While the first issue of Bloodstrike opened with a ludicrous scene in which the titular character bit his own arm off, this second issue opens with an equally ridiculous and impossible accomplishment. Professor Night (a not-so-subtle allegory of Batman) somehow manages to front-flip very high in the air, in spite of the fact that he’s strapped to a chair leaving him in no position to do a small hop let alone a five-foot high leap. Upon successfully landing the flip, Professor Night proclaims: ‘You didn’t think this chair would limit my mobility, did you?” Well, yes actually. I get that one half of fiction is the reader’s suspension of disbelief, but that only stretches so far before things loop round and you’re pulled out of the story with the realisation that what you’re witnessing is utterly absurd. Perhaps you could excuse such nonsense if the story was just a little engaging, but frankly it really isn’t. So what exactly is Bloodstike about? Good question! The book’s story is largely incoherent, but regardless of that fact let’s put everything we know on the table and see if we can’t piece some vague plot together.
- Someone has stolen Bloodstrike’s penis, which apparently is of some strategic value.
- A crazy woman who I don’t know the name of wants Professor Night’s brain in order to operate the so-called ‘behemoth’ that she’s built. Maybe she has Bloodstrike’s penis?
- Bloodstike himself is killing a load of generic villains alongside Cabbot Stone, a man he worked with in the past. Inexplicably, Stone and Bloodstrike start fighting each other afterwards so I guess they’re like frenemies?
- People are selling super-abilities given to them by the people who created Bloodstrike, but seemingly that isn’t a huge problem because a lot of them were brutally killed in this issue.
I guess that’s one of the most annoying things about this book; there are no consequences for anything, nor is there any sense of high stakes or tension. Bloodstrike easily cuts through every adversary sent his way, and each scene feels disconnected from the last. The final page reveal this month (spoilers, but you really shouldn’t care about spoilers for this garbage), is hideous womanizer Bloodwulf punching a hole straight through Bloodstrike’s chest. I guess you could make a case for that being a high stakes, high tension scene, but you know that Liefeld is just going to come up with some bullshit next issue which will restore Bloodstrike back to perfect health. Then the random acts of violence will continue for another twenty pages! Hooray!
There are no characters in this book. No one is developed, and no one has a personality – except for maybe Bloodstrike himself, who has apparently adopted the persona of “bargain bin Deadpool.” It’s strange that Liefeld, who created Deadpool, can’t for the life of him successfully write a Deadpool-style character. This is most evident in the parts where Liefeld falls for the old trope of having Bloodstrike explain everything he’s doing while he’s doing it. There’s the obvious issue that excessive dialogue makes the fight scenes clunky as hell, but the worse thing for me is that the narration is clearly trying to be amusing yet every line falls flat on its face. Indeed, Bloodstrike quickly becomes annoying, an unwelcome presence in his own comic-book and that is never a good sign.
Liefeld continues to demonstrate his shaky understanding of the word mature in this issue; he seems to genuinely believe that all a comic-book needs to be considered mature is lots of graphic violence and a bunch of rude words. Who needs a coherent story when you got some f-bombs, right? Ironically, this has the opposite effect and makes the book feel very juvenile; Liefeld himself comes across like a child saying curse words for the first time, thrilled by the novelty of sounding like a grown-up without being told off. Liefeld takes time to make fun of himself at one point in this book, where Bloodstrike remarks that he’s embarrassed for whoever thought Deadlock’s costume was a good idea given that it’s essentially bad Wolverine cosplay. He’s not wrong, and indeed this moment feels like Liefeld briefly touching down with reality before veering back into his delusions of grandeur.
Indeed, the only notable thing about this second instalment is that it answered the question I asked in my review of the first. In that review, I questioned who this comic-book is for due to it being too violent for young children and too stupid for everyone else. Well now I know who this comic is for: Rob Liefeld. It’s clear from the back-matter in this issue that Liefeld genuinely believes this is a great comic-book, and it’s clear from the reviews that he’s the only one. I don’t want to be a bully, and I don’t enjoy taking something someone has made and ripping it to shreds. But honestly, I can’t get away from the fact that this is a book that should never have been made. It simply doesn’t belong in our time; it’s nothing but a remnant from an age of comic-books that most people would like to forget. It fails even to cross into ‘so bad its good’ territory, and the fact that the first issue outsold a plethora of far superior books is genuinely quite saddening to me. Don’t buy Bloodstrike, not even as a joke.