Pencillers: Sal Velluto and Val Semeiks
Inkers: Jeff Albrecht, Del Barras, and Tom McWeeney
Cover: On the left is the Taker; at the top in the flying car (left to right) are Razorsharp; unknown; Prism; and Loose Cannon. Below them, wrapped in a tentacle is Nightblade; then Mongrel; then Martian Manhunter. Below them is Superman, and beside him is Sparx. The rest, left to right, on the ground are Hitman (on the bike); Edge; Chimera; Gunfire; and Geist.
Page 1: The Parasites’ nest explodes.
Page 2: The Taker, the incubated progeny of the Parasites, emerges.
Page 3: And he heads off looking for food.
Page 4 – Panel 1: Superman, watching the Taker from above.
Page 4 – Panel 2: The paralysis field he mentions is something that the Taker generates and was used to defeat the heroes in the previous issue.
Page 4 – Panel 3: A quick summary of the previous issue where the other heroes distracted the Taker, allowing Superman to escape.
Page 4 – Panels 4 and 5: Superman spots the Flash and wonders who he’s with.
Page 5 – Panel 1: Left to right are Edge; Sparx; the Flash; Loose Cannon; Nightblade; Superman; and Prism. Flash found them hanging around in the previous issue. Doesn’t seem much else worth commenting on in this page.
Page 6 – Panel 1: “I’ll head into town – find a phone.” Ah, the days before everyone had a mobile phone. Anyone else remember them?
Page 6 – Panel 4: Edge explains how he and the others were able to find the nest before the other heroes.
Page 6 – Panel 5: The New Bloods helpfully introduce themselves; Edge’s mention of meeting “the real Superman” is in reference to his first appearance where he ran into Steel.
Page 7 – Panel 1: Flash appears a little more suspicious than I remember him.
Page 7 – Panel 2: He comes across another band of New Bloods surrounding Amanda Waller. Left to right are Anima; Razorsharp; Amanda Waller; Jamm; and Hook.
Page 7 – Panel 4: “Fast red dude.” I swear I’m going to punch every panel that Jamm appears in.
Page 7 – Panels 5 and 6: The paralysis field is mentioned as well as the fact that the New Bloods are immune to its effects.
Page 8 – Panel 1: Anima makes the introductions but as we met them all on the last page, I’m sure you can remember who’s who. She also mentions the Taker having called to her and the other New Bloods.
Page 8 – Panel 2: A mistake here in the dialogue captioning as Flash says the same thing twice in two balloons.
Page 8 – Panel 5: Flash discovers something left behind by the Taker.
Page 9 – Panels 1 to 3: Another New Blood, Mongrel, comes to find the Taker and he’s apparently very angry.
Page 9 – Panel 4: Mongrel’s blast causes the Taker pain, the first time we’ve seen this happen.
Page 10 – Panel 2: A helicopter flies in, bringing reinforcements. There’s mention of an “estimated 1,000 parasite attacks” and “about 25 survivors” which is closer to the 1,100 death toll mentioned in the previous issue but, again, doesn’t match with President Clinton’s claim of “about one in 100” victims becoming super-powered, a claim also made in the previous issue.
Page 10 – Panel 3: Seems redundant for me to list who’s who here as the captions do it for us, but it’s surprising that Slingshot, Shadowstryke and Krag all appear – they showed up in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA ANNUAL #7 pre-made; we didn’t see them attacked by a Parasite, they just arrived with powers. It’s also odd that Joe Public is here as he was planning to quit at the end of his first appearance.
Page 11 – Panel 4: As Lionheart says, he wasn’t attacked by a Parasite and has no powers beyond his armoured suit and his sword.
Page 12 – Panel 1: Argus and Geist bond over their lack of offensive powers.
Page 12 – Panel 4: A new guy arrives holding a sewer pipe – this is Gunfire, another New Blood who can turn any object into a weapon.
Page 13 – Panel 1: Unlike Mongrel’s attack, this one has no effect.
Page 13 – Panel 6: If people keep introducing each other, I’m going to be out of a job.
