Written by Mark Landry | Art by Richard Pace | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp
Bloodthirsty has been a pretty enjoyable read up to now. Nicely plotted storylines, decent character development, a slightly surreal blend of action and horror all topped off with a side helping of social conscience and political comment. Seriously, what more could you ask for from a funny book? I have especially enjoyed the text pieces that follow the story, all factual and all written about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans and all by people with a direct connection and link to those events. It gives the fictional events of the story a real world context, a nice and somewhat unique touch.
Although there have been a few little detours along the way, the story arc has essentially shown us the transformation of Virgil from victim to hero, from bystander to do-gooder. It took a tragic event, his brother’s death, to force his hand but since then he has been working hard to uncover the conspiracy behind the running of New Orleans, the secrets of the corrupt elite in charge who quite literally are sucking the life blood out of the city’s inhabitants. Last issue left us with multiple problems to face this time around; a new hurricane bearing down on the city, thousands trapped by uber-baddy Wolfinger in his sports arena, and Virgil being injected with the blood formula he was trying to destroy. I was genuinely looking forward to seeing how this all panned out.
First impression was a little underwhelming to be honest. The hurricane is hitting at the start of the issue but Virgil, although injected, is rescued and escapes, and the people have all escaped the Dome they were prisoners in. A tad anti-climactic, or so it seemed at first. The hurricane then intensifies and New Orleans begins to flood again, the corrupt New Orleans Police fail to drive everyone back in the Dome when it is blown up by the sacrifice of a sometime friend of Virgil’s, and Virgil realises it’s now or never for both the city’s inhabitants and to defeat Wolfinger.
Scripter Landry nicely switches between Virgil’s personal battle against Mother Taneesha and Wolfinger, and the inhabitants battle to take back their pride, to take back their city. Landry weaves his by now expected socio-political commentary in broader strokes, firmly placing the blame on authority in general, authority that through neglect or corruption allows bad people and organisations to do bad things. Wolfinger is a personification of the elite who sneer at the poor, and when Virgil kills him by biting his neck and drinking his blood, it is a grand irony. Landry links the ending to the beginning nicely, as Virgil fights and kills Wolfinger in the water just as his story started in the waters a decade ago.
Although Bloodthirsty #5 lacked some of the more thoughtful moments of previous installments, it was an enjoyable pedal to the floor rollercoaster of a last issue. Plenty of action, and Virgil’s personal redemption and transformation into the hero New Orleans needs. Sure, he’s a, ahem, vampire of sorts but he’s a good one and his friends at the hospital can keep him supplied with plenty of the good red stuff to keep his focus. The epilogue at the end not only ties up neatly the threads of this story, but hint at future things to come, things we will hopefully get to see. Richard Pace’s art was excellent throughout, really carried the strength of the storm through the pages, and handled the action really well too.
On balance, a very good series but one that perhaps just failed to deliver on its great promise at the outset. That’s not a serious criticism, but just that as entertaining and thought provoking as it began, for me it didn’t fully carry through with characters we thought we’d see more of.
Maybe next time. I’ll be ready and waiting.
Bloodthirsty #5 is available now from Titan Comics