Rob Liefeld seems to rip off his former ideas in “Bloodstrike” #1, which follows a man who feels that he has been made less manly due to an anatomy annexation.
Liefeld is fond of reminding the comic (and non-comic) reading populace that he created Deadpool; he bases Bloodstrike’s weaponry on the original Merc with a Mouth and doesn’t take the basic story too far from Deadpool’s path. In this series, Liefeld riffs on characters like Deadpool, Lobo, Cable and any other 1990s character that had any modicum of success while he worked on them. Deadlocke couldn’t possibly look any more like a cross between Wolverine and Hawk.
Right out of the gate, the lighting and shadows are incongruent, and the crosshatching on the wall is less about creating depth and becomes more of a mindless pattern. The first page presents a gross concept: this character is strung up, with his guts hanging out. Bloodstrike’s body shades his innards, but not so much as they can’t be colored dark red.
Later on, Liefeld doesn’t even draw the guards Bloodstrike takes out, save for their fly-catching open mouths. He draws them as shadowy inkmen to hide the detail of faces, clothes, hair and anything else, though Jeremy Colwell adds gradients to the guards’ sunglasses. Bloodstrike continues on, dripping blood from his hands after killing two security guards with a sword. Visually, Liefeld tries very hard to make Bloodstrike a mean mother for whom anything goes.
This story certainly goes, leaping about and touching on characters just to prove it’s not only Bloodstrike that Liefeld is making hardcore; the writer-artist literally goes hardcore, giving readers almost too much information about Bloodwulf. After that interlude, there are further story leaps that even Evel Knievel would be scared to think about.
The lettering is solid, with plenty of made-to-order sound effects, like “CHAK,” “CHOK,” “KRAK,” and “WHAK” as Bloodstrike cuts through a squad of ninjas. Chris Eliopoulos works hard on the story, even though his name is spelled wrong in the credits on the inside the cover. To that end, “NOM NOM NOM” makes an appearance as Bloodstrike chews through his own arm in a scene where his soliloquy serves as anesthesia, which just might distract the reader from a man gnawing through his own arm with a nice, clean sever and the fact that the angle is all wrong.
Titled “The Junk,” this story is adolescent teen humor at best, with dialogue like, “But — my man parts …ack.” “Bloodstrike” #1 is a rough read. Liefeld might be trying for satire or parody here, but it falls flat and simply becomes more uninspiring artwork from one of Image Comics’ founders.