Blood Pack

  It seems to be an article of faith among comics fans on the internet: Nothing good came out of Bloodlines. The summer-long, DC-Universe-wide crossover was intended to introduce a slew of new characters, and this “New Blood” would help to revitalise the DCU. But ask anyone: these characters all sucked. Well, except for Hitman, who has his own hot series. And Sparx, now a popular character in Superboy and the Ravers. And Anima, whose series was cancelled but had some dedicated fans who loved its psycho-philosophical underpinnings. And Argus hasn’t ruined the issues of Flash he’s appeared in….

 So, maybe not everything about the New Bloods was horrible. Just a lot of it. With that (and eternal optimism) in mind, when I ran across the limited series Blood Pack - about a group of these New Bloods who are gathered into a team - in the cheap bins for quarter each, I figured I had nothing to lose.

Except a dollar, and some of my time.

 Evidently part of the “new blood” project was to give not just new characters, but some new talent a shot, as well. I gather this because I’ve never heard of writer Charles Moore and penciller Christopher Taylor before… and because this series is, frankly, not the work of seasoned creators. The art is inconsistent, hampered by awkward poses, cluttered-or-blank backgrounds, and a limited range of stiff facial expressions. Of course it doesn’t help that some of the character designs (not Taylor’s fault) seem right out of the Image school out pointless bizarrity. But the grimacing-hero and contorted-heroine shots of characters standing around show a distinct lack of experience with storytelling and posing.

Ironically, Blood Pack’s story is about the contrived creation of a hip 90’s media-friendly “team” out of a bunch of unrelated, incompatible heroes with no background. Because that’s what Blood Pack is itself. Bloodlines cranked out a bunch of new characters, each with its own gimmick power, and now they’re going to be together in a team with a TV show… logical or not. They even admit what a weak premise this is, with a recurring gag about how Geist (a character who turns invisible in bright light) doesn’t show up on camera.

What’s worse, these characters are ones that (unlike Hitman, Anima, Gunfire, Loose Cannon, or Argus) weren’t deemed strong enough to give their own ongoing or limited series. In the hands of their various creators, these characters had previously just starred in lackluster origin stories, nothing more; in Moore’s inexperienced hands, they just don’t work well at all.

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