Bloodborne is an IP which I’ve always appreciated from afar– I don’t have the requisite hardware to play the game, nor do I generally have the time to play games, but since its release, I’ve loved the game’s art direction and action-oriented approach to weird fiction. The latter is particularly interesting given that Lovecraftian and weird fiction is often a little ponderous and…we’ll say “deliberate” for the sake of flattery. Given Bloodborne’s tendency towards kinetic action and huge set-piece monsters you’d assume the game is a perfect fit for a comic adaptation, and you’d be right. Mostly.
The art is just as on point as expected. There are Victorian vistas, hulking nightmare creatures, and tasteful moments of bloodshed. I’m sure there are easter eggs and narrative clues in the art which I didn’t catch, especially jumping randomly into the series at issue 14, but I particularly enjoyed the two old-god-esque monsters locked in a bizarre melee under the red moon and sporadic, seemingly random panels of nautical peril. For those sensitive to nudity, be forewarned, the main character of the book is naked for the duration, but if you’re reading a comic based on a gory horror game I’ll make the assumption that most of you won’t be bothered at all.
The problem with Bloodborne is how little appears to be happening here. The issue is twenty-eight pages long, but only about nineteen of those pages are narrative, and even those are primarily art. While the alternate covers and splashy art pieces that preface the story are nice, the entire issue takes about 5 minutes to read and comprehend in its entirety and just feels too light on story. Issue 14 may be a fluke in terms of length and storytelling density, but if it’s indicative of the broader series I can’t imagine there’s a whole lot going on. I also understand that the storytelling in FromSoftware games is sparse, so the style follows the source material and does still present a complete and competent little story, so maybe this will appeal to diehards, but there just isn’t enough there for me. Compounding the issue is the fact that several of the few words in this comic are superfluous and are used to establish atmosphere rather than to really say anything, at least outright. With this in mind, I feel that a collected volume of these comics would be a really cool read utilizing a lot of visual storytelling even amongst the medium, but as individual issues this is going to be a hard sell for anyone who doesn’t really love the series and its art.
Bloodborne #14 is available now