Blood Syndicate: Season One #3 begins with a bang as Sara aka Flashback is launched briefly into a future where the Milestone universe seems to be at war. Her powers bring her back to the present where she tries to reconnect with Rolando and Carlos. These opening pages with the flash-forward feature art by Tom Raney, while penciller ChrisCross and inker Juan Castro handle the rest of the book. The consistency of the art team helps Raney’s contribution stand out, highlighting the shift in time through the visual change.
Writer Geoff Thorne chooses to present some of the dialogue in these initial scenes in Spanish without translation, which is nice as it strengthens the immersion in the story, allowing the bilingual characters to switch languages without intrusive editorial boxes translating the text and obscuring the artwork. Most of the language is understandable, even without a translator, and more importantly, the artwork by ChrisCross conveys the meaning. You don’t need to know that “Mataste a mi hermano!” translates to “You killed my brother!” when Sara is clearly yelling at a person she believes killed her brother.
While Blood Syndicate: Season One #3 does a good job introducing Sara, Maria, and Eddie as part of this rag-tag group, the choice to step beyond the viewpoints of Rolando and Hannibal feels a bit jarring coming off of the first two issues. Though the continued conflict with Holocaust serves as a thread between the chapters, this is the first time that Blood Syndicate: Season One has felt unfocused and it will be on future issues to make sure that this series closes strong.
Fortunately, the issue closes on a strong point, as Holocaust attempts to ambush Hannibal as the latter is being detained by police. The sequence doesn’t quite explode — it’s used as a hook for the future issue — but the artwork by ChrisCross, Castro, and color artist Wil Quintana shows off the power sets of the characters and the character designs themselves feel exciting. Each of the new characters is visually interesting and speaks to a lived experience just off the page. Readers don’t know everything about these characters, but they feel fully fleshed out.
In all, the decentralized focus of Blood Syndicate: Season One #3 does make the issue feel a bit weaker than the previous two chapters, but Geoff Thorne and ChrisCross create strong enough characterizations that the series doesn’t lose too much steam.
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