Monday, April 11, 2016

Bloodlines #1 (2016)


Bloodlines #1 (June, 2016)
"Hostile Takeover"
Script - J.T. Krul
Pencils - V. Ken Marion
Inks - Sean Parsons
Colors - Andrew Dalhouse
Letters - Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor - Brittany Holzherr
Senior Editor - Marie Javins
Cover Price: $2.99

After writing last week's Bloodlines Primer over at Weird Science DC Comics, the fellas extended me the gracious invitation to appear on their weekly Podcast to discuss this issue.  If you check it out, my segment hits around the 230 minute mark (though listen to the whole thing, it's a lot of fun).  I'm the jerk with the crappy mic who apparently has a great deal of trouble saying any word that has an "R" in it.  Just tell yourself I'm going my awful Andrew Dice Clay impression... that's what I did when I listened to it back.

I had an incredibly fun time chatting with the guys and contributing to my favorite comics podcast.  It was my first time doing anything of the sort, and I want to sincerely thank Jim, Eric and Reggie who were exceptionally patient and welcoming.

As we discussed at the end of the segment... I, along with fellow New York native Reggie will be doing a regular segment on the show discussing Weird Comics History.  It's gonna be a lot of fun, and I feel exceptionally lucky to be offered such a spot.  I look forward to further participation.

Today, I'm going to put my normal (for better or worse) spin on the very issue we discussed on the show.

--

As we open, a comet crashes into a wooden mountainside.  There are deer in the area... one of which appears to have a tiny critter embed itself into its neck.  Suddenly the deer begins frothing at the mouth, ultimately transforming into a were-deer beast.


We shift to the suburban bedroom of high school student, Eddie.  His morning alarm is sounding, and he pulls himself out of bed.  He relies on cuff-crutches to get around, however it is made to seem as though this is a relatively recent development in his life.


After indulging in some sugary cereal and a brief chat with mom, Eddie hoofs it toward school.  His regular ride, Graham is late once again.  His buddy eventually drives up along side, and gets him to the high school.  Upon arrival, they sort of go their own ways.  Graham is an athlete, and proceeds to join his teammates while Eddie heads to class.


In class we watch boy genius, Albert doing a dissertation on abnormal DNA while their teacher works on his fantasy football team.  Eddie's lab partner appears to be admiring him somewhat, though he believes she's just staring at his bruised arm.


After class, Eddie heads out.  He passes my (and your) favorite blogger, Dana.  She's on Day 46 of her Blogapalooza! which basically just means she talks into her side-turned cell phone about her big weekend plans... amirite?  If you're interested, today is Day 72 of MY Blogapalooza!  Heeeeeeeeeeey!


We shift to a LexOil Supermart gas station (that features a Daily Planet newspaper vending machine), where a mother is filling up the tank... while a creepy perv checks out her's from afar.  The woman's daughter, Faith is bemoaning how long the fuel stop is taking, and fears that the mall will somehow close before they can get there.

We wanna see both of your hands, mister!

Next stop, Stu's garage.  Stu's mechanic Haley is working on a fella named Blake's Mustang... and he wants a status update.  This seems to bother our Haley... and that's all we get from her.


Shift over to Blake.  He's driving around with a man named Ricky.  They appear to be detectives, and they're both in a fighting mood.  They pull off and approach a crew o' crackheads and offer to introduce them to their teeth.  Aw, man.

Aw, man.
As we reach our climax, we rejoin Eddie and Graham as they arrive at keg party taking place in the isolated Sullivan Field.  Graham breaks off and socializes while Eddie nurses a beer under a (urine-and-vomit-free) tree.


The deer from the open makes its presence known slasher style.  It bites a young man named Kev's arm all the way up to the elbow.

Well, that escalated...
Eddie struggles to get to his feet.  As he attempts to flee, Graham runs in to help.  Unfortunately, Graham becomes dinner... and Eddie hits the ground.  When he lands, his body experiences an odd transformation.  He is suddenly a seven-foot tall hulking blue brute.


He runs straight for the were-deer... and, well, rips its head off.


He turns to Graham and sees that he was too late... the deer already took a big ol' chunk out of his torso.  As Graham lay dying, Eddie transforms back and let's out a dramatic "Noooo!"


--

As I stated on the show, I was surprised at how much I liked this issue.  It was clearly a set-up chapter, wherein we bore witness to a series of character vignettes as we took the nickel tour of Pine Ridge... but it was just done so well.  No one scene/character overstayed its welcome, and the scenes/characters that didn't get much screen time, make me want to see more.

The writing was great.  The teenagers shown acted rather like real teenagers.  Eddie was sullen and internally bitter at his plight in life.  Dana is a superficial fake-ass internet celebrity, she appears as vapid and shallow as one may imagine.  The detective pair, however, seemed a bit off.  I get that we're supposed to think they just ain't no good... but perhaps a bit of subtlety could have been employed.  The art was also very very good.  As I mentioned on the Podcast, Marion's faces are somewhat evocative of Brett Booth, and in my opinion, that's a good thing.

When this issue series was announced, I felt that it immediately had two (and a bit later a third) strikes against it.  First, the Bloodlines title, and all the extreme chromium-flavored baggage that comes along with it... and Second, J.T. Krul as the writer.  Let me qualify that.  I have personally enjoyed most/all of Mr. Krul's DC work.  His pre-Flashpoint Teen Titans was, to me, a high point in that volume... one of the things I miss the most from that era.  I also enjoyed his Brightest Day Green Arrow.  I never actually read the derided "Rise and Fall" for which he perhaps received most of his criticism (though, I do have it... somewhere), so I cannot really speak to that.  When this series was announced, all I saw in regard to the creative team was that oft-used panel with Arsenal and the dead cat... and that's really too bad.  Third strike, Rebirth... how much impact could this story have if the line-wide re-whatever is on the horizon?

We also briefly discussed the character of Loose Cannon having already made an appearance in the New-52 continuity.  Perhaps Bloodlines takes place in Post-Rebirth?

From Teen Titans (vol.4) #11 (September, 2012)

Anyhoo... This was a very good issue to kick off the series, and you clearly do not need any experience with the 1993 Annuals to follow this.  In fact, it's probably more helpful without the experience.  Definitely give this one a try.  It's a horror comic that, if the references to LexOil and the Daily Planet are any indication, takes place within the DC Universe... and it's a lot of fun.

I suppose in the spirit of completionism, I'll leave the score I gave this one on the show.  8/10

--

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3 comments:

  1. Good review. Good luck on the segment. Might have to check this series out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Deron, thanks so much!

      This was a lot better than I thought it would be. It really has very very little to do with the oft-maligned crossover from the 1993 Annuals. I'd definitely recommend it.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  2. A were-deer-beast AND a Darth Vader "Noooooo!"? Sounds like a winner to me, Chris.

    ReplyDelete

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