PopCultHQ received a preview copy of BLOOD BLISTER #1 from AfterShock Comics. Hitting retailers on New Comic Book Day, Wednesday, February 1st, the creative team for this series features writing from co-creator Phil Hester, with pencils from co-creator Tony Harris, inks by Eric Layton, colors from Guy Major, and letters by Dave Sharpe.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of the premiere issue of…
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
BLOOD BLISTER #1
Right off the bat, you get a pretty good idea of the type of person we’re dealing with in Brandon Hull. He’s a well-groomed, fast-talkin’, slick lawyer who is only in it for himself and the money. But this narcissistic smooth-talker is about to confront his own demons and head down a horrific path to Sinville. After a business meeting that didn’t turn out as Brandon had hoped, his cockiness and prickhead swagger was on full display as he strutted through the city. So self-consumed, so self-absorbed that he shoves a street panhandler quoting prophecies (though some were from Highlander).
I have to say that the choice of giving Brandon this type of persona and this interaction with the homeless gentleman is very poignant and actually affected me in a way that I know the writer hadn’t planned. I look at Brandon, and though I’ve never been this arrogant or conceited or selfish, I admit I’ve had times in my past (my younger days) were I felt I was better than someone or looked at someone who was homeless in a disgusting manner. I’m not proud of it but I was young. But I’ve spent time since then on the other end of that spectrum, as the one who is homeless, just looking for someone to listen to them and give them a chance. At calling out to God because you’ve lost everything and there’s nowhere else to turn. At being ashamed and embarrassed about being homeless and severely humbled every time you had to ask someone for a little help. So I guess all this is to say that though that scene may not have been intended to be a prominent moment in the comic, that character interaction was a very reflective moment for me and I took a deeper look at the “us vs. them” or “I’m better than..” or “You’re beneath me…” scenarios and it’s something magical about a comic book when it can create that.
There’s a point where that homeless man kept calling out at Hull, saying “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon would be either wealth or riches, or possibly even an obsession for material things. Basically what many religious would consider serving/worshiping a false idol. Though it could easily be overlooked by the casual reader, I have a feeling this will prove even more significant down the road and quite likely is the catalyst for what’s about to transpire.
I really don’t want to go too much more into it as I feel it’s something that will definitely be better experienced (go get a copy!). I will say this as far as what you can expect from the premiere issue: A dark, twisted look at sin coming back to haunt you in the worst way. Artwork that is very mystifying and expressive. A story you want to continue to read. Period.
The thing I immediately recognized was how well Phil Hester’s story was laid out. It progressed beautifully and delivered a tremendous amount of backstory within this first issue. Like I mentioned earlier, Hull’s treatment of the homeless man was very powerful for me and gave this issue a lot more heart. Hester’s delivery, scene changes, and quality of the narrative is reminiscent of Frank Miller in the late 80s and early 90s (The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City books and era). I can’t express how excited I am at finding out where this book is headed. This issue alone has made me a fan of Phil Hester and I’ll be picking up more of his written works. Boom. Just like that.
Artist Tony Harris has penciling duties and he has his hands full. Harris has created a great look and feel to the characters, but what’s fun to watch as a reviewer singling out each creator and their contributions to the issue, is when you start dealing with the occult, the fantastic, the mystical, or magical types of stories. This is when it can be pretty cool watching the artist get expressive. Bro, some of the images in here were tripping me out. Like I had to step away from the laptop. Tony Harris is an extremely creative artist and I expect to see some more devilish good panels from him in BLOOD BLISTER.
Eric Layton’s inks are superb. Love the bold, cutting feel on Brandon and his attire. Layton does a tremendous job at establishing great depth in scenes. The issue starts heading down a darker path, and it looks like dark times ahead for BLOOD BLISTER the series, so Eric will have his work cut out for him. But with a solid performance here, I’m looking forward to what he may add to future issues.
Guy Major’s colors work brilliantly in adding to the disturbingly haunting images found in BLOOD BLISTER. There’s a certain tone or aura or vibe that you get from Hester’s story. Though Harris and Layton are spot on with their depictions of the scenes and characters, it’s Major who helps bring that tone/aura/essence to the forefront. I love the blue/green/purple hues throughout which will continue to carry the story well through panel after panel. <— that made sense in my head but re-reading it I’m questioning it, but like 60/40 so it’s staying.
I knew prior to reading BLOOD BLISTER that the lettering would be on point. Dave Sharpe is making quite a name for himself across a number of publishers. He always has a keen eye for dialog placement and it’s evident in this issue. There are a number of panels that are oddly-shaped or uniquely laid out and Sharpe handles it like a pro. Not only does he provide solid work to any title, he also respect the artists’ work and integrity when it comes to placement. Very admirable!
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
BLOOD BLISTER #1 is bursting with greatness. The writing, and its timing of delivery, make this a powerhouse of a debut. The story is unique, the art is mesmerizing, and has a very intriguing premise that you’ll sadistically crave by the last page. While many books give you the impression of having vast potential due to the characters in that title’s “universe” or some of the dynamics which make for possibly great storytelling, BLOOD BLISTER will be successful because it’s more centralized and focused intimately with our lead Brandon Hull. This is going to give Hester a prime opportunity to show his range and depth as a writer by delving deep into his compelling story and to this main character. Overall, this was a great total package produced by the creative team and just like other AfterShock titles, it stands to set itself apart from what’s currently out there.
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
BLOOD BLISTER #1 can be pre-ordered NOW on ComiXology,
or at your local comic shop and various online retailers on February 1st!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Lettering Course: http://www.comicsexperience.com/course/comic-book-lettering-production/