Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: Bloodlines #1

By Reboot

Before DC stops "Batgirling" and starts Rebirthing (Re - Prefix: Definition 1. again 2. back to an original place, condition, etc.) they've decided to send some short series our way. One of which is Amy Chu and Clay Mann's Poison Ivy, which has been an enjoyable look into Poison Ivy as well as Harley Quinn. The latest of these short run series to come out is J. T. Krul and V. Ken Marion's Bloodlines. Its first issue debuted on April 6th.

Bloodlines is arguably one of the most obscure revivals of a title DC has done since the New 52 started (and they did a Sword and Sorcery run!). It was never its own series, but rather a crossover event from 1993. And a really 90's event at that. So 90's. We're talking "aliens that suck out your spinal fluids, but sometimes give you badass 90's superhero powers as a side-effect" 90's. Don't just take my word for it though. Fill yourself in on how 90's it was here.

This new comic appears to be a clean slate though. It was very straight-forward and easy to absorb. The story revolves around a disabled teenage boy named Eddie and his struggle with his disability. In a DCU that's been minus an Oracle for far too long, it was refreshing. I think DC and Bloodlines deserve some bonus points for this, as disabilities are often overlooked in most entertainment mediums; comics included.

In a fairly standard fashion, writer J. T. Krul takes us through the typical day of a boy like Eddie, waking up for school, his morning interactions with family, and friends and schoolmates through the day. It's all to set up Eddie's different relationships, what he cares about, etc. Very clearly J. T. Krul is setting up the other characters we'll see as early as perhaps the next issue, but very little time is taken on that. Some of it ends up being a little odd. It seems like a deliberate choice to break up the pacing, but I'm not sure how well it works for a monthly floppy. That might end up reading more smoothly in trade, or, if you're like me, in binge reading the stack of floppies when you finally get around to putting a dent in your seemingly endless comics pile.

Interestingly, this is artist V. Ken Marion's first comic with the big two. Prior to this, he's mostly been published through Aspen Comics, including Michael Turner's Soulfire. When you see his art in Bloodlines, it looks like he belongs there at DC. V's art isn't as edgy and gutsy as the likes of Sonny Liew or as polished as Clay Mann, but to compare someone's first outing at a publisher like DC to two veterans of the industry would be a disservice. In Bloodlines, we get glimpses of V playing around with layouts and at least one or two moments in his storytelling that show us he's just getting started.

On a personal note, I got to meet V at the NYCC 2011 creator connection. He'd yet to be published by then, but not only did he show people promising work, he was incredibly positive and optimistic. Since then I've seen him at other conventions as well as Midtown Comics here in NYC. He has so much positive energy I can't even picture him without a smile on his face, and he lives in New York. Crazy, right?  V. Ken Marion is a man who loves comics. He loves working on comics. He understands just how rare it is to get these opportunities, and he's incredibly humbled to be working in comics.

Bloodlines isn't going to change your world, but if you want to support DC's efforts to take chances, if you want the all-too-rare issue #1 from the big two that actually feels like an issue #1, or if you want to support passionate artists like V. Ken Marion, then please consider picking up Bloodlines #1 available now.

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