REVIEW: ‘Dark Blood,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dark Blood #1

Dark Blood #1 is the beginning of a new series written by Latoya Morgan with illustrations by Walt Barna, colors by A.H.G., and letters by AndWorld Design. The story, published by BOOM! Studios is that of a former WWII pilot who, after a run-in with white hecklers, finds a great power awakened within him.

Dark Blood #1 is very much an introductory issue. There’s not much in the way of plot or character development. It’s more about the stark introduction. Main character Avery Aldridge lives in 1955, Alabama, where the wrong look at a white man is a threat to his own life. The back and forth between the present and 10 years prior when Aldridge was a WWII pilot before being shot down builds up an intensity that doesn’t pay off by the end of the issue; in fact, it ends on a rather flat note but does keep me ready for more in the issues to come.

For as trite as the opening issue of this series feels, it also feels rife with the potential to break out into both a thrilling and meaningful story. The character’s apparent powers include at least telekinesis and the evident underlying themes of flipping racial power dynamics literally and through the metaphor of superpowers.

In the art department, the current-time panels mostly consist of close-up shots with plain-colored backgrounds. The style is agreeable, and character designs largely photo-realistic, but there’s nothing much to write home about in those alleyway sequences. The art shines in the panels taking place 10 years prior. The clouds, the storms, the fires, the dogfights, and even the facial closeups are drawn and colored with great depth and emotion. If future issues capture that side of the artists’ abilities, we’ll be in for something gorgeous. The lettering is fairly standard, with a few well-placed SFX.

What I found particularly confusing were the chyrons. They refer to “The Variance,” beginning just before, then going to ten years prior, then ending strangely after an intense scene with a different flashback to six months prior. I’m all for parallel storytelling, it’s a great medium, but it has to be clear how time is being delineated. Here, it was mostly clear, until the very end. Ending on an unclear time shift, on top of the total dropoff in the action and suspense that it brings with it, singlehanded made my reading experience far lesser than it would otherwise have been. Hopefully, the next issue clarifies both what the Variance is and why it suddenly flashed back to a different and seemingly mundane time. But until then, this issue itself was a bit of a bust.

Dark Blood #1 was a disappointing start to a series with good potential. While the opening did little in the way of character or plot development, and its ending was a confusing fizzle, I get the sense that things may pick up as the series moves past its opening.

Dark Blood #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Dark Blood #1
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TL;DR

Dark Blood #1 was a disappointing start to a series with good potential. While the opening did little in the way of character or plot development, and its ending was a confusing fizzle, I get the sense that things may pick up as the series moves past its opening.