"Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Alex de Campi
Illustrated by Federica Manfredi
2013, 32 Pages
Comic released on February 5th, 2013
Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight takes a different turn with the latest story, Bride of Blood. Instead of dealing with things like a small town with a badass, one-eyed police woman or a women's prison in space, this tale begins at a wedding in medieval times. No, not the restaurant where you eat turkey legs and wear a fake crown; the actual olden days where there were knights and fair maidens and stuff.
Branwyn is nervous about her wedding day. She's set to marry Lord Rowan of Callyreath and unite the two great houses of the borders. Unfortunately, they're attacked by a band of reavers before any vows can be said. The group tears through the wedding guests and leaves Branwyn savagely beaten and raped. She's eventually found by a group of nuns and nursed back to health. Then it's time for revenge. Bride of Blood is like a cross between Game of Thrones and I Spit on Your Grave (I could have said Kill Bill there, but we all know where Tarantino got his “inspiration” from) except bloodier. The Red Wedding has nothing on this.
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This issue is such a departure from the previous stories included within Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight. Writer Alex de Campi is really showing a wide breadth of formats and manages to make each one filthy. She really earns the taglines on each cover. This one reads, “No such thing as “too far”!” The idea of telling a grindhouse story set in this era is brilliant and it's something that came out of nowhere for me. It's not what you'd expect when looking at the cover of the issue (with a gorgeous cover by Francesco Francavilla).
Federica Manfredi did a great job with the artwork for Bride of Blood. The first few pages are so pure and innocent. The panels are framed with this elegant wrapping to really cement the wonder of the timeframe. It's like something out of a Disney movie. Then things get serious and all that goes away. She also provided some cool looking shots from Branwyn's point of view, so everything has a slight haze to it as she's looking through her veil at the chaos and bloodshed spreading around her. It's a nice effect and it works as a metaphor too.
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Manfredi's work is amplified by Dorotea Gizzi's colors. There's a stark contrast between the first and second halves of the issue. In the beginning, everything is bright and colorful. Branwyn has her whole life ahead of her. Then when the reavers crash the wedding, the pages become almost colorless with blood being the only thing that really stands out...and there's a lot of it.
Branwyn is embarking on a quest for revenge in Bride of Blood. It's going to get a lot messier but she's not going to stop until every last one of those bastards pays. As with previous Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight stories, this one will be completed with the next chapter. After this stellar first issue, I'm really looking forward to how this wraps up and what kind of violence this woman will unleash on these men.