Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bloodlines #3 Review and **SPOILERS**

More Spine-Tingling Than the Tingler!

Written By: J.T. Krul
Art By: V. Ken Marion, Sean Parsons, Andrew Dalhouse & Sotocolor
Lettered By: Sal Cipriano
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: June 1, 2016


I grew up in a mostly Catholic neighborhood, and one thing that grossed me out about the religion was this preponderance on blood. You drink the wine, which turns into blood. All the depictions of crucified Jesus in these churches paid special detail to the wound in his side and the rivulets of blood streaming down from the thorn of crowns placed upon his head. Even the notion that this blood can wash away your sins…who the hell wants to bathe in blood? Witches and warlocks, that’s who, and sixteenth century countesses who thought that wallowing in the plasma of virgins could sustain youth. I mean, blood is gross, no two ways about it, and generally something you want to remain within one’s body. But not comic book fans! We’re so bloodthirsty, we want to see our four-color pages awash in it. Which, incidentally, would be a real money saver. Just print the books in red. Make it super violent and say that blood suffused everything. There you go, comics industry, I just cut your printing costs by seventy-five percent, and you’re welcome. Anyway, I read Bloodlines #3 and wrote a review, which you can read right now!

Explain It!

We ended the last issue with a look at the baddest 90s comics bad-ass that ever bad-assed, Duncan, so let’s open with his Secret Origin: he had to shoot his mutated family with a shotgun in order to keep them from killing him. And that’ll do it! It’s not quite good enough, however, for Officer Blake, who presses in to ask a few more pertinent questions, when Duncan spies a bruise on his collarbone that shows him to be infected with the meteor thingies somehow! He leaps on Blake and threatens to skewer him with a knife, when Blake uses his new BLOODLINES™ powers to turn the knife into energy or something? So Duncan leaps up and fires some rounds at Blake, warning that he will “kill us all,” but shots from the gun of Blake’s partner send Duncan running off to parts unknown. They’ll probably never find him, he’s so inconspicuous.

Meanwhile, at Pine Ridge High School, BLOODLINES™ brothers Eddie and Albert are conversing freely in the halls about their newly-earned powers, and Arthur shows Eddie a video of Dana where she seems to get electrocuted, as depicted in the last issue. Best part of this scene is that Arthur admits to having gleaned gossip about the video when hanging out all invisible in the girls’ locker room. Gives this miniseries a Zapped! vibe that I really appreciate. Eddie and Arthur approach Dana to tell her that she’s down with the BLOODLINES™ crew now, and she’s down because, come on, who wouldn’t want to join forces with a handicapped kid and a Harry Potter-looking nerd?

That evening, at a local gas station, a woman goes to the counter to purchase some soda and chips, when the cashier grabs her arm and goes all tentacle porn on her. Just then, Duncan busts through the window and puts a shotgun shell in his bulging head, then makes a pithy remark before leaving the woman in a state of severe shock. Blake’s partner is on the scene after the fact, because those two are the only two cops in Pine Ridge apparently, but Blake isn’t there because he’s calling on his old gal pal Haley, the bad-ass tattooed mechanic who can shoot knifey spikes out of her skin. She eventually lets Blake in but recoils from his touch, afraid to skewer his hand with her BLOODLINES™ powers, but then he shows that he can do funky energy stuff to…a cell phone, I think? So since she showed her his, she shows off her best Swiss Army Knife impression and then they hug because I guess Blake forgot that she is shooting blades out of her skin.

At the local hospital, the BLOODLINES™ gang uses Arthur’s doctor dad’s connections to gain access to the MRI machine and do scans of their bodies to see if swallowed gum really does stick to the walls of your stomach for years. Eddie goes into the MRI, and Arthur is able to see that some kind of parasite has wrapped itself around his spine and is inching towards his brain! Suddenly these creepy, mysterious super powers don’t seem like so much fun. Hearing that he’s got a manta ray in his back, Eddie naturally freaks out and turns into the blue Hulk, who smashes the MRI machine to bits. This causes Dana to also transform, for some reason, and she turns blue too, though her hair turns into a Maxie Zeus fart. Arthur then postulates that these cool things implanted in their bodies might not be so cool after all, since it seems first they control your body—then they control your mind!!! Which…is backwards, isn’t it? I mean, if you control the body, who cares if you control the mind? So the poor bastard doesn’t like being manipulated, boo hoo. I’m the parasite coiled around your spinal column, you’ll go to Burger King when I tell you to. And I think I want you to go right now. Oh yeah. I don’t care what you like, you’re eating a Triple Whopper!™
Oh yeah. This is happening next issue.
This issue had a more 90s comics look than the previous two, and it plays well for this violent science fiction drive-in fare. There were a couple of good comedy moments here, and a good gory scene or two, but—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—I think it could have been more violent and needlessly gory. I don’t normally seek such things out, but in this fairly mindless Invasion of the Body Snatchers homage could use a little more bloodshed and bone-breaking. I mean, this is BLOODLINES™ after all, I didn’t come here to watch two people hugging!

Bits and Pieces:

Here at the halfway mark, if you haven't realized this is a bit of a love letter to eXtreme 1990s comics, then you've missed the point. The art style, the character convenience, the gratuitous all makes me want to slam a Mountain Dew and go see Rage Against the Machine! What's that? They're touring again? With Chuck D from Public Enemy and B-Real from Cypress Hill? That sounds awesome! What are they calling themselves? The Traveling Wilburys??? I'm so old.


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