I’ve been a huge fan of Bloodborne since it came out back in 2015. I was entranced by the visceral violence against a gothic Victorian backdrop. Sprinkle in some Lovecraftian themes and the experience became unmissable. Since then, there has been little news of a sequel. However, thanks to the creative team of writer Ales Kot, artist Piotr Kowalski, colorist Brad Simpson, and letterer Aditya Bidikar, Bloodborne: The Healing Thirst, from Titan Comics, serves as an excellent follow-up series.
The land of Yharnam is sick. People are dying of a disease known as the ashen blood. To make matters worse, others seem to be transforming into strange beastly creatures. A doctor named Alfredius seeks to find the cause of this sickness and these transformations, hoping to find a cure. He is joined by Clement, a young priest from the Healing Church. Working together, in secret, the two run illicit experiments in an attempt to save their homeland. But, as they work, they uncover dangerous secrets and a plot that could threaten the lives of everyone in Yharnam.
The script, by Ales Kot is tight. Though the action is infrequent, and much of the violence happens off-panel it remains interesting. Despite the brutality of this comic’s namesake, this story serves as more of a mystery. The mission of two men in opposing professions and beliefs who have found common cause. The dialogue is well-written and the pacing is excellent.
Despite being a licensed work, Kot does a great job of making an accessible story that is front-loaded with just enough of the game’s vernacular that we understand the setting, while not being overwhelming. That Kot can maintain an interesting plot while focusing much of the early text to the journal entries of it’s protagonists is a testament to his ability as an author.
Artist and colorist Piotr Kowalski and Brad Simpson compliment Kot’s script with their excellent panels. The gothic aesthetic is brought to the page beautifully by Kowalski. Full pages of art depicting locales seen in the video game help bring a familiarity to the series.
Meanwhile, Simpson’s colors help to enhance the visual storytelling by showing the stark contrasts in the muted exteriors and more vivid bright interiors, as if to show that the world itself is sucking the life out of those in it. The lettering, from Aditya Bidikar, helps to portray the inner monologues of the story’s protagonist, as well as showing dialogue in a manner that enhances the artwork on the page.
As a fan of Bloodborne, I am ecstatic to have been able to review this book. The script, art, colors, and lettering all capture the feeling and atmosphere of one of my favorite games. The creative team has done an excellent job of bringing the game to life on the page. Even if you aren’t a fan of the game series, I would gladly recommend this comic.
Bloodborne: The Healing Thirst trade paperback will be available in stores on April 30th, 2019
Rating: 5/5 Vials of the Old Blood