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“FISTFUL OF BLOOD #1” (Comic Book Review)

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FISTFUL OF BLOOD is exactly the type of comic you would imagine would first find its audience in the pages of Heavy Metal: Blood, vampires, zombies and a thong-clad, gun-toting woman in the middle of a desert town that may or may not be post-apocalyptic. Even the genre is ambiguously Heavy Metal, a mix of western/horror/maybe sex, sets the tone for what is perhaps, the most over the top, yet, fun read on the market right now.  Definitely a mature audience title, FISTFUL OF BLOOD pulls a no punches homage to Clint Eastwood’s FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, and, despite some creative choices, does an impressive job of keeping true to the original work.

The comic opens up on our half-dressed, bleach blonde woman, Woman with No Name, collapsing in a desert. With proper alias and deathly silent, her fatigued body is found by a clan of men intent on, well, what men are intent on in the West.  Unfortunately for them, she’s quick on the draw and blows off their heads before they can blow their wads, only to see them rise back up from the dead… literally. Turns out that the town she had stumbled on was currently at war with itself. Two clans, the Von Bismarks, who are vampires, and the McDonalds, who are zombies, have claimed the town for themselves and she might be just the ticket to tip the scales. But, who is she really and what does she want with town herself?

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While it would fit in with its contemporaries in Heavy Metal, especially when it was first released fifteen years ago, FISTFUL OF BLOOD is a bit of a wild card in the modern world of comics. At a time when the comic industry is focusing on a rebuilding their image with women readers and women characters, this work throws caution to the wind by not only featuring a woman whose breasts are intentionally bigger than her head, but clothes that barely cover anything at all. It’s not subtle. If it actually manages to walk the fine line between exploitation and empowering is up to the reader, but it’s definitely an eye-catching feature, good at luring the unexpected teenager to its bloodied pages. Speaking of bloodied pages, the violence part of ‘sex and violence’ is pretty dang violent. Heads are blown off with wild abandon and zombies drop like flies in the heat of the merciless desert, helping the comic really live up to its title.

The story and art are hemmed by Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley, who helped spruce up the work for its 15th anniversary release. Eastman writes a story that is more style than substance, but he has a lot of fun with it. To be honest, there’s only so much that can be done with a comic homage to a movie without turning into a Mad Magazine satire, so it is what it is. The zombie/vampire twist is an enjoyable addition to the story and despite any wardrobe objections, The Woman with No Name does have a strong streak in her, very reminiscent of The Bride from KILL BILL or Ripley from ALIENS. Bisley’s art, carefully drawn-over by Eastman, is thick-lined and pop art stylized which works perfectly with the bizarre tale. Tomi Varga’s coloring brings a dusty palate to the work, playing well with the gritty, grindhouse vibe of the story. Out now from IDW, FISTFUL OF BLOOD #1 comes recommended.

About the author
Svetlana Fedotov http://facebook.com/vladkicksass
Svetlana Fedotov hails from the wild woods of the Pacific Northwest. She loves horror and comic books, and does her best to combine those two together at any cost. She also writes for the horror site Brutal as Hell and sometimes for the magazine Delirium. Svetlana has recently released her first novel, Guts and Glory, under the pen name S.V. Fedotov on Amazon digital.
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