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Review: Bloodstrike #26

Extreme's zombie-black ops-superheroes return! Cabbot Stone is the last unliving Bloodstrike agent, an unstoppable weapon in America's war on terror! But being dead is a hell of way to make a living, and Cabbot is losing his faith. Will his latest mission be his last? Bloody horror-action with heart by Hack/Slash writer Tim Seeley and Artist Franchesco Gaston!



Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:


Extreme's zombie-black ops-superheroes return! Cabbot Stone is the last unliving Bloodstrike agent, an unstoppable weapon in America's war on terror! But being dead is a hell of way to make a living, and Cabbot is losing his faith. Will his latest mission be his last? Bloody horror-action with heart by Hack/Slash writer Tim Seeley and Artist Franchesco Gaston!



Review:


It has been awhile since I picked up a Bloodstrike comic, and I'm not quite sure why chose this one. I owned assorted issues of the original Bloodstrike; I'm sure I had the first issue with "Rub the Blood" in the upper left hand corner, and I remember not hating it at that time. In fact I probably thought something like this. Now bear with me while I reminisce. The issues of Bloodstrike I purchased were books that appealed to the thirteen-year-old me: all blood, guns and girls with long legs. I also vaguely remember there was another book Bloodstrike tied into (?) and the leaders of both the teams were brothers, and the brothers didn't like each other much. Hey, take it easy, it was a long time ago.

Bloodstrike #26 is the "1st Issue In A Bold New Era For EXTREME!" I've liked Extreme's two latest recently-launched series: Prophet and Glory have been re-imagined and new life has been injected back into them. Good on ya, Eric Stephenson. So, on a whim, Bloodstrike came home with me.

I really wasn't expecting much from this book, but it surprised me. I've never read anything by creator Tim Seeley, not because I don't like him but because I've never taken the time to get acquainted with his work. Hack/Slash, Seeley's solo book, has never really appealed to me. Every time I pick an issue up I seem to spot something else that is higher on my things-to-read list. After reading Bloodstrike, though, I might have to pick up a Hack/Slash trade. In the first issue, Seeley has crafted a gem of a superhero comic, something that is a throwback to the vacant 90's comics but builds on the bare bones of them. I'm a sucker for superheroes and a fun story, and that's what Bloodstrike #26 is. The mummies have ray guns and the zombies are linked into a hive-mind via electronics and have a gigantic flesh-techno hive lord to running them. Seeley lets loose with undead government agents with renewable bodies and Cabot, the lead character, runs around for half of the issue with his intestines hanging out. Is this new? Not particularly, but Seeley is revelling in writing this.

Operation: Bloodstrike is a government-run organization which consists of a project dubbed Born Again that can revive the dead. It's easy to see that Seeley is setting up a political intrigue story. My guess is that a lot of the characters in this series will die, but this issue establishes that just because someone can be brought back from the dead it doesn't mean they will be. There is a new character named Director Keyes who Seeley shows us is as a man willing to step on the corpse of the previous director in order to take over the project.

I am interested to see where this storyline goes, as the small injection of the West Wing-style intrigue is ambitious and adds a new layer to the guns and gore. Seeley manages to establish Cabot as someone that is doing his best to crawl out of the wreckage of his past and deal with the fact that he can never know death. Seeley's Cabot appears to be working to lose his ghosts, and struggling for some meaning in a reality where his life means so little. Bloodstrike's ending failed to capture my attention, teasing four characters being resuscitated by Born Again. I have no idea who the characters are, and I have no attachment to any of them. Are they the previous team? Are they new people? I don't know, and why should l care? I don't really, and that may affect my decision to pick up the second issue.

Francesco Gaston is a new name for me, but reminds me vaguely of the Luna brothers (The Sword, Girls) and Joe Eisma (Morning Glories), but with a slightly more fluid feel to the work, a looser line that owes a little energy to Jack Kirby. Gaston handles the action capably, from the cartoon intestines hanging out of Cabot to the demise of the original director. His work on character design is excellent, his creature work is fantastic and each character in the book is distinct. Gaston portrays the character's emotions authentically and with ease, his facial expressions making the characters easy to read and relate to. I hope that Gaston never has to draw 90's superheroes in detail though - his renditions of the original costumes looked ridiculous. I believe Seeley will play to Gaston's strengths, loading the book with more character-work and sci-fi/horror ideas than full-on superhero battles.

Bloodstrike isn't reinventing any tropes or genres, just blending and doing homage to them. It is a pleasant diversion from the everyday, not requiring tons of thinking, and is worth taking off of the rack for a flip through. If you like what you see, take it off the shelf and dig in your heels for a political-action romp through superhero territory. And enjoy.





Review by: Martin John
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About the Author - Christian Hoffer


Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.

 


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