“How’d you get so many scars?” – Michelle Crosby
“ . . . I made a lot of mistakes.” – Travis Clevenger
Travis “Clev” Clevenger is a murderer on loan to the FBI for his talent to track down and arrest superhuman criminals; the kind that don’t run around in tights with a bunch of henchmen and plot world domination, but the sort that use their abilities to commit far more ordinary crimes: theft, rape, and murder.
I dug the Bloodhound: Brass Knuckle Psychology trade, but this first issue of Crowbar Medicine is phenomenal and surpassed my already high expectations for the series. Writer Dan Jolley departs from the tried and true Bloodhound formula to deliver a touching and thought-provoking tale that doubles as political commentary.
That’s right, Crowbar Medicine tackles a hot-button issue in the United States: gun control. How well are weapons regulated? How easy are they to obtain? Are you genuinely safer if everyone’s packing heat? Okay, now what if instead of guns we were talking about superstrength or telekinesis? This is a bold move and, to Jolley’s credit, he presents both sides of the argument well, even if the main characters and the plot are clearly leaning towards a side.
When Crowbar Medicine isn’t tackling Star Trek levels of societal commentary, it’s still hard at work developing our heroes. Clev is trying to find his place as a part of the Crosby household and connect with the people he loves. It’s obvious that being a “family man” isn’t in Clev’s wheelhouse, which provides not only plenty of opportunities for comedy, but also heartfelt and heartbreaking moments like the quote up top. The sight of the 6’5” barrel-chested and scarred Clev and the doe-eyed child Michelle are priceless together, both touching and tragic. That’s something truly special about Clev’s interpersonal relationships, they’re not simple. As a reader I’m still not sure I want to root for Clev to get the family package, not when he’s also the one responsible for killing the dad Michelle and Rachel never got to grow up with.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Bloodhound without violence, gore, and Clev needing a trip to the emergency room. Crowbar Medicine finds time to sneak in some mayhem among all the character development and thematic elements. Crowbar Medicine is every bit as bloody as Brass Knuckle Psychology, so it’s not for the weak of stomach.
If I have one criticism about Crowbar Medicine #1, it’s that it lacks a proper introduction. While this gives the issue time to cover many other notes, it makes the new series more difficult for new readers, those not already familiar with Bloodhound from previous arcs, to follow along. Even a short summary would have been welcome to explain some elements such as Clev’s history, the reason for the collar, etc. Barring that, this is an incredible start for the return of Bloodhound, and I can’t wait to see where the series will go next.
Five Unregulated Power Chips out of Five!