Call me old-fashioned, but it disturbs me that we allegedly
need "…a new DC." That means books set in the standard DC
Universe, but rougher, edgier, perhaps with their morality
not so clear. Of course, such books have existed before.
Suicide Squad, L.E.G.I.O.N. and definitely Lobo
and Hitman weren't exactly books your mom would buy
for you at the corner drugstore. Not that anybody buys comics
at the corner drugstore anymore. Nyeh.
Okay. Old man rant out of the way.
This week, "the New DC" launches with Bloodhound.
Moral quandaries aside, it's a well-done book with an intriguing
main character. It may also be a little bit alienating,
as so far, there really isn't much to like in Travis Clevenger,
the man who will be known as Bloodhound. Yet there are hints
that he was justified in his crimes; though the book is
for the new DC, it's a throwback to prison dramas of the
late sixties and early seventies. Either Burt Reynolds or
Joe Don Baker in their heydays could have played Clevenger.
Writer Jolley throws us right into the thick of it, with
Clevenger being interviewed in prison. Once a rather doughy
police officer, time in the big house has hardened Clevenger.
The man outside, glimpsed in a photo i.d., barely resembles
the man inside. And why wouldn't he toughen up? Though a
killer, Clevenger still hates criminals, and worse, he has
a knack for tangling with those that have meta-human abilities
but haven't necessarily advertised it.
So Clevenger killed a man. From the flippant tone of his
interview, you might even assume he killed several. He will
give no answers as to why, but what horrifies the authorities
is that it was his former partner. What has brought him
to the brink of amnesty from the F.B.I., however, is a horror
greater than him.
But first - the prison riot…
With far more force than he demonstrated in the first
issue of Firestorm, Jolley completely sets up the
character and situation while still allowing for some mystery.
We don't just have a sense of who Clevenger is, we learn
full well what he does, and why we might buy his book for
a few issues. Though the story ends with a "…to be continued,"
there's still a sense of satisfaction; we got a complete
bang for our buck.
Much of that bang comes from the artwork, reuniting Kirk
and Riggs. They'd already proven themselves a solid team
on the late Supergirl book, but their art fits better
here. Despite their layout skill, nobody ever quite looks
attractive in their panels, which is more than okay when
depicting the dregs of society.
They draw tough beefy men well, and it's a key skill for
this book. And for guys who have danced around the more
subtle, family-friendly flagship characters as much as they
have, Kirk and Riggs sure can handle raw violence.