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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Collection - BLOOD SYNDICATE [1993 Series]

Blood Syndicate [1993 series]
35 issues [1993 - 1996]
1 - 35

BLOOD SYNDICATE was one of the four books that launched the Milestone line in 1993, the one team-book among their line, featuring members of various street gangs who band together (but still fight among themselves) after they get super-powers in the Big Bang which also gave Static and others powers. It had a rougher start than the other books, I think I remember hearing that the intended artist fell through at the last minute, so the first four issues had four different pencillers, which isn't the ideal way to start a book, even if they all were pretty good artists. Fortunately, one of those four, ChrisCross, stuck around and was the regular artist for most of the rest of the series, starting off a bit rough but quickly getting his footing.

The writing for most of the series is by Ivan Velez, co-writing the first storyline with Dwayne McDuffie and then solo for all but three fill-in issues. Velez was a new name to me, not having heard of his TALES OF THE CLOSET series until later, but he was really good, especially with the characterization, and also the use of a lot of the super-powers. A lot of well-developed characters who were fun to read about month-to-month, like Fade, Brickhouse, Third Rail and of course Dogg.

The first half of the run is the best, though it's hard to pick any particular issue, since it's one of those team books that flows from issue to issue, with subplots building each issue, cliffhanger endings and all that. The second half had some good stories as well, but a few pacing problems, partly because of a line-wide crossover that got in the way, and some fill-in issues that really missed the mark, and generally because the book seemed to be treading water. I think there was some talk of a few spin-off mini-series for some of the characters that never came out, so maybe there were developments planned for those that the series was waiting for, or stories it was setting up never came to pass. It ends pretty well, although a bit abruptly.

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