By Dustin Cabeal
Since starting Comic Bastards, I have read more comics than I will ever remember in my life. Things tend to fall into categories, and I’m not referring to drama, comedy, superhero. Instead, it’s things like, an event happens, and everyone has superpowers. Which is where I would place Blood Brothers. This is by no means a bad thing, and it’s often a genre I enjoy because the only way the story is successful is by having interesting characters. The world is by default interesting, but that doesn’t necessarily ensure there’s a story to read.
I tend to enjoy Fabian Rangel Jr.’s comics, his Doc Unknown was a great find, and Blood Brothers feels like the spiritual successor to it. What’s hard, to sum up about this comic is what it does quite well, which is introducing the world, the characters and The Break that changed everything. It follows brothers that work on the police force together, but this is after an event that has given the world gifts. Every variety and flavor you can think of, but the main brother we follow seems the least affected by this. He does have a terrible scar and can talk to the dead which helps him in his detective work. His brother dresses like a Luchador which may be something he’s stuck wearing or he just upholds the traditions and never takes off his mask. It’s too early in the story to tell. Eventually, they’re called to a case, and they find out that the stolen object was tied to their missing father. A little predictable in that it keeps them invested in the case for personal reasons, but it works and expands the history of the world at the same time.
What shines in this story other than the aspects above, is the dialogue. Personally, I love how seamlessly Rangel mixes English and Spanish throughout the story. You can live in your bubble and pretend that people don’t talk that way, but I live in L.A., and it was refreshing to read a comic that resonates with everyday life. Granted I do favor this more being that my wife is Hispanic and we have a son we’re teaching to be bilingual so he can enjoy both sides of his family. The dialogue gave me great joy because I understood it all, but it was very realistic, even in this fantasy world. I hope that Spanish-speaking comic readers will check out this book because how well done this aspect is handled. They’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find an entertaining story as well.
The artwork is the only part of the comic that struggles some. While the characters and the design of the world manage to be very strong, the backgrounds are flat and bland throughout most of the comic. There’s not much in the way of detail when it comes to the backgrounds which is a shame because it would have elevated this story that much more. There are some scenes in which the backgrounds are good, but overall, they tend to be weaker than the rest of the artwork.
Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the lettering, the font looked to carefree to match the tone of the book, and there were several instances in which the words broke out from a normally sized word balloon leaving me to wonder why it was even in a word balloon, to begin with? There was another scene in which something shocking is happening to the main characters, but the lettering didn’t give any inflection to the situation. Unless it was meant to be deadpan, but the expression on the character didn’t match. Usually, I don’t talk about the lettering unless it’s supporting the book in a good way, but here it does start to negatively affect the reading experience as you continue through the story.
While it’s not a perfect issue, it is one of the best first issues I’ve read in many months. It’s very successful in setting up the world and establishing the potential for future mini-series with different mysteries. A lot of stories try to do that, but rarely maintain the focus of what they’re doing to ensure that a reader wants to come back for more. I will be looking forward to more Blood Brothers.
Blood Brothers: Hermanos de Sangre #1
Creators: Fabian Rangel, Jr. & Javier Caba
Writer: Fabian Rangel, Jr.
Artist: Javier Caba
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment