Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Bloodlines #4 Review and **SPOILERS**
The Alien Spine Parasite Club Meets Tuesdays After School
Art By: V. Ken Marion, Sean Parsons, Andrew Dalhouse & Sotocolor
Lettered By: Sal Cipriano
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: July 6, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT BOTTOM**
My high school didn’t have any kind of homecoming. I used to think it was a made-up thing, something used in teen movies and television shows to justify a sporting event and/or dance. I had a friend who went to a more suburban school, and hers did have a homecoming, which I attended once in my senior year. It was…strange, to me at least. People walking around with their faces painted the school colors, rallying cries for whatever the name of that school was erupting spontaneously—I didn’t go to a football game or a dance, mind you, I was just hanging out in her school on the day of these homecoming events. Seeing all these kids with school spirit unnerved me, because in my high school there was a more antagonistic relationship between the institution and many of the students. “School spirit” meant you decided not to piss right in the exit doors’ alcove. And I still don’t know what homecoming is, something to do with alumni, I think? Thanks to the magic of comic books, I get to experience a homecoming of my own—right in this very issue! So read on and see if the school jock is gonna kiss you by the girls’ locker room or whatever!
Let’s see…so far in Bloodlines we’ve seen bloody murder at a teen party in the woods, a mystical slaughter at a children’s birthday party, absolute carnage at an all-night convenience store, so what’s left? A serial killing in an abandoned mental institution…an abandoned, haunted campground will always work in a pinch…I know! Horrific monster evisceration at Pine Ridge High School’s homecoming football game! But first, a quick scene where the creepy girl who killed everyone at that birthday party with the help of a purple, ethereal familiar, is on the floor watching cartoons and eating ice cream, with what looks like an adult couple seated on the couch behind them. But as we reverse the scene we see that they are quite dead with the hearts ripped out of their chests, and the little girl is cackling evilly while her purple people eater is curled up like a li’l kitty behind her. So if you open this book and flip through the first couple of pages, it should be immediately evident as to whether or not it’s going to be for you. I appreciate that.
Cut to Officer Blake lying in bed with Haley, reminiscing on how thoroughly he dicked her down, when he gets out of bed and goes to the window to set up the next scene. Duncan the Bloodlines Monster Hunter is outside in the shadows, and fires a shot directly at Blake. He dives on the bed, rudely waking Haley, and flips the mattress over to protect them just in time because Duncan fucking crashes through the goddamned window and immediately starts firing! I should also note that Haley and Blake are on the second floor. This Duncan guy is so bad-ass, I think the real ultimate power in this series is his steely gaze. Blake and Haley eventually fight back: Blake turns the mattress into a giant piece of Doug Henning’s flash paper or something, and Haley rushes at him with her body claws extended, flinging aside bullets like she once cast of sexually inappropriate comments. She nicks Duncan’s cheek and is about to kill him, but Blake tells her to stop because he’s fucking Duncan and he’s the most amazing character in comic books since the Metropolis Kid. Since the Metropolis Kid!
At Pine Ridge High School, Eddie, Dana and Albert are hanging out in the library, glumly recalling what they learned last issue when they snuck into Albert’s dad’s MRI machine: they each have an alien parasite coiled around their spines that’s giving them bizarre powers. No biggie! Here, we see some of Dana’s old (read: non-Bloodlines powered) friends congratulating her on hanging out with dweebs and establishing that the big homecoming football game is that evening. I mean, being a dweeb myself, I’ve always loved this trope that was so prevalent in the 80s, but is still employed today: the vapid popular girl that learns what really matters by hanging out with the school’s nerds. I’m not sure if I like this more than the nerd girl who turns into a beautiful prom queen once you take off her spectacles, but I would definitely like to see a film or comic book that somehow reconciled the two characters into some believable setting. Later, the Bloodlines Krew (you don’t need to spell correctly when you have murderous powers) are chilling outside the high school’s football stadium while the game goes on—not even smoking cigarettes, mind you—when they hear the crowd’s cheers turn to shrieks and screams, meaning something has gone wrong or the quarterback’s femur snapped and is sticking through his leg again. To find out, the Bloodlines Gang rolls into action!
And this is a pretty cool scene, with them all showcasing their powers against this gigantic, gross monster made up of the bodies of several people, sort of blended together like the shape-changing monster from John Carpenter’s The Thing. Before long, Blake, Haley and Duncan show up (Duncan is, of course, immediately shooting the thing repeatedly) and though they don’t work as a team, it did feel like the story had shifted, and now all of the good Bloodlines heroes know each other. Eddie as the Big Blue Meanie picks up a goalpost from one end of the field and uses it to clobber the flesh beast, but it almost gulps him through osmosis until Haley tears it open with her totally-not-Wolverine’s claws and tells him that he smells like crap as he clambers out of his epidermal prison. Amazingly, the skin monster isn’t dead, even after that, so Dana collects a bunch of electricity and blasts the thing to kingdom come. Then, to ensure we’re all thoroughly grossed out, Eddie and Duncan tear the corpse of this thing apart to extract and destroy the spine parasite. You’ll never hear me say this comic book isn’t gross enough! There’s an epilogue that implies a future story, but I’m not gonna reveal it because I don’t wanna! And you can’t make me!
I just have such a blast with this comic book every month, it all seems to work together perfectly to make the most readable and exciting stupid comic book for dummies I’ve ever known. It’s like several 80s slasher flims mashed into one, with a pinch of Night of the Creeps and just a dollop of Children of the Corn, all baked in a Basket Case oven and served with a side of C.H.U.D. Uh, the metaphor kind of got away from me there, but what I said last issue in this space applies to this issue as well. It’s no better, and no worse, instead it continues exploring the genre adeptly.
Bits and Pieces:
Do you like campy slasher films and with extra gory scenes? No? Well you are in the wrong place. The rest of us enlightened folk can continue to enjoy this series, which is consistently delivering the goods by the gut-filled bucketful. There's a development with the core characters that promises to change the direction of this series, that direction specifically being a ramp up to the cataclysmic and goopy finale, since there's only two issues left to go.