Oh man, do you smell it folks? Do you smell the cheese? That glorious ’90s EXTREME cheese? That’s right, Image Comics is most certainly proud to present a revival of one of their old earlier ’90s comics, Bloodstrike. Not only that, but it’s by the original creator, Rob Liefeld. There’s only one question to be asked regarding all of this: Is it good?
Bloodstrike #1 (Image Comics)
An unnamed member of Bloodstrike is in a peculiar situation. His entire lower half has been removed and his entrails are sort of hanging out of him. He got caught up in a bad situation during a mission where a bad girl named Tragedy Ann got the drop on him. What will he do?
I’m going to be frank here. I was walking into this comic hoping for something that would be fun in a cheesy bad sort of way. You know, like a lot of Image’s ’90s comics; like Youngblood. The thing about this comic is that it has tiny moments of that where it becomes so stupid it’s downright hilarious (like the lead character somehow chewing through his entire arm, bone and all, in a couple of moments). However, most of the comic isn’t really fun or even enjoyable. It’s just plain bad, gross, immature, and ugly most of time.
The nom nom nom sound effect is just… perfection!
Starting from the top, as a first issue it falls flat on its face. Outside of setting up the goal and aim for the Deadpool lookalike in this beginning, nothing is really all that well established. We barely know anything about the characters, from the Deadpool lookalike to the Cable lookalike to even Bloodwolf (that’s the Lobo classic lookalike). They’re mercenaries and they are not very likeable in any way, shape or form. We don’t have any idea about how the Bloodstrike organization works or the kinds of problems they deal with. We don’t know what the goal of this series will be here or where things will be even heading. Not even hints at backstory are dropped to entice the readers. This is not new reader friendly and I cannot fathom how this will appeal to a new audience who are not familiar with the creator’s past works.
There’s no sense of pacing or structure; the comic just jumps back and forth between characters and times without a care in the world. The dialogue is bland and forgettable, with no line being remotely remarkable or sounding natural. The narration gets way too heavy at points, especially in the opening (several paragraphs worth at least), and the exposition comes across as being very forced. There’s no really sense of character or personality; everyone is an equal sociopath with no charm or intrigue to them. The comic’s ending is abrupt, leaving the story to stop before it even gets really started.
However, what hurts the most is the content and nature of the comic. Bloodstrike does not feel like a return to the ’90s extreme cheese like you would think it be. Heck, the solicit reads as if the comic is almost a parody of the old school comics of the past. The thing is though is that the comic doesn’t feel like a return to old or even a parody. It feels as if Avatar Comics (the comic publisher of such classic titles as Crossed, God is Dead, Dicks, and The Unfunnies) attempted to make an homage to the early ’90s Image comics with Rob Liefeld and their own unique, tasteless, and crude style but failed. What you got here is a comic that is incredibly violent, has pointless and out of place nudity, possibly sexualized violence depending on how you interpret a scene, and a sense of humor that is completely immature and juvenile but not a good way. There’s nothing that comes together right, appearing as if it’s being edgy for the sake of being edgy. Nothing more and nothing less, without a single bit of irony to be found.
The last thing to take note of is the artwork, which if you are familiar with Liefeld’s style… is not particularly good. The musculature is completely off on every single character, no one bends or moves naturally, and apparently the human body has no bones (despite the gore of heads and limbs being chopped off, not a single bone to be seen). The coloring is flat, the action is stilted, and there are barely any backgrounds in most of the pages. It’s what you come to expect from the creator’s style, though it does tend to have some moments of hilarity in how bad it looks. Probably my favorite bits of bad artwork was the scene where not-Deadpool enters the bad guy base and kills two guards, who are always stylized to look like Sin City characters with the use of black and white.
Is It Good?
Bloodstrike #1 is completely and utterly awful and the worst of it was that it wasn’t even so bad it’s good like you would hope. The writing is just terrible; the first issue does a horrible job of being accessible for new audiences, the artwork is garish, and the overall tone and edgy nature of the book makes it into one of the ugliest and most unpleasant experiences I have had reading a comic. There are moments of unintentional hilarity, but I cannot recommend this book in the slightest, even those who are big fans of Rob. If you want fun bad Liefeld comics, check out the remaster first volume of Youngblood that had Joe Casey involved with or even the New 52 Hawk & Dove series.