Dan Jolley’s new book “Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine” straddles the line between police drama and superhuman pulp with relative ease. The result is an intriguing story that follows a broken man who is more concerned with rebuilding his life than solving crimes. Travis Clevenger is a hulking brute brought to life by Leonard Kirk’s pencils. The certain air of sadness in this giant man tells you everything you need to know about his dark past. With a formidable protagonist this book aims to tell a compelling story with a fantastic superhuman backdrop.
This book begins with typical superhero fare. There are buzzing alarms, police in hot pursuit, and a superpowered being on the run but then it does something fantastic. It cuts to a puzzle being put together. We’re treated to Clev, a man with a lot of scars. Now he’s a man who opts to build a puzzle with his niece rather than bound around in the world he once knew.
The cuts between Clev’s mundane existence and the police’s pursuit of a superhuman provide the book with fantastic pacing. The exposition with Safforn Bell is welcomed, providing understanding of Clev’s motivation.
The entire thing keeps a fairly mundane tone. Although it does ratchet up for a moment when the police shoot at the man they are trying to catch. Aside from Leonard Kirk’s amazing splash panel, the entire affair feels particularly anticlimactic. It’s an interesting choice because it serves to push Clev as a reserved and powerful protagonist.
Leonard Kirk’s art give the book a fantastic real world appearance. His lines are clean, bold, and easy on the eyes. This helps to portray the setting of the book. Kirk’s depiction of Clev as a battle worn brute is excellent. His scarred skin and hulking frame stand in grisly comparison to other’s clean complexions and small bodies.
The man with a haunted past is an archetype in and of itself at this point. Jolley doesn’t do much in the way of explaining just why Travis is so tortured, and it may be the book’s biggest pull. His nonchalance about the past means something terrible happened and has pushed Travis into his complete antithesis. Behind that hulking frame is a lot of anger, and in a moment of action we saw his capabilities.
If this thread is followed and Jolley explores the choice between becoming the man Clev walked away from and saving the day, versus becoming something else and possibly losing, Crowbar Medicine could be a real hit.
Right now it is more like a soft whimper. The elements are there for a good series, but this first issue fails to deliver on the promise of its premise. The story only really begins by the last few page… when the shit hits the fan the book ends.
Rating: 2.5/5 Skulls
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