There is one reason and one reason only for me checking out Bloodthirsty… Ashley Witter. Probably my favorite artist currently and the best find of 2015. Her work on Squarriors is amazing, but that led me to finding all of her work which is just beautiful. That’s the biggest thing Bloodthirsty has going for it, it’s a beautiful damn comic book. The story is best described as a Hurricane Katrina conspiracy story. That’s where the issue begins, in the aftermath of Katrina following our main character Virgil. He’s part of the Coast Guard and he’s rescuing people via helicopter non-stop. His brother is safe with him, but they still haven’t found his parents which sends him rushing to his house. He dives in and swims up to the attic to find his father already dead and his mother seconds away from joining him. He attempts to save her, but ultimately doesn’t have the air to do so. While drowning he sees a massive amount of bodies floating in the water with their necks all slit.
The story moves to the future. Virgil breaks down the lay of the land for us. Insurance companies have screwed everyone over and a big corporation has swooped in and bought all the land… ripped from the headlines pretty much. Virgil is getting ready to leave before the next big super storm is supposed to hit. This one is supposed to be bigger than Katrina and he can’t stick around and watch more people die. He’s all set to leave when he gets the call that his brother has been killed meaning his one and only family member left, is now gone. But there seems to be more to his death and a strange call from his brother’s cell phone basically confirms it.
The art is amazing. The only problem is that it really needed more pages to work its magic or a better script. Having seen Witter’s work elsewhere, I can tell you that she wasn’t given enough room to breathe and really go at the story from a visual standpoint. It feels like she followed the script and that’s a waste of her talents. In Squarriors, she commands the narrative with her visuals. The dialogue and narrative support her art, but here its vice versa.
That brings me to the story. The narration was too much. Virgil never stops narrating. He tells us everything and leaves hardly anything for the art to show. On top of the excessive narration that didn’t actually help the story, there was an abundance of dialogue and lot of it is unrealistic. Now I know it’s a trending subject in the media right now about whether or not people can trust the police, but the police officer we meet in this issue is beyond unreasonable. He’s aggressive and abuses his power while having Virgil verify his dead brother’s body. The entire scene is unbelievable because Virgil’s narration has built up how much he loves his brother and yet he’s just like, “yup he’s dead now.” The thing is, the art could have shown his emotions, but not really because Virgil and the cop never stop talking. Hard to believe he’d breakdown when he’s “on the case” already. There’s an interesting story here, but it’s being suffocated by the narration and dialogue.
I really wanted to like this issue. I liked the concept and the of course the art, but the narration and dialogue make it pretty damn impossible to enjoy. It’s getting a mid-range score from me, but that’s all because of the art. Hell on its own I give the art a perfect score, but that’s not how we review around here so it gets what it gets. It’s only a five issue mini-series so I’ll continue to check it out, but I have a feeling not much is going to change with the narration in the next four issues.
Bloodthirsty: One Nation Under Water #1 Writer: Mark Landry Artist: Ashley Witter Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/30/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital