A hunter walks through city streets and is assailed at all sides by beast men. Internally, the hunter wonders if this is reality or not. Deep within the town, he finds a group of hunters who tell him this is all due to the workings of the Church and the hunt itself. He also has a startling revelation for the hunter.
Disclosure time again: I absolutely adore Bloodborne. It is one of my favorite videogames of all time, and I totally got every reference in this comic. I just wanted to give a clinical summary that worked with as much information as the comic gives.
I’m going to split this review into two parts. The first will deal with the comic as a newcomer; the second will deal with the deep-cut lore stuff. Deal?
So how does Bloodborne function as an action-horror comic? Very well. Horror works best when conveying obscurity and mystery. FromSoftware’s tendency to play keep-away with the plot and lore, which Ales Kot and Piotr Kowalski recapture for this comic, lends itself to horror and intensity. The minimalist approach to narration and dialogue is greatly appreciated too.
The existential ponderances add to that sense of fear and foreboding. This character is already dealing with bloodthirsty man-beasts, but he’s also barely gripping onto reality.
The rebirth aspect is introduced into the latter portion of the comic. I’m curious where it goes with that. Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne uses the rebirth at bonfires, hubworlds, etc. as a narrative explanation for retrying after failure while cleverly weaving it into the lore of the world through various means. I’m curious how that works in the comic going forward.
Alright, I’ve clearly wandered into Bloodborne/FromSoftware fan territory, but both that part of me and the part that treats this as just another comic thinks the recreation of the “You Died” screen in a panel was incredibly silly. That could have been cut, and it would have been for the better.
To touch on the art now, Piotr Kowalski and Brad Simpson provide a foreboding and ghoulish world. The creatures are recreated perfectly, especially the horrific Blood-Starved Beast. The colors are cold and dying. It’s an all-around gorgeous recreation of Yharnam.
We’re going to wander into spoiler territory here now.
There were plenty of lore references to enjoy. Djura, the hunter who fights you in Old Yharnam, shows up. He’s not named, but you know it’s him because he’s also talking about the brutality of the hunt and speaks on behalf of the infected beast men. The Blood-Starved Beast rocks up too. Given that this comic is supposed to deal primarily with Old Yharnam, both of those make a lot of sense.
I wonder if this comic is supposed to propose another ending to Bloodborne, because something shows up that has been questioned and prodded in every extensive Bloodborne theory video on YouTube.
The Pale Blood is in this comic.
This part almost gave me some consternation, because it’s way more literal than anyone would have guessed. It’s a pale child with pale blood. Their appearance implies some connection with the Old Ones, and, given that the Pale Blood is found in a church, that makes a lot of sense (I’m pretty sure it’s Oedon Chapel, specifically).
In any case that could potentially unlock a lot of secrets about the lore of Bloodborne and tingled my fanboy nerve endings.
Needless to say, I highly recommend Bloodborne #1. Ales Kot has shown a great love for the game here with a lot of references and understanding that only a fan could bring. Kowalski and Simpson’s art is impeccable. The comic is creepy, gory, and could open new avenues in the story. Fan or not, this one still comes highly recommended. Check it out.
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