Review: Blood Brothers #1
Writer: Fabian Rangel, Jr
Art and Colours: Javier Caba
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Any comic that throws a Mexican wrestler, or luchador, in the mix as a protagonist, is making a pretty clear statement of intent. Add to that his ghost-spotting brother, a vista dotted with bucket fulls of noirish landmarks (the hidden-away drinking dens, black cadillacs), and of course a character list that reads more like a who’s who of monster movies, and you’ve got a heady cocktail of not-of-this-world antics, suspense and frolics with a crime caper for an olive. Not to be confused with its Dark Horse namesake, Blood Brothers sets out to be a hell of a lotta fun and to bring something deliciously fresh to the shelves. It achieves both.
We kick off the journey with an introduction to our crime fighting detective brothers, Diego and Gabriel, in the midst of a bar full of every type of fantasy monster you can conjure. We are being elbowed in the ribs here – these detectives aren’t the run-of-the-mill trenchcoat and snub-nose carrying moodies that we all too often get lumbered with; this pairing evokes suggestions of hand to hand action on an epic scale and much drunkenness to boot. The pair narrowly avoid a scrape with an angry hairball and respond to a call from HQ. And so begins the trail for the Missing Skull, and a resumption of the aforementioned scrape. Rangel’s desire to not miss a trick does mean that something eventful happens on every page which keeps to a spicy pace. It doesn’t risk losing readers by focussing on tedious backstories and deep conversations that take a double-page to regale. No, the backstory is flashed in muted browns, that very much set them apart from the dark blue hues of the present’s city streets, and the depth is delivered deviously in few words that assumably foreshadow future issues. Clever stuff.
Caba’s art is eye-catching throughout. The depth and themes of the colouring render each sequence identifiable and set apart. The lines are kinetic and the action, as a result, looks real. Caba also manages to feature some solid-gold wrestling moves so, Sir, I tip my hat..or should that be mask? The pencilling can only be described as dynamic, like the characters and plot, so all in all, it looks fast, reads fast and ignites. Longer strokes in the fight scenes give an impression of expediency as the background is blurred by the movement. Great stuff.
With content and characters so close to cliche, it would be easy to be swayed by the genre of the book but the fact is, this is a step up from the usual shelf fillers. It’s sassy, it’s cool and it’s a little more grown-up than expected. There are similarities to Charles Burns’ work flashing through; something that’s not quite right lurking in the shadows, and I haven’t even mentioned the terrifying final spread. I’m going to stick with this one and see where it leads me. Care to join me?
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Review written by Arun S.