Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Phil Hester
Artwork: Tony Harris (pencils), Eric Layton (inks), Guy Major (colours)
Release Date: 1st February 2017
Brandon Hull is a fairly detestable human being, something that the first issue of Blood Blister – the latest new series from Aftershock Comics, on sale this week – goes to great lengths to show us. Whether it’s swindling unsuspecting home owners out of their legal rights or no-showing his son’s baseball game for the umpteenth time, it’s safe to say that we’re dealing with an utterly unpleasant person, and what’s worse, an unpleasant person who seems to be getting away with his actions scot-free.
The bulk of this opening issue sees writer Phil Hester taking his time introducing us to Brandon Hull and the world he inhabits, and while his morally corrupt and self-serving nature may perhaps be laid on a little thick at times, it all helps to move the story in the right direction. What’s going to be interesting to see is just how Hester takes the story from here. Are we going to see a tale of redemption where a formerly damned soul realises the error of his ways and changes for the better? Or is this going to be a prolonged bout of visual catharsis where we see the kind of selfish, opportunistic scum we all know and hate getting tortured in a variety of disgusting ways? Either is good with me, for the record, but for the time being Hester is leaving things wide open about just what readers should expect from the series as it progresses.
The artwork, provided here by the triumvirate of Tony Harris, Eric Layton and Guy Major, is solid for the bulk of this issue, with some slightly exaggerated facial features helping to accentuate the underlying grotesquery of the story. It’s not perhaps the style of artwork that I would have chosen to accompany Hester’s dark and twisted tale, but the trio do an undeniably fantastic job with the more unsettling aspects of the first issue, in particular the scene with Brandon talking on the phone to his wife while dealing with the eponymous blister. Things get a little wild at the end of the issue – to say the least – providing ample opportunity for the trio to cut loose with some pretty ‘out there’ visuals. Layton’s heavy inking gives the disturbing character designs of Harris a pleasing sense of solidity, and Major’s dark colour palette keeps things suitably oppressive throughout.
Overall then, while it’s clearly focusing on character ahead of story for the time being, Blood Blister gets off to a strong start here with an impressive hook that’s guaranteed to crawl under your skin and fester. The opportunity to see a swindling, backstabbing, morally reprehensible human being getting his comeuppance is definitely an alluring prospect, but I can’t help but think that the creators here have something a little more unconventional in mind for “poor” Brandon Hull. I’ll definitely be sticking around to find out, that’s for sure.
[Click to Enlarge]