“So which one of you… thinks they’re the bad guy tonight?”
These are the words the “Daywalker”, Eric Brooks, speaks before we get a bloody, violent action scene all in red, and it’s that moment that truly sets the tone for what this issue, and hopefully this book, is all about.
Written by Bryan Edward Hill, with art by Elena Casagrande, colours by Jordie Bellaire and letters by Joe Sabino, this isn’t the first time Blade has gotten a solo book. Rather, this is the fifth time, counting Blade’s first one-shot as his initial run. Numbered as the 29th legacy issue, there’s a lot riding on this book. From a purely pop culture standpoint, everyone thinks Blade is cool, yet it’s hard to really pinpoint a lot of good solo comics for the character, so there’s an expectation that comes with the territory.
Taking that into account, this comic succeeds in being a book to get introduced to Blade if you haven’t really picked up a comic with him before. Instead of immediately hitting you with a world of lore, it subtly introduces those elements while mostly keeping it a Blade-centric action epic, and it’s for the best, because the way these scenes are illustrated completely draws you in.
In this issue, we see Blade tasked with protecting a girl from a man who’s hunting her, and the mystery that surrounds them. It’s great that Bryan Hill doesn’t let this mystery fall into the hoops of decompressed storytelling, instead giving us enough answers to leave us satisfied while setting up the hook for the next issue. It’s paced extremely well, going from action sequences to Brooks investigating and back to action again.
Elena Casagrande’s art paired with Jordie Bellaire’s colours is just a sight to behold. Dark, moody colours set the atmosphere, while any sequence pertaining to action or any sort of bloody environment is done in shades of red. Casagrande’s high energy kineticism shines through, not just through what’s on the panel, but through the panel composition itself, using slanted boxes to keep that high octane movement going.
Blade #1 is a great introduction to the character as well as this run. I hope it manages to keep this energy as it keeps going, because there really is something special here.