Saturday, July 17, 2004

Bloodstone #1

(This review was originally published at Comic Book Galaxy, and is posted here for safekeeping)

By Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Michael Lopez, abdScott Hanna
Published by Marvel Comics

Not enough comics out there about half-naked women killing monsters, you say? Well, then wait no longer! Elsa Bloodstone takes her first awkward steps towards fulfilling her father's legacy in Bloodstone #1, "Blood Runs Thicker...".

Elsa Bloodstone, an irreverent and feisty young girl with a wisecrack for every situation (because we don't have enough of those in mainstream comicdom) and a desperate need to reveal her belly button whenever possible, is the daughter of the late Ulysses Bloodstone; world-famous monster-hunter. Having never met her father and accustomed to being dragged across the world by a mother who has a tough time keeping a job, Elsa keeps herself sane with a lively sense of humor which is sometimes charming, sometimes cute, and sometimes makes you want to reach into the page and smack her upside the head. When Elsa and her mother first come to Ulysses's former home in order to see what they can auction off, Elsa is completely ignorant of her late father's adventures. Her only clues are the fitful dreams she's been having in which she finds herself cutting through hordes of vampires, and the simple fact that if your dead father has things like glowing skulls and embalmed internal organs lying around the house, there's a good chance he was into something a bit more risque' than telemarketing.

Bloodstone is definitely a fun read. Lopez's art keeps the cartoonish feel of the comic going, though the action sequences could use a little work. There's a page in which Elsa is punching the flaming head off a vampire (actually, this is one of Elsa's aforementioned dreams), and it took me more than a few flips through the pages to realize she had actually punched his head off, and that the guy didn't just have a really small, weird looking head.

I should point out that this dream sequence was a wonderful idea. A lot of times, origin issues fall flat on the action side of things because the main character is still wet behind the ears and it just wouldn't be believable to have them drop-kicking hordes of bad guys right away. This was an original way to give us some action right off the bat, while at the same time showing us what Elsa will be capable of once her origin is unraveled.

The scripting is funny, giving the title a big goof appeal, but unfortunately a lot of the humor seems forced. Maybe I'm just too old, but this is the main turn-off for me as far as this title is concerned. Well, that and some of the teenybooper dialogue ("It's not Haunted," "It SO is!"). If these elements could just be turned down a little bit, while maybe showing us some more of Elsa's softer, sensitive side, I would definitely add Bloodstone to my list of wanted monthly titles. I just can't relate to a character when half the time I want someone very big to paste some very strong adhesive material to her lips.

If you like your dark comics to be a bit more light-hearted than most, pick up a copy of Bloodstone #1. It won't hurt. I promise.

Just remember, I warned you about the whole "wanting to smack her upside the head" thing.

--Mick Martin

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