Alien parasites have flooded a small town, and bad things are about to happen… Your Major Spoilers review of Bloodlines #2 awaits!
Previously in Bloodlines: In 1993, DC Comics’ summer crossover event was a massive alien invasion, where seven parasites modeled on the Seven Deadly Sins attacked and bit dozens of innocent people. A few were given super-powers by the ordeal, and were referred to as ‘New Bloods’, eventually coming together as a team (sort of) to defeat the aliens once and for all. Most of these characters were subsequently treated as jokes, nuisances or both, and many of them were murdered for effect during Infinite Crisis and others. Only Hitman made any real impact, and even he was killed in action and has not been revived in the newly minted Post-Flashpoint universe.
CLUMSY AND OVERLY FAMILIAR
We open with a funeral service, one where the minister in charge is telling a very strange anecdote about Christmas, for some reason, with flashbacks to several people being bitten by tiny alien parasites. Each of the characters shown gets a little time in this issue: Eddie, who keeps finding himself turning blue and swollen; video blogger Dana, who is suddenly shooting lightning; alternatchick Haley, whose body is sprouting razorsharp implements; Blake, who somehow detonates his beer; and schoolkid Faith, who (as seen on the cover) can summon a massive ectoplasmic monster. They are clearly new versions of Loose Cannon, Sparx, Razorsharp, Gunfire and Anima, and a character who is probably Geist appears briefly as well, with a final page character reveal of yet another player, whose role is uncertain. Anyone who has seen the first season of ‘Heroes’ will find many familiar beats in this issue, with three or four “My god, how can this be happening?” moments on display, and very little in the way of character development to be had.
NOT MY FAVORITE ART
There’s not a lot in the way of plot this issue, just several vignettes of people realizing that they have powers and the gruesome murder of a party full of children, ending with a couple of moments that are clearly meant to be dramatic stingers, but fall flat without any context. Upon seeing the cover, I thought this the work of Brett Booth, as Marion & Parsons share the same penchant for exaggerated hands and feet, large heads and massive eyes. The facial expressions in this issue are mostly dull surprise and wide-eyed shock, with little subtlety, and aside from a nice half-page shot of Loose Cannon saving himself from a wipeout on a skateboard, there isn’t a lot to love visually. The storytelling from panel-to-panel is loose at best, and certain sequences require multiple reads to figure out what’s going on and who is being featured. Even the coloring is problematic, with a strangely muted palette that might be designed to emphasize horror working against the cartoonish drawings, making what might be moments of shock or terror merely annoying. Worst of all, this issue’s big cliffhanger moment is a mysterious grizzled warrior walking into frame and declaring the end of the world, one of the most ridiculous and overblown cliches in comics.
THE BOTTOM LINE: NOT THE FIX THEY WANTED
In short, if you’re a fan of the original Bloodlines characters and were hoping this saga will be their big chance, I’m afraid there’s disappointment in your future. Bloodlines #2 is a real mess from start to finish, lurching from character to character without any real sense of cohesion or design, counting on knowledge of the previous iterations of these characters, and engaging in utterly terrible, cliche dialogue, earning a very disappointed 1.5 out of 5 stars overall. A book this bad doesn’t come around every day, Faithful Spoilerites, and my advice is avoid this one at all costs…