet characters one might think they were drawn by an entirely different artist. This differentiation does clarify things during the action sequences, particularly in the second half of the story which is almost entirely composed of battles and rescues. Higgins is a wonderfully visual storyteller and the story flows well from panel to panel, even in the sequences which demand an unusual panel layout across multiple pages.
Though this is the darkest chapter of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by far – depicting a human sacrifice among other generally disturbing imagery – the series continues to stick to its T for Teen rating. There is nothing in this volume that would be inappropriate or horrifying to your average 13-year-old. Indeed, they will probably appreciate the slapstick humor and innuendo of this series more than many adults.
Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer, vol. 3 – Of Wood and Blood (Parts 1 & 2)
by Van Jensen
Art by Dusty Higgins
Part 1 ISBN: 9781593622398
Part 2 ISBN: 9781593622411
SLG Publishing, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: T (13+)