"Blood Bowl #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Comics
Written by Nick Kyme
Illustrated by Jack Jadson
Colored by Fabricio Guerra
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 31st, 2017
I don't care about sports, but I love a good sports movie. Friday Night Lights is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. I can't explain it. There's something about stories like that that work so well. Blood Bowl is looking to join in with some monsters thrown in for good measure. The book has all the signature tropes of a classic sports movie. Former star player / current bar stool warmer Dreng Sturmblud is given a second chance at the big leagues with a rag tag group of human players called the Hochland Harbingers. Now he's back in the Blood Bowl, duking it out against the biggest and baddest teams in the league, each more monstrous than the last...literally.
Although the aftermath of a Blood Bowl game is bloody, there's a bit of humor to it. Sure, it's horrible that a man was brutally murdered, but it's kind of funny that a massive orc is literally cleaning what's left of the guy off his shoes. He looks more distressed about his mucked up kicks than the fact that he just killed another player by stomping him into the ground.
|Click images to enlarge|
Much of this comes through in Jack Jadson's artwork. He strikes a perfect balance between humor, heart, and terror. You've got the pride of watching Sturmblud back in his element on the field, the absolutely ridiculous situation he's in, and the hulking beasts he's up against. Jadson's pencils are larger than life, leaning into the superstar nature of the story. The Harbingers may be half the size of their opponents, but they look bigger and stronger with how they're framed.
The orc team is softened a bit by Fabricio Guerra's vibrant colors. They may be monsters, and any sane man would be scared out of his wits if he was standing across from them on the football field, however the bright, beautiful day might make the pain just a little easier to deal with. These creatures aren't lurking in the shadows or waiting to pounce on you. They're looking to play a good old-fashioned game and they're willing to cheat, claw, and bite if that means winning.
|Click images to enlarge|
This introductory issue largely serves to set up Sturmblud and bring him back to glory. If you've seen any underdog sports movie, then you'll get the basic premise. The only difference is that instead of battling someone like Apollo Creed, Sturmblud is going up against a handful of the Sauron's army from Lord of the Rings. There are some sinister forces at work, which are hinted at throughout the issue, so I'm hoping we get a deeper insight into what else is going on in subsequent issues.
Blood Bowl is based on a popular board game that I have no experience with. You don't need that in order to enjoy this comic. It's like Space Jam, but instead of a team of cartoons going up against a team of awkward monsters, it's a rough group of humans (one of which has a hook for a hand) against snarling beasts capable of ripping out a man's throat. Oh, and it's football instead of basketball. OK, I'm not that good at comparisons like this. In any case, if you've ever watched a sports movie and wanted it to include orcs, giants, or other assorted monsters instead of some rich blonde kid from the '80s, Blood Bowl is for you.