Bloodhound #5 Review


Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Fire Storm

Written by: Dan Jolley
Pencilled by: Leonard Kirk
Inked by: Robin Riggs
Colored by: Moose Baumann
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Ivan Cohen
Publisher: DC Comics

If it was not for the fact that both titles share the same writer, you would never think to put Bloodhound’s Travis Clevenger and Firestorm’s alter ego (or part of anyway) Jason Rusch together. Not in the same comic, same room, same state. One is a brutal ex-con/ex dirty cop/best there is at tracking violent metacriminals. The other is a struggling student with an abusive father, an accidental recipient of the Firestorm Matrix who has tried to use his powers to be a hero, but has made some mistakes along the way. Yet here they are.

And wouldn’t you know it, it kind of works.

It is not a perfect crossover in which the two characters nicely share the stage with one another. Instead, Jolley places the action firmly on Clevenger’s shoulder. It is his book, after all. Rusch has a small, important role in the proceedings, but mostly he is a bit player; bigger than a cameo, smaller than a full blown supporting character. For anyone who has read the other issue of the crossover, you know that it is much the same for Clevenger over in Rusch’s book. The approach works nicely, effectively giving us a reason why the two’s very disparate worlds would meet and avoiding the too frequent phenomenon of the guest star dominating the book.

Plot wise, the issue is remarkably self contained for a crossover. Reading both issues will give you a fuller understanding of events, but the exposition dialogue is enough that a Bloodhound only reader will have no trouble keeping up with events despite not having Firestorm on their pull list. Jolley also manages to sneak in bits of characterization for Clevenger and Rusch, a rare feat indeed for any sort of action oriented crossover. Of particular interest is Clevenger’s brief encounter with the merging effects of Rusch’s powers and Rusch surprise at how brief it really is.

Leonard Kirk continues to prove that this title is his wheelhouse. He captures the brutality of Clevenger and his life so well, but never veers into exploitation. This is not violence in a vacuum. It is larger than life, but it has impact. There is nothing clean or pristine about it and Kirk makes sure that the reader can see that.

Big points go to colorist Baumann as well. The world of Bloodhound must be a dark one and Moose (presumably a male?) nails that quite well. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, he still manages to leave the art clean and visible. It is a dark world, but the art is never murky because of it. We get the interplay of shadows and darkness, but we never lose the threads or the characters because of it. With comics often managing to do one but not the other, Moose deserves kudos for so easily doing both.