"Bad Blood" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Originally published as Bad Blood #1 - #5
Illustrated by Tyler Crook
2014, 138 Pages
Trade Paperback released on November 26th, 2014
You'd think that Trick Croft's life was bad enough dealing with cancer before he turned twenty. That was before he was bit by a vampire. Now, he could have been turned and had his disease cured, then lived forever immune to illness while feasting on the blood of those that took life for granted. I feel like something like that has been done before. Writer Jonathan Maberry took Trick's story in a very different direction with Bad Blood. See, Trick's blood is like poison to vampires. When I say poison, I don't mean the kind that gives you a bad stomach ache or something. It's like drinking acid. The skin bubbles up and instantly begins to decay. You can imagine how mad those bloodsuckers are going to get when someone like that is running around.
Bad Blood puts an immediate new spin on the vampire mythos. It begins with the idea of the ancient aristocratic line of vampires and takes it down a few notches. Maberry created an entire backstory for them that spans centuries. These creatures may have been at the top of the food chain at one point, but humanity has changed a great deal since then. There are many artificial items running through the bloodstreams of common folk. They've never encountered drugs of any kind, be they recreational or medicinal, so they don't understand them.
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This isn't to say that the vampires are the victims in this story. That's far from the truth. They're still monsters and artist Tyler Crook does a fantastic job with their design. They look like a cross between a man and a shark, with a jaw filled with razor sharp teeth sitting below an upturned nose. These creatures are far from the classic portrayals of the likes of Nosferatu or Dracula, however they are much scarier than those old-school characters. There's a menacing feeling about them whenever they appear on the page.
When Crook isn't scaring you with the vampires, he's knocking it out of the park with some brilliant art direction. There's a page towards the end of the first chapter that shows Trick in the same position for four different panels, with the backgrounds changing around him. His facial expression is one of grief and shock after witnessing just what the vampires are capable of. This is a great effect that is used very well.
The design for Trick specifically really stands out too. He was once a star football player before the cancer hit. Now he's a shell of his former self, with a shriveled body and sunken facial features. He's not quite to the point where he's accepted death, but he's close to it.
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Bad Blood takes some interesting turns as the story progresses. It dives into the BDSM and wannabe vampire scene as Trick looks for answers. It provides a very realistic approach to this problem. If you were suddenly confronted by an actual vampire, where would you go to look for more information? You can start with the Internet, but that's only going to get you so far and a lot of that stuff is probably made up.
Bad Blood could have been a stereotypical vampire story with a unique twist, but it became much more. It's not necessarily a tale of hope and finding something to live for. Trick didn't get to the end of this adventure and find that all of the problems in his life were fixed and his cancer was cured. At the end of the day, he's still going to die, but maybe he's going to fight just a little harder to keep going after coming face-to-face with death in a different form. At the very least, he's discovered that his chemo treatment has given him perhaps the world's weirdest and most specific mutant power.
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