If we were to tell you that Bloodstrike is a team of super powered zombies, you would be skeptical. You have every right to be. In its original run, Rob Liefeld manage to bury that underlying concept inside a ton of Batman monologues, brood poses, and meaningless action sequences. It felt like Rob was afraid that his concepts would not sell the product to the readers. Now, almost 20 years later, Rob let someone else write the story and it has become good.
Bloodstrike issue 30 is surprisingly good. The plot is simple: team Bloodstrike is sent into an African nation to find a super powered mercenary called the Black Bride. She can animate corpses and use them to fight for her. At the same time, the B story involving a technician and the new director is advancing a bit. The previous director’s wife is wondering why her husband has not been resurrected, as per a clause in his contract. After the battle, Forearm takes some time to play soccer with the local kids.
The best thing about this version of Bloodstrike is that there is activity in the world. We get a sense of location and place in the panels. The stuff from 20 years ago felt sterile. We did not know about locations all over the world because it was mostly indoors and devoid of life. This time around, there are plenty of other things going on and it feels deeper and fleshed out.
The one complaint is that the A story just ends. Without going into a lot of detail, Bloodstrike does not beat the Black Bride in combat. He just talks to her and she gives up. This feels like a letdown because the battle is going great up to that point. The Black Bride is a logical villain who knows how to use her powers effectively. She does not waste a move and is capable of keeping the team busy and away from her. To have it just end does not work give the villain justice.
Final Thought: Positive
The relaunch of Liefeld’s Extreme Studios has been a successful endeavor so far. Bland characters from 20 years ago are now filled with a new life and vitality that would have been impossible if Liefeld kept writing them. The revamped Bloodstrike works because it does not bury its premise underneath meaningless action sequences. Instead, it embraces the macabre and grisly elements of the concept and does not shy from them.
Although calling both the team and the leader Bloodstrike makes it confusing to talk about. The current writer needs to take care of that.