Mark Landry’s Bloodthirsty is a dark action-thriller that hits heavily on themes of loss and solitude. The protagonist, Virgil, is battle scarred rescue diver with more than his fair share of PTSD after Hurricane Katrina devastated his home town and took both of his parents. In the first issue of the comic we see Virgil go from being hero in the coast guard, to being a ditch digger in his home town, all while battling with his demons over not being able to save his parents. In the background behind Virgil’s struggles, there is a dark and seething underbelly to New Orleans, indirectly influencing all of Virgil’s turmoil, and mired in the blood of the citizens of the city.
The narrative here is rich, and full of so much potential. Landry puts the reader face to face with the dark reality of Hurricane Katrina, its utter devastation, and the long lingering effects on the town. He does a brilliant job of using his story to address the realities and failures is what happened down there, and of the many lives lost, even the deplorable ways in which they died. It was heart wrenching to read. This element was so necessary for understanding the Virgil, but it did have an effect on the pacing. Some parts of the story felt chunked and too brief, namely in action or dialogue sequences in the comic. I wanted more action and less reflection. There was a lot of third person background narration where panels alone might have sufficed, or a conversation between characters could have been used. Landry is definitely guilty of the classic info dump, but that is hard to avoid in the first issue of any brand new comic with brand new characters. The story, however, was compelling enough to look past that common faux pas.
The artwork in this issue is amazing. Artist Ashley Witter has done an incredible job of bringing Landry’s world to life. Her artwork is both vibrant and grim, if that can be said of anything. I was caught by the characterization she was able to display in the expressions that she drew. She captures so much expression and emotions in the eyes of her characters, I mean, wow. Just wow. What a talent. Her work makes you want to keep turning pages for more. You will not be disappointed!
In whole, I really enjoyed this read. This story has depth, and is more than just a fun, flash in the pan. Virgil is a character that you can really get invested in and care for. The villains in this story have potential to be the scariest kind, the ones that really exist, and who doesn’t love that? This is suspenseful thriller that I can’t wait to drink my fill of.
Vanee is an author, reader, writer and teacher that lives at the corner of coffee shop intellect and text book geek! She loves cons, comics and camaraderie, as well as fantasy, fiction, and fandoms. Vanee is a Black Girl Nerd!