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    Review: Blood Brothers #1

    By | July 18th, 2013
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Being published on the same day as yet another indie comic about vampires would normally hurt some books, but how does “Blood Brothers” #1 stand out? Read on to find out!

    Written by Mike Gagerman and Andrew Waller
    Illustrated by Evan Shaner
    Nick and Tree have smoked opium with Genghis Khan, had orgies in Michelangelo’s studio, and even fronted a death metal band. But after a century of friendship, these inseparable vampire buddies are on the verge of splitting up. Terrible timing, as an apocalypse-obsessed villain is plotting an end to humanity.
    Best friends … forever.

    This is the story of some immoral, immortal vampires wreaking havoc in Las Vegas. No, no the other story about that considerably niche topic. “Blood Brothers” is about two vampires, Nick and Tree, who have lived for a thousand years and are now dealing with some interpersonal problems regarding their friendship, as well as some unruly thugs, their job as bounty hunters,  and some millionaire who is after Nick for mysterious reasons. It’s a pretty cool concept that ends up falling relatively shallow, at least in terms of plot. Some characters walk in with little to no motivation and there’s not much of a reason to care about some of the general MacGuffins and overarching plot, it’s pretty typical. However, beneath all of that is some snappy dialouge and really funny uses of immortality.

    The dialogue’s fares a lot better however, since roughly 90% of what the protagonists say are jabs at each other or Family Guy style references to their adventures from centuries gone by. This slightly interrupts the flow of the story but, seeing as how the plot doesn’t seem to be the central focus of the book’s intentions, this is far from a huge loss. The purpose behind the miniseries, from what can be gathered, comes in the form of the relationship between Nick and Tree. It’s actually fairly well written even if it does devolve into the occasional Wacky Roommate vs. Straight-laced Roommate routine. The highlights of the dialogue come in whenever Tree flashes back to the duo’s past adventures, and this comic offers the wildest reinterpretation of Michelangelo since Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s “SHIELD.”

    So while the plot may be a little flat and the dialogue occasionally too cutesy for its own good, the art is where “Blood Brothers” shines the most. Pencilled by Evan Shaner, the art in “Blood Brothers” has an appealing mix somewhere between Francesco Francavella and Chris Samnee. Shaner does an excellent job of creating a comic that looks like a moody comic with the light and color of a happier book splashed onto it, with much help from this colorist, Dan Jackson. The character’s faces deliver the comedic tones as well as the violence delivers the… violence. Actually there isn’t a whole lot of violence. Most of the book is conversation between Tree and Nick and exposition by villains who are going to do anything ANY MINUTE NOW. Since the plot moves relatively slow in action department, it’s great to have Shaner on as penciller since he handles the comedic moments really well and he’s the one who sells moments like Michelangelo about to do some less than reputable things under The Sistine Chapel. Seriously everyone, Horny Michelangelo for Breakout Character of 2013. It’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s Eisners.

    As the first issue to an ongoing series, “Blood Brothers #1” probably wouldn’t hold enough of its own ground to establish a story suitable for however many issues. As the beginning of a three issue miniseries, on the other hand, it’s a funny enough adventure into the lives of some wacky vampires that occasionally indulges itself a little too much. That indulgence isn’t necessarily bad within the format of only three issues, but a long-form story told like this could become fairly tiring.

    Evan Shaner’s art is the real reason to pay for this comic, and I would definitely not mind seeing more of him on another title. The writers, Mike Gagerman and Andrew Waller, seem to be having a good time co-writing this book together, but they seem to be having a little too much fun. It’s not  a stretch of the imagination to say that a lot of Nick and Tree’s dialogue are based in part on how Gagerman and Waller talk in real life. That’s not a bad thing at all, the fact that I’m thinking that the lines come from a real place show their value as well written jokes, but maybe a bit more restraint could do “Blood Brothers” some wonders. It’s got a nice premise with a solid hook, and the relationship between Nick and Tree is actually very intriguing, but the hollow plot and occasional too-much dialogue detract from some of the funnier moments and Shaner’s art.

    Continued below

    Final Verdict: 5.8 – Browse.

    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.