As far as video game comics go, Bloodborne #1 takes an incredible video game and transforms the dark world into a gritty 2D story that is, if nothing else, intriguing.
Some video games just aren’t meant to be comics. I get the allure though. You have an enticing game like Wolfenstein, or Assassin’s Creed that does incredibly well in sales, how can you milk that cash cow for every cent? Turn it into a comic series of course! Now, for me, I was extremely apprehensive about what this comic was going to be. Bloodborne is easily one of the greatest games of all time, in my opinion. I’ve sunk countless hours into numerous characters and builds, and I’ve explored every inch of the game more times than I should admit. Hearing that it was getting the comic book treatment had me feeling excited but also uneasy…
Thankfully, the first issue works. Remarkably well actually. From the design, to the writing, Titan Comics has something here that could truly gain traction as more issues release, as long as they keep the formula they’ve developed working. I imagine it was tricky taking such a lore-heavy game translating that onto paper. The character you create doesn’t do much talking at all, and the NPC’s offer vague riddles as a majority of their dialogue. The first time you play through the game doesn’t leave you with much understanding of what the fuck actually just happened. That being said, Titan Comics took a risk and ran with it, and what we get is an exciting, well written (and well paced) first issue that left me craving more.
WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW!!
“Seek Paleblood and transcend the hunt.”
This adage is a well known one from the game and a focal point of Bloodborne #1. The story follows a hunter, as he battles with the inner conflict of the living nightmare he is a part of. Old Yharnam is burning, and beasts run rampant. It’s the hunter’s purpose to hunt these beasts and end the nightmare. While this ideal runs in tandem with the video game, Titan Comics has taken this search in a new direction. Upon death the Hunter is sent to the dream. There he runs into familiar faces, the Doll and Gherman. He exchanges a few words with them and returns to the nightmare, where he relives what just happened up to his death. This time making a new choice. Take the girl and run. He’s introduced to this mystery girl who appears to have Paleblood coursing through her veins, and it now becomes his duty to find out where to take her and how she plays into his transcendence.
The thing that makes this comic so enjoyable is the fan service it delivers, while also standing on it’s own as an emerging series. There are Easter eggs galore for fans of the game, but at the same time, while these settings look familiar, and the hunters in them are recognizable, nodding to you Powder Kegs, the story is fresh and new. Nothing about this comic is re-used, predictable material, and that’s why this first issue is so well done.
The art is clean and gritty at the same time. Artist Piotr Kowalski and writer Ales Kot have taken a game that needs no tie-ins and delivered an intriguing expansion into the world of Bloodborne, one that I am eager to see through to the end.