Blade #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Bryan Hill, art by Elena Casagrande, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Joe Sabino. Blade is tasked with protecting a young girl, being hunted by vampires and other monstrous forces, with no one understanding why.
This comic starts fighting first before the story begins to be told. It opens with a sword-swinging fight scene, then gets to the exposition and the mystery of the woman the vampires want. The setting of the mission is superb, brief yet filled with tension and intrigue. There are no hints within the first part of the comic. After that first skirmish, there is quiet as Blade seeks answers for why he has been called into action. It is impossible to tell where the rest of the comic is going, as the second half moves at an entirely separate pace. Blade #1 suddenly switches from a protection mission into something ancient and way above the vampire hunter’s payroll. The reveal and devolution from what was expected make the second half extremely shocking.
The first issue of this new series has some fascinating dialogue, especially for those not aware of what Blade is like as a character. How he speaks to the young woman tasked with saving a protecting is blunt and surprising. It can be framed as a lack of caring, but it is likely a feeling of trepidation. Blade does not have friends or people he cares about, which is clear in the first few pages. I don’t think there is a character in this comic that Eric Brooks does not kill or threaten to kill. The vampires and the monsters, in general, are also brilliant. They are deliciously murderous and evil, with Hill giving their dialogue the bravado that comes with immortality. The reveal of the true villain is even greater, with a personality that transcends anyone with fangs, including Dracula himself.
The art is epic. The comic is murky and kept in the shadows for the whole issue. The action scenes are terrific. They are extended over multiple pages, especially in the middle of the comic. Not only is it fast and unflinching, but the story is being told at the same time. We notice things about the woman we didn’t before as she finds herself in danger, even with Blade trying to keep her alive. The assailant trying to kill her has a fantastic design that is revealed. The true extent of what it is barely shown, but its horror is evident very early in this series. Casagrande seems to enjoy tight close-ups, which allows for great detailing on monstrous faces of emotional changes that hint at hidden agendas.
The colors are very interesting. As mentioned before, this book lives in darkness, and that can sometimes get too much. So much of the book is in shadows, and there is a heavy filter, either blue or red, over most of the issue. And while it is imposing, it can sometimes feel like I have to strain my eyes to see what is happening. But it can also be exhilarating and gorgeous. The variety in the shades is stunning, allowing the pupils in Blade and other monsters’ eyes to glow. When there is light, say from car headlights or a phone screen, the impact of the light is fascinating. As these are all creatures that live in the shadows, it makes sense for there to be an absence of light. The lettering is clear and always easy to read.
Blade #1 is a new start that defies any expectations. The first half of the comic almost leans in on tropes and cliches, using a similar starting scene to what the Blade movie contains. This makes us comfortable within this corner of the Marvel Universe. But then, halfway through, everything changes, bringing in a new villain that elevates the stakes and the drama. Blade will be tested against something he has never faced before, something even more terrifying than vampires. And it seems the world of monsters could be changed forever.
Blade #1 is a new start that defies any expectations. The first half of the comic almost leans in on tropes and cliches, using a similar starting scene to what the Blade movie contains.