What happens when a crow goes through the looking glass? I don’t think Lewis Carroll ever figured that one out. But then again, Lewis Carroll never imagined a world like Yharnham, did he? Titan Comics’ Bloodborne #11: A Song of Crows, written by Aleš Kot, with artwork by Piotr Kowalski, colors by Brad Simpson, and letters by Aditya Bidikar, follows “hunter of hunters” Eileen The Crow within the world of Yharnham.
Written from Elileen’s perspective, the first two issues were presented as a series of disjointed memories and hallucinations weaving through time in no discernible order. Haunted by images she cannot place and ghosts she cannot remember, the masked hunter struggled to answer a single question, “When is this?”
Bloodborne #11 provides the answer. But this is Bloodborne we’re talking about here. So of course instead clarifying things with dialogue, monologue, or friendly exposition, the issue plunges the narrative even further into the deep end. “Consciousness is a Lake,” after all, and it’s in this issue that we finally see Eileen plunge into its waters.
There are barely any words in this issue of Bloodborne. In fact, the final word count tallies in at a whopping four. This isn’t to say that nothing happens, far from it.
With only one issue left in the storyline, Kot takes a break from Eileen’s lyrical narration, relying entirely on the book’s visuals to tell its story. It takes a lot of work to pull off a comic like Bloodborne #11. Reading a comic without text is almost like solving a puzzle. You have all the pieces in front of you and they’re even in the right order. The tricky part though is figuring out what these images mean and why they’re laid out as they are. Without text, we search for context. And when it comes to context, this issue delivers.
Alone, Bloodborne #11 looks like a hypnotic bevy of nightmarish images with little rhyme or reason. But instead, this issue actually provides much of the context missing from the first two chapters. What Eileen’s visions mean to her remain unclear, but after two issues of feverish narration, Bloodborne delivers an explanation for why she’s experiencing them. Since this is Bloodborne it does so in the weirdest way possible, but would you have it any other way?
Bloodborne #11 contains some wildly imaginative panel layouts. The lake of consciousness and the mirror images it creates is the central image of the issue. Artist Piotr Kowalski experiments with that theme to great success by mirroring panels, characters, and even entire pages. This book has some entirely symmetrical two pages spreads that are just begging to be made into desktop backgrounds. Kowalski’s illustrations have always been great but these funhouse layouts really let his work shine.
Bloodborne #11 is a gorgeous piece of comic magic, equally mesmerizing as it is horrific. While it doesn’t stand alone as a single issue, it serves as a cornerstone for understanding what has come before. What comes after, only the Old Blood knows.
Bloodborne #11 is available wherever comics are sold.
Bloodborne #11 is a gorgeous piece of comic magic, equally mesmerizing as it is horrific. While it doesn’t stand alone as a single issue, it serves as a cornerstone for understanding what has come before.