Byrne’s STAKE a fun ride in issue 1

With the large amount of vampire stories in pop culture and older fiction, it becomes harder to make something last within that plot. Instead, we get an overabundance of blood suckers or emo stories or classic tropes, whereas different cultures have different takes on the creatures of the night.

Sometimes we get stories like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files that tackles other cultures, while most of the modern content uses either the classic tropes or we get teen angst from Twilight inspired love stories.

Regardless of your stance, one of the most iconic stories in he 90’s was Joss Whedon’s Buffy franchise that launched multiple careers, and David A. Byrne’s STAKE manages to recapture aspects of that series in a fun and endearing way.

Within the first issue, we get the cliff notes on the world and the actors involved. We meet the head of the vampires who holds a grudge against the humans, while a family of vampires acts as a test to see if humans can be trusted. This then turns into the tale of how STAKE is adopted, and we’re immediately placed into her world.

Seeing STAKE filming her feats, while also being sassy and sarcastic at times was both fun and refreshing as it made her character more endearing, especially with the contrast of our introduction of Jessamy; a vampire who comes off as capable and stoic.

Seeing the way the two characters work and how the story plays out did give me some modern Buffy vibes, while also delivering a story that manages to find its own way into the vampire mythos.

Another highlight of this series is how it incorporates social media. Whereas series like my recently reviewed Firebitch from Cara Nicole or Snotgirl from Brian Lee O’Malley use it as a form of comedy and lean into it heavier with the story at times, STAKE uses social media loosely and gives the characters a voice less reliant on quoting hashtags or using terms more related to social media.

This structure that Byrne creates around social media without it taking over his characters story, helps make for a more unique experience and adds enough of a layer to the story that it feels accepted without being overdone.

I’m loving this first foray into his newest series and can’t wait to see how the story plays out in the next issues.

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