Bloodlines 1

Writer: JT Krul
Artists: V. Ken Marion and Sean Parsons
Publisher: DC Comics

Hands up if you remember Bloodlines, a crossover arc which ran through DC’s superhero annuals in 1993. That few, huh?

OK, what about those who remember Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s wonderful, non-politically-correct antihero Hitman, aka Tommy Monaghan, the hired killer who also had telepathy and X-ray vision (which he once used during a “job interview” with the Justice League to check out Wonder Woman)? Ah, good, a few more.

See, Bloodlines was an event in which a bunch of aliens came to Earth looking to feast on humans’ spinal fluid. Most of their victims died. A virus carried by the spinal tappers made some of the victims develop powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal persons. And one of them was … Hitman!

Yep, Missus Monaghan’s little boy was the best known result of Bloodlines, an exercise to generate a slew of new super-beings to spice up the company’s existing roster.

Known collectively as the “New Bloods”, some of them also received miniseries or ongoing (though short-lived) titles of their own.

GWAR? So its true - the Bloodlines aliens are actually the Scumdogs of the Universe.

GWAR? So its true – the Bloodlines aliens are actually the Scumdogs of the Universe.

A few of those who spewed forth from this creative blender stuck (like Hitman). Most didn’t. Many of them ended up being used as cannon fodder by writers who couldn’t care less about their existence. For example, a bunch of them died quite messily at the hands of Superboy-Prime (in Infinite Crisis and again in Blackest Night) and the various versions of Prometheus.

Bloodlines was more miss than hit, its by-products were somewhat cheesy (like a hacker with T-1000-like sword arms named Razorsharp, and a guy with knives all over his body called Edge who certainly did not reek of awesomeness) – it was so typically 1990s.

For those who can’t get enough of that decade, the good news is: DC has revived Bloodlines for a six-issue miniseries written by JT Krul (Green Arrow, Teen Titans) and drawn with a very 1990s vibe by V. Ken Marion (All New Soulfire).str2_wow1204bloodlines_cover_da

The bad news: Hitman will apparently not be involved in this reboot.

But we do get Loose Cannon – in the original, a policeman named Eddie Walker who lost the use of his legs and was then attacked by one of the aliens. He woke up as a hulking creature who changed colour according to his moods (leading to him being dubbed a “mood ring Hulk”).

In the new Bloodlines, Eddie is a high school student whose legs have wasted away because of a still-unspecified condition he blames on his “broken DNA”.

He lives in the small town of Pine Ridge, the closest population centre to a meteor strike in a forest. The “meteor” spews forth alien … things that immediately possess a buck and turn it into some kind of spiny, red-eyed Doomsdeer. Shades of 1980s schlocky horror flick Night Of The Creeps!

Anyway, Eddie somehow gets talked into attending an outdoor party at the town’s only “night spot” – so guess what chooses to attack just then. And guess what happens to Eddie when he gets totally stressed out by, oh, watching his classmates get ripped to shreds by a killer mutant beast-thing.

There’s not much from this first issue to really clue you in about what is happening here. Eddie is the only powered person to appear, though a few other candidates are introduced in one-page scenes that, again, don’t really tell us enough that we know or care what’s going to become of them. Even Eddie’s hulk-out comes totally out of left field and seems to have little to do with any alien virus.

Yes, we can tell from the tattoo that Haley is supposed to be a real heartbreaker ... among other things she breaks.

Yes, we can tell from the tattoo that Haley is supposed to be a real heartbreaker … among other things she breaks.

While Krul has earned accolades for his work on Teen Titans and Green Arrow, among other titles (confession: I’ve only read his Blackest Night: Teen Titans tie-in miniseries), you wouldn’t think it from this debut issue. The characterisation is sketchy and cliched, even Eddie – who also seems lifted from Night Of The Creeps.

I’m puzzled as to what DC is trying to achieve here given its impending Rebirth event, or if any of this is even set in current continuity (perhaps a Lexoil sign is a clue). All things considered, it has some throwback value but is something you can wait for until some comiXology bundle sale further down the road.