Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #1 Advanced Review: A Not So Ordinary Family
Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #1
is the first part of a five issue mini-series and is a continuation to the DC Comics series Bloodhound
, which only lasted ten issues. After this issue... I feel the need to track down those ten issues.
This story stars ex-cop Travis Clevenger, a.k.a. Clev. He consults with FBI agent Saffron Bell on superhuman cases. His consultations are the only reason he's allowed outside of a maximum security cell since he was sentenced to twenty years in prison for killing his partner.
This last little detail isn't mentioned in the story but in the pre-summary. I wish it was in the story so I could say the issue does a perfect job getting us up to speed on the set-up. But with that one tidbit aside, writer Dan Jolley (Prototype 2
) does a great job getting the readers up to speed about the status quo and leaves enough questions to the point where you can still understand this story but want to go hunt down the previous series to learn more about these characters and their history.
This simple concept has some underused ideas that I'm looking forward to seeing come to fruition. The family dynamic is one of them. As a parole, Clev can only spend so much time with his sister (not his wife, a simple swap I like) and her two children. Each child is very distinct. We have a younger girl who loves her uncle and a teenager who hates him. This not so ordinary family has tensions in it that I'd like to see build in future issues. Saffron's character is also established, first with an interesting conversation between her and a friend named Kelly, then by her interactions with Clev.
The superhuman of this issue is also interesting and you feel bad for what he's going through. He's also responsible for all of the action in this series and is involved in some cataclysmic moments. His confrontation with Clev adds to both their characters and is a tense situation when you realize Clev doesn't have any powers. He's also responsible for making a recent scientific breakthrough sound all the more enticing. I won't spoil what that breakthrough is, but it adds another interesting new element into the story.
The artwork has one quality to it which is very impactful on the reader. Artists Leonard Kirk (X-Files
) and Robin Riggs (Supergirl
) draw great expressions on faces. They work so well writer Jolley doesn't need to use any dialogue to establish how characters feel about each other. Even though Clev's sister is drawn poorly in the background on the first page we see her in, we can make out her smile and feel her warmth towards Clev, just like how we can see the annoyance on her face when Saffron comes and cuts their visit short. During the same moment we can also see the regret on Saffron's face. It really helps add some character development. The rest of the art style is lacking. Backgrounds are often roughly sketched and when characters are far away Riggs and Kirk don't bother drawing in their faces so they look like mannequins. The lines on characters faces often make them hard to look at.
This issue surprised me. I wasn't a fan of the art but I love how amidst the murderer and super humans there is a family full of characters that I'm interested in learning more about. The story itself is simple but interesting. It doesn't take a lot of thought to enjoy and I like that sometimes. If you're interested in the storyline, check it out. Except for a lot of the artwork, you won't be disappointed.
UPDATE: On Dan Jolley's website he pointed out how... well, I think he said it best: "Samantha and Nicole's reviews are also positive, or at least mostly positive, but both reviewers interpret Clev's relationship with Trish and her daughters as something very different from the actual story. And you know whose fault that is? Mine. ...But Nicole and Samantha had not read any of that material, so when Michelle calls Clev "Uncle," both reviewers took it to mean that Trish was either Clev's sister or his sister-in-law. That's not the case. Trish was the wife of Clev's former partner -- the partner Clev killed, which sent him to prison. Not only that, but Clev and Trish had also been having a long-standing affair, and Michelle is Clev's biological daughter, a fact that neither of Trish's kids knows. Looking back over CROWBAR MEDICINE #1, is there any way for brand-new readers to know that? ...Nope." While this is a big problem in this issue for new readers, I want to thank Dan Jolley for not only taking the time to read my review but also for adressing this issue. You can read his full article here.