Can we just talk about how cool Blade is? Blade is just the best. That’s all our SPOILER-LITE review for this week’s Blade #1 talks about, so if you don’t wanna spend time with the coolest British vampire this side of the Atlantic (or don’t enjoy violence), head on down to the Rapid Rundown!

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Blade #1
Blade #1

Blade #1

Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Elena Casagrande & Jordie Bellaire

Blade is just the coolest, right? Are we all in agreement on that? Why haven’t there been more Blade comics? ‘Cause this issue rocks. Beheadings, crazy sword fights, sparkly vampires… what more could you ask for?

Bryan Hill brings us up to speed on recent developments within the freakier side of Earth-616, as we follow Blade on what starts out as a routine mission that quickly falls apart. Halfway through the issue, there’s a plot twist that turns the concept of the issue onto its head. It’s a bit of an expected move, and something you might expect if you’re familiar with this kind of story, but it works because of the way the issue pushes past it and keeps the momentum moving. 

Elena Casagrande and Jordie Bellaire continue their phenomenal partnership from last year’s Black Widow series, and, unsurprisingly, deliver an absolutely gorgeous looking comic. Bellaire’s use of lighting and shadow is stunning, with panels of vampires in the sunlight having this horrific ethereal glow that feels like something straight out of an elaborately shot movie. It’s hard to explain, so I’ll include an image of it below, but it’s such a powerful effect to see in a (literally) flat piece of art. 

Blade #1
I mean c’mon man, that rocks

Casagrande does a great job as well, jumping from beautiful people and places to some of the most violent panels I’ve seen at Marvel in quite some time. She has a strong handle on movement and choreography, leading to these insanely cool fight sequences that we get to watch dance across the page…. and from page to page as well, with blockbuster page turns that sneak up throughout the comic.

There are a few new threats and allies in this issue, and while they’re certainly interesting, I wish we had more time to spend with Blade himself and what he’s been going through lately. There’s a four part Infinity Comic written by Hill that sets up this arc, which digs into what’s been going on with Blade as of late since he quit being Sheriff of the Vampire Nation (something I totally forgot about!), but I wish that setup had been in this comic. It gives a great deal of context for this first issue and lets Hill play with his voice for Blade, which we don’t really get to hear in this issue (though when we do, Blade swears like a sailor). 

Blade #1

Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid action piece, with killer one-liners, gorgeous art, and a great setup for this story (and a neat lettering trick by Joe Sabino right after the twist!). But there’s a bit of character work left out that I’m hoping we get as the series continues onwards. 


Rapid Rundown!

  • X-Men Red #13
    • Genesis has finally arrived, and the Great Ring of Arakko is mixed on how to feel. She comes with the Annihilation Staff, a ‘more subtle’ power than the helm was. As I touched upon in my Heralds of Apocalypse review, Genesis is not a victim to the spirit of Annihilation, but a willing user of its power. Though she may be committing atrocious acts with it, she is largely in control of her faculties, and has far more agency than might be expected in a story like this. Ariana Maher uses these sneaky small balloons for the voice of Annihilation, and it’s a subtle trick that makes the staff feel incredibly sinister. Al Ewing imbues the issue with an air of regality, mixing the soap with high stakes theatre in a chapter that’s mostly debate over the old ways of Arakko and the new, introduced by Storm and the Krakoans. Ororo, as always, is here to be a voice of reason, and stand up to the antiquated ways of the past, and it’s been great to hear her have this sense of purpose again after so many years of being relegated to the sidelines. Jacopo Camagni is playing with his layouts here and I really like the way he utilizes unconventional panels throughout the issue. There are a few three panel pages toward the top that allow for a far more narrow view of the action, and give us a painfully slow unveiling of Genesis in all of her glory. Federico Blee keeps the pages dour, placing Arakko in this dreary atmosphere throughout the issue (and that’s before Storm erupts). As we move into the Fall, I’m interested to see how the rest of this story is impacted. There’s so much of this that’s far more cordoned off in it’s own world that I’m not sure how the story will play out… which makes it one of the most fascinating books to see come out of next week’s Hellfire GalaCB

Next Week: The Fall of X begins in both X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1 and… Invincible Iron Man #8? Catch up on past entries in The Beat’s Marvel Rundown archive.