Comics, Reviews

Little Monsters #13 Review: More Than a Monster

Check out the emotional finale of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen's story about a group of vampire children struggling to survive in a lonely world.

Little Monsters #13
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesJun 6, 2024, 12:19 PM

Little Monsters #13

Little Monsters #13

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Dustin Nguyen

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 16, 2023

Format: Comic

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen's emotional story about a family of child vampires comes to a heartbreaking finale that reveals all of its world's mysteries.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of vampires? They are either bloodthirsty monsters or more of the sparkly and romantic types. But in Little Monsters by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, we see vampires through a lens that’s more innocent and tragic. The 13-issue miniseries just wrapped up and delivered a gut-wrenching finale that brings plenty of unique twists to what you expect from vampire fiction. Leave it to Lemire to tell a very human and emotional story from the perspective of vampire children.

Let’s dive into my review of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s Little Monsters!

Planning to leaveImage: Image Comics

Living in a Lonely World

Little Monsters is the story of eight vampire children living together in an abandoned city. Romie, Billy, Yui, Lucas, Bats, Vickie, Ray, and Ronnie have waited centuries for their elders to return. With humans long dead and gone, the kids turned the entire city into their playground. Despite each of them being centuries old, they are all still very young at heart. They spend every night like normal kids reading books, writing music, painting murals, and playing hide and seek. The only real difference they have from other kids is that they feed on rat blood and never age a day. These kids have spent lifetimes living peacefully.

But the tragedy about time is that everything changes eventually. On a night that started like every other night, Romie discovered a human scavenger trapped under some rubble. As the oldest of the bunch, Romie followed what the elders taught him and left the human unharmed. But Billy, on the other hand, had other ideas and took his chance at finally tasting the forbidden human blood. All it took was one bite to change everything for Billy and the other kids forever.

Vampires confronting one another Image: Image Comics

More Than a Monster

The most compelling parts of Little Monster’ are when the comic explored the kids’ backstories. We see how each of them not only came from different life backgrounds but different eras in history as well. But what ties all the kids together is that they were all victims of crippling loneliness. Their stories of being orphans, abused, or runaways put into perspective that becoming a vampire saved their lives. Being a vampire meant having a family that never changed or grew older. Even after the wars and diseases killed off all the humans, they’d be the ones to endure the world. It’s refreshing to see vampires presented not necessarily as monsters but as sympathetic and compassionate beings that are just as much part of this world as humans are.

The perspective of the more human side of vampires makes seeing their monstrous side feel more tragic. While Romie, Yui, and Lucas represent the good that’s inside them, Billy’s hunger for human blood represents the horrific truth of what they are. This is still a story of vampires, after all. The hunger consumes Billy and the others to the point they go feral on their siblings. It shows how just a single taste was enough to corrupt them completely. But unlike other pieces of vampire fiction, Billy is not acting out hatred for humans. What drives Billy is his frustration towards his elders and how they kept the truth about human blood away from them. It’s only at the story’s somber ending that Billy quietly realizes the truth only leads to more pain for himself and the people around him.

Fighting among friendsImage: Image Comics

Final thoughts

Little Monsters is the third collaboration between Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen for Image Comics. It showcases their strengths as some of the best comic book creators. Lemire delivered a beautifully told story about vampires that’s very grounded and human. At the same time, Nguyen’s distinct art brought life to a group of undead kids living in such a bleak and lonely world. Reading through the issues felt like a breeze because of the thoughtful visual storytelling on each page. But despite being a quick read, Little Monsters is filled with tragic and hopeful moments that will stick with you for a long time.

TAGGED: Creator Owned, Image Comics, Reviews