Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Blood Syndicate Season One #2 Review

The Mean Streets Have Gotten Meaner

Written by: Geoffrey Thorne
Art by: ChrissCross
Colors by: Juan Castro
Letters by: Wil Quintana
Cover art by: Dexter Soy
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: June 14, 2022

Blood Syndicate #2 sets the streets on fire when Hannibal returns home to find his family is as unaccepting as ever, his baby mamma is as unaccommodating as ever, and his old gang is as unrelenting as ever. Hannibal soon finds the percolating gang war is about to get the heat turned up when his personal life is crashing down.

Was It Good?

Blood Syndicate #2 keeps the story flowing as Hannibal's life, after his military homecoming, seems to be falling around his ears. His religiously legalistic father makes any hope of a warm greeting impossible. The mother of Hannibal's son isn't up for visitation after Hannibal's extended absence in the military and his surprising conversion to Muslim. And the Blue Street Gang is gathering all its members, including Hannibal, the make preparations to own the city. A lot is going on, and none of it portends good things for Hannibal.

The highlight of the issue is Thorne's tireless effort to infuse the story with authenticity in Hannibal's broken relationships and the street/gang life reasserting itself in Hannibal's life. The superhero elements are barely a factor in this issue as it's all about giving readers a clear sense of how things have devolved in Hannibal's absence and how hard he'll need to work if he wants to live out a peaceful, post-military life.

The art by CrissCross is very good in this issue. The character designs are memorable, which is a compliment when you don't have characters with flashy super costumes. and Castro's coloring is excellent. Despite the lack of superhero wow moment, there's plenty of dramatic acting and movement to keep readers engaged.

However, the main down point is the profuse amount of mixed slang and Spanish that drags the reading to a crawl in some spots. It's authentic language, but it's slow reading, and the pacing takes a big hit because you have to slow down (and sometimes translate) what's being said.

The second down point is the lack of emotional connection to the main character. Hannibal is going through a rough time in rough circumstances surrounded by rough people, but it's clear from the flashback and dialog exposition that Hannibal is just as rough. There's no endearing quality or hidden heart of gold under Hannibal's tough exterior to get behind. He's not a hero. Not yet, anyway, so there isn't much reason to care what happens to him. Until there's some emotional motivation to connect the reader with the main character, the story feels like random people doing mildly interesting things.

Bits and Pieces:

Blood Syndicate #2 does an excellent job of laying out how the main character's life has fallen apart since he left for the military. The art, particularly the coloring, is excellent, and the story feels authentically grounded. That said, the main character doesn't give readers a reason to get emotionally invested in his journey, and the dialog is a chore to get through in spots.


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