I honestly don’t know what I was expecting. Rob Liefeld is a creator that gets a lot of hate from a lot of people, but I’ve always tried to show him some respect where I can. For all the bad writing and terrible art, the man has produced, he is still the creator of numerous fan-favourite Marvel characters including Deadpool, Cable and many other members of the X-Force team. That being said, this issue is really fucking bad. There is no other way of saying it. Indeed, any hope that this new series could be redemption for Liefeld’s past failings were crushed three pages into this book, where we see Bloodstrike bite his own arm off. Needless to say it’s one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen for a whole range of reasons. Firstly, Bloodstrike is hanging from his arms at the time, and there is literally no way his neck could extend far enough to even graze his arm let alone bite it clean off. Then there’s the big problem that human teeth generally aren’t suited to biting through thick bone, a problem which isn’t even referenced as Bloodstrike chomps through his arm with ease. Following this is six pages of Bloodstrike cutting people’s heads off, while delivering the odd text box-worth of boring exposition along the way.
Things get even weirder when we’re introduced to humanoid alien Bloodwulf; in our first encounter with the character he is entertaining two nameless and naked female prison inmates, who are inexplicably turned on by Bloodwulf in spite of the fact he looks like a grotesque monster. He goes on to literally eat them alive with his razor sharp teeth in a page that I found genuinely quite disturbing. The weirdest thing about the scene is that I think Bloodwulf is supposed to be one of this book’s protagonists (or at least an anti-hero), so I guess we’re supposed to think it’s fine that these two women were brutally murdered by him because they were criminals? Maybe this opinion isn’t extreme enough to be tolerated in one of Liefeld’s books, but I hold the principle that the brutal murder of anyone kind of isn’t ok.
The biggest slap in the face that Liefeld gives to his readers comes at the end of the issue, when it’s revealed that this whole story is about Bloodstrike’s penis. The character had remarked numerous times throughout the issue that it had been cut off and stolen – I assumed it was supposed to be some kind of unfunny running joke. I was wrong. It turns out this arc is all about the danger Bloodstrike’s enemies pose, now that they are in possession of Bloodstrike’s penis which is apparently of some strategic value. This first chapter is finished off with a final page reveal of Bloodstrike’s penis in a jar. It looks like what you’d expect a Rob Liefeld drawing of a dick to look like. A bit weird.
It’s at this point in the review that I’d like to remind everyone of the solicitation for this issue:
“…a lively romp that reveals a more mature side to Liefeld than fans have previously experienced.”
That’s right folks, this is what a mature Rob Liefeld story looks like; generic villains, physically impossible feats being carried out with ease, naked women that exist only to be gruesomely murdered, dicks in jars etc. That is unless the solicitation was some kind of practical joke, a cruel trick on gullible comic-book fans such as myself to make them believe this book could be worth their time.
Liefeld provides the art. If that doesn’t immediately set alarm bells off in your brain then welcome, you must be new to the world of comic-books. But those of you out there who have been reading for some time don’t need me to tell you that Rob Liefeld is not a particularly gifted artist. While this isn’t the worst art he has ever produced (surely nothing can ever top that infamous drawing of Captain America), all of the problems typical of Rob Liefeld artwork are present here; most notably the impossible anatomies and his ongoing struggle with drawing hands and feet.
I don’t know who this comic-book is for; too violent for young children, too stupid for everyone else. In case this review hasn’t made it crystal clear, this is an issue to be avoided at all costs. There is literally no redeeming feature to this embarrassment of a comic-book that quite frankly I’m surprised Image even agreed to publish. These kinds of ridiculous stories are bad for the comic-book medium as a whole, and are part of the reason many non-readers still look down on comics as a lesser form of entertainment. Your $3.99 would be put to better use if you threw it in the sea.