Bloodstrike Remastered Edition (#1) – Rob Liefeld

4 out of 5

So, yes, I’m guilty of ragging on Rob Liefeld thanks to reputation alone.  I’d never read one of his comics, I just heard the negative hype, and was shown the particular anatomy offending illustrations, and I had my fun.  Which, overall, is a shitty, bandwagon thing to do.

Later, I’d read interviews with the guy and come to accept that he seemed pretty good humored about things, and though the 90s-era Image illustration style still ain’t my bag, its definitely triggered its imitators down the line whom are quite respected in the modern Marvel / DC stables, and they’re not so far removed from the gregariousness of the day.  Of course, this is a larger conversation, as the backlash to that time was due to its visuals-trump-story mentality, and constant rollouts of #1s, and the overt grittiness and excess ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ body types, but I digress…

Michel Fiffe’s known fandom of 90s Image eventually turned in to his writing some followup Bloodstrike issues.  I couldn’t exactly follow them (they were written to fill in gaps in the original run), but I appreciated the energy, and his enthusiasm for old books make me curious…

Bloodstrike #1 is definitely an Image book.  Liefeld’s excesses are on display, with hilarious over-the-top pouches and belts and guns upon guns, and the first issue does indeed end with a ‘continued in another #1’ stinger, and the plot essentially boils down to a nonsensical fight (Bloodstrike is hired to infiltrate a compound for vague reasons; they do so), but: unlike some other Image stuff I’ve sampled that really went all in on its own b.s., pushing the art to unfollowable extremes and leaving the story trailing behind as a both, I see Liefeld’s positive attitude peeking through: this is created by a guy who liked comics, who liked Wolverine, and who wanted to draw stuff he wanted to see.  The paneling is fluid and exciting, and while the muscles-upon-muscles lead to impossible poses, it fits within the XTREME world in which Rob has allowed his characters to run about.  The plot is functional, sure, but it’s not a bother to read; it has a fun sense of patter to it that plays with the aggressive attitude.  I don’t know if this would have appealed to me back in the day, and I kinda doubt it, but my retrospect perusal sees a lot of skill here, and a lot of enthusiasm that translates into a good read.