Jonathan Maberry’s “Bad Blood” #3 continues in the same vein of the previous issues, utilizing hyperrealism, meta elements, and ordinary tropes of our daily 21st century lives (mixed with a mild fantasy bent) to make this vampire comic nauseatingly lifelike. It’s going to be the drugs floating through blood that kills off the vampire race. It’s going to be the irresponsible club kids, the partying college kids, the terminally ill who will be their ultimate demise. This concept is so brilliant, it reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s famous line: This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Maberry
ART BY: Tyler Crook
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: March 5, 2014
Issue #3 picks up right as a vampire attacks Lolly. Much to the chagrin of said vampire, it’s not just Trick’s chemotherapy drugs that hurt and potentially kill vampires but ALL drugs (see also: whatever it is that Lolly is pumping into her veins). The wounded vampires stew over the fact that the world changed while they slept—“The living are different now, they pollute their own blood.” But Lord Sturge—the vampire initially almost killed by Trick’s blood—feels more shame; he sees this as being “defeated by children.” If vampires are to survive as a race, they must study these Bad Bloods and find out how to prosper in a drug-soaked 21st century.
Meanwhile, Lolly and Trick take to Craigslist to find a vampire hunter. After sifting through a ton of crazies, they find one who appears to be legit. Thus begins the hunt, on both ends.
Maberry is killing it with this role reversal which is turing out to be so crucial to the plot and character development of “Bad Blood” #3. Old world vampires are having to learn how to acclimate to the 21st century to survive, while these millennials are seeking out centuries-old techniques and lore such as “vampire hunters” to survive. Instead of going with what they know, all parties involved must step outside of their comfort zone in order to defeat their enemy.
This is a crucial turning point. No one has the advantage here. In most vampire lore, the vampires are drenched in advantage. What with their ability to live forever, their superhuman strength and speed, their ruthless killing machine nature. But not now, now they are reduced to a scared puppy state, realizing they are coming up against starvation if they don’t figure something out very soon. Because this isn’t their ancestors’ world. And it’s this role reversal that makes “Bad Blood” so damn interesting to follow.
Maberry peppers in jokes about Van Helsing, Buffy, Angel, and Hellboy, among others. Adding a snarky meta element to the comic draws the reading in even more because, hey! we relate to those things. We watch those shows. We see those movies. It’s material like that, combined with the reality of Trick’s cancer and Lolly’s abusive childhood that keeps us firmly planted in the now, with present day pop culture and present day issues—despite the fact that a fantastical vampire plot is woven throughout.
Reviewed by – Bree Ogden