Bloodlust #1, 2
[Hardline Studios $2.95 US $4.50 CAN B&W]
Written by Daniel R. Wickline / Pencilled by Bobby Breed / Inked by Lee Trotter
Click Here For A Sample Page

Bloodlust #1Cooper Young is a rock star. He was also born a vampire. The mysterious Deacon (a vampire and Cooper’s manager) is the only person who knows his true origins. Issue one introduces us to Cooper and his problems. Not only does he have no idea how he was born a vampire (Deacon isn't very forthcoming with information) but his drummer is killed in the middle of a concert by a stray stake meant for Cooper. To make things even weirder the replacement drummer who Deacon brings in is a werewolf. The audience, of course, thinks all this supernatural stuff is part of the act.

Issue two focuses more on the new werewolf drummer, Graeme. We discover that Graeme is from England (Gloucestershire) and has been sent over by his werewolf Lord, Dennick Shaw, to help repay a debt of honor he owes Deacon. Graeme also meets a pretty junkie, Robin Sellers, who he discovers beaten and bloody in an alley. Robin has a bad end but since Deacon turns her into a vampire to save her life I have a feeling she'll be popping up in future issues.

To make things even more exciting for our supernatural protagonists they’ve got enemies: Nicholas Banding, an evil vampire lord who is head of the Vampiric Order; Alexander Pierce, wealthy head of Silverdawn, an underground organization set in place to rid the world of vampires; and Project C.R.O.S.S. (Covert Research of Supernatural Species) a very small (two people) government-funded group headed by Agent Dillon Bayne.

Daniel Wickline has set up an interesting premise with Bloodlust but he needs to watch his pacing of the story. Both issues would have been tighter if more attention had been paid to fewer characters. In just two issues we’re introduced to a lot of potential plot threads and mysteries which could have been doled out over the course of the series and allowed for a little more time with the main characters.

The artwork on Bloodlust is black and white with computer enhanced shades and tones. It’s too bad the cost of color interiors are so prohibitive because Breed and Trotter’s illustration style would be better served by color. As it is, the computer shading makes the artwork muddy and flat. The character designs and storytelling by the artists is decent but it could really shine with color or a different shading technique.

One of my pet peeves about some indy comics is the lack of decent copy editing. The lettering is obviously done with computer. The font in issue two is a vast improvement over the much stiffer and distracting font used in issue one. As a result, running the text through spell check is probably a no-brainer but you can’t rely entirely on spell check to catch some basic errors. Every time I see someone use “your” for “you're (you are)” I wish the creators had an anal-retentive friend to look over the pages.

Want to give this series a try but can't find it on your local store’s shelves? Write Hardline Studios, 1139 South Clifpark Circle, Anaheim, CA 92805. Visit them on-line at www.hardlinestudios.com.