In the time of Greek Antiquity, there was a great mathematic philosopher who algebra students would damn in the millennia following named Pythagoras. A student of Pythagoras, named Zalmoxis, loved his teacher so much that he wished to save him from death. Zalmoxis created the curse of Vampyrism to save Pythagoras, but he rejected this unholy gift. Meanwhile, Medea, leader of the Mathematokoi nation of vampyres and Sofia, leader of the Akousmatikoi nation, began to quibble between one another.
Now, in 1946, the strife between the two continue as Medea’s communist regime in Romania clashes with Sofia’s rebels. Zalmoxis begins to lose faith in his vampyre nation, which was originally intended to spread and pursue knowledge.
You’ve probably heard this one before; it’s an ancient vampire civilization that has existed in plain sight for millennia yet has managed to avoid detection even as it directly causes many of the major historical events which changed the world. There is jealousy, elitism, sexual tension, and one or more good vampires who intended to use all of this for good. They are a slave to the curse of bloodthirst, but they cannot escape it.
Does Irrational Numbers: Subtraction do anything to avoid this by-now conventional setup?
No, not really.
This comic is painfully conventional in its premise and execution. The only novel difference is the it is connected to ancient Greece and Pythagoras. However, these are only superficial changes which do nothing to change the fact that you’ve seen all of this before. Underworld, True Blood, and even frigging Twilight have all played with this idea in one way or another with wildly varying degrees of success. Hell, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter had the vampires being responsible for slavery and the American Civil War.
The characters of Zalmoxis, Medea, and Sofia are all pretty stock vampire aristocrats. Zalmoxis is the good guy. Sofia is the snob. Medea is the other snob who hates Sofia. None are interesting. Medea and Sofia are very interchangeable.
The best part of this is the art of Giancarlo Caracuzzo who, at the very least, manages to depict these events with style and atmosphere. The oddly plain artistic styling makes it all a little unnerving. It all looks fairly nice, and when a vampire ends up killing itself with the sunlight, its done with drama and bombast on the part of Giancarlo. Flavio Caracuzzo complements all of this with a style that contrasts the pale of the vampires with dark color in clothing and environment.
Even though it has a two-dollar price tag on ComiXology, I can’t say that Irrational Numbers: Subtraction is worth your money. It does what countless vampire society stories before it have done already. Its characters aren’t interesting or memorable. The art is great, but it doesn’t save the story from itself. Give this one a pass.
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