01st Oct2015

‘Bloodthirsty #1′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Mark Landry | Art by Ashley Witter | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 48pp

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Mark Landry’s introduction to his 5 issue mini-series Bloodthirsty gives us both the background to himself, a writer of cable movies amongst other skills, and to the subject matter of this book. Central to the book, and to the books main character, are the events of Hurricane Katrina  back in 2005, and the utter devastation it inflicted on both the city and the people of New Orleans. Landry himself is from Louisiana, and as he explains the guilt of not going back to help during those dark days gave him the beginnings of the story for Bloodthirsty.

The prologue for Bloodthirsty starts during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and we follow rescue worker Virgil, hard at work saving people from the flooding. His brother Trey tells him he can’t get hold of their parents and when Virgil rushes home he finds his father dead, and his mother barely alive. Desperately trying to save his mother, he drags her out underwater and sees bodies under the water, all with their throats cut. He nearly dies, but is rescued himself and saved.

We cut ahead 10 years and a disillusioned Virgil, upset with how New Orleans now is, with many people still in a bad way and big companies having taken advantage and now owning most of the city. With a new storm on the horizon, Virgil has decided to leave. He says his goodbyes to his brother, now a scientist, but wants to say goodbye to Mr. Parks, a now homeless man he saved in Katrina who he wants to get to a shelter before the storm hits.. Mr. Parks, though, has disappeared (we soon see to where but Virgil has no idea) and Virgil tries to find him…

From there things soon descend into conspiracy territory, with Virgil’s belief that the levees were deliberately blown during Katrina to hide something seemingly being upheld by homeless going missing, and a very shady insurance company and corporate giant Wolfinger Biomed having taken over New Orleans very cheaply after Katrina. Things further spiral out of control as Virgil’s brother Trey dies in an ‘accident’ working at Wolfinger, Virgil barely survives an encounter with an intruder in Trey’s apartment, and he receives a strange phone message.

Well, you certainly get value for money with this first issue. It’s a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, and if I am honest it just felt too much was thrown at us at once. Just as you digest one piece of information another comes at you, then another, and another… It felt to me as though there was 2 issues worth in material in this one, and that writer Landry was trying to structure it more like a screenplay, where character and plot has far more room to breathe, then had to squeeze it all down. The ’10 years before’  prologue could have been shortened for example. Taking that into account, the writing itself is pretty good, the first person narration by Virgil making it seem that bit more personal, though strangely some important scenes, such as Trey’s death, lack the emotional impact they should have.

The art by Ashley Witter is also pretty good, with nice definition of character and environment. Some nice panel layouts  and realistic character definition, which too often are missing these days. The action flows pretty well, and the little details are all in there.

I guess this a case where the idea and concept was great, but the execution is still lacking a little. The plot advanced, but was hard work as a lot was thrown at the reader in a short space of time. Some scenes could have been shorter, some should have been longer, so pacing needs to be addressed.

There is certainly enough here to make me come back again, but I hope to see improvements when I do.

*** 3/5

Bloodthirsty is out now from Titan Comics.

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