Page 14 – Panel 2: Amanda Waller and Maggie Sawyer, the head of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit.
Page 14 – Panel 3: The Taker in the distance, being tracked by Waller and her crew/
Page 14 – Panel 4: Anima and Razorsharp borrow an SCU flying vehicle. As an aside, Anima’s dialogue is very clunky, here.
Page 15 – Panel 2: Left to right are Edge; Loose Cannon; Sparx; Superman; Prism; Nightblade; and the Taker who is moving away from Metropolis.
Page 15 – Panel 3: Anima and Razorsharp arrive, mentioning the call the New Bloods are feeling.
Page 15 – Panel 5: With several of the New Bloods climbing aboard, Superman becomes frustrated at the lack of organisation.
Page 16 – Panel 1: Making the best of the bad decision, Superman decides to distract the Taker, with the help of Sparx, while the New Bloods attack.
Page 16 – Panels 2 and 3: While Loose Cannon is somewhat defeatist, Prism helps out from afar, firing some sort of light show at the Taker.
Page 16 – Panel 4: Again, a New Blood is found to be immune to the Taker’s paralysis field.
Page 17 – Panel 1: Left to right in the flier are Anima; Edge; Nightblade; and Razorsharp.
Page 17 – Panel 4: Razorsharp transforms her arms into blades . . .
Page 17 – Panel 5: . . . and then changes back for some reason. Whatever Anima’s pointing and referring to isn’t clear.
Page 18 – Panel 2: Razorsharp’s blade cuts into the Taker’s skin.
Page 18 – Panel 3: Edge fires his blades at the Taker as well.
Page 19 – Panel 1: Anima transforms into an armoured and spike-covered version of herself.
Page 19 – Panel 2: So Razorsharp stole the flier, but Nightblade plans on keeping it? Jerk.
Page 19 – Panel 3: Like the others, Anima’s attacks cause the Taker some damage.
Page 20 – Panel 1: The Taker’s tentacles strike the flier and Nightblade, sending him tumbling out of the vehicle.
Page 20 – Panel 3: Razorsharp falls over the side and in an attempt to save her . . .
Page 20 – Panel 4: . . . Anima summons her Animus.
Page 21 – Panel 1: And the Animus sets out to save Razorsharp . . .
Page 21 – Panel 3: . . . which it does while Nightblade lands with a KRACK signalling something major is broken.
Page 21 – Panel 4: And Loose Cannon shows some emotion.
Page 22 – Panels 1 and 2: Enraged by the death of Nightblade, Loose Cannon throws a rock column at the Taker . . .
Page 22 – Panel 3: . . . which impales its arm. Odd that this happens when Gunfire’s sewer pipe cannon had no effect.
Page 23 – Panels 1 and 2: Superman struggles to make any impact on the Taker, the paralysis effect wearing him down.
Page 23 – Panel 3: While Superman and Mongrel haven’t been introduced, we can only assume Mongrel has been shouting his own name during the off screen battle.
Page 24 – Panel 1: In the background, the Animus faces off against the Taker. In the flier are Razorsharp, Anima, and Edge.
Page 24 – Panels 3 and 4: And we’re back with the Flash who’s still checking out the big organ the Taker left behind.
Page 25 – Panel 2: Flash finds the missing heroes. Left to right above the Flash are Guy Gardner; Booster Gold; and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. To the right of the Flash’s head is Pantha; to the right of her are Batman and Wonder Woman; to the right of them are Deathstroke and Nightwing; to the right of them is Etrigan.
Page 26 – Panel 2: Back at the battle with the Taker, Sparx introduces herself to Mongrel who, as always, is a dick.
Page 26 – Panel 4: The Taker’s tentacles grab Sparx. With that big SSNAP sound effect around her neck, you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s just had her neck broken but she’s okay.
Page 26 – Panel 5: Joe Public at the top of the group, Krag to the left, Slingshot to the right, Shadowstryke at the bottom.
Page 27 – Panel 2: Slingshot and Shadowstryke’s blasts attract Mongrel’s attention.
Page 27 – Panel 3: See, I told you Sparx was okay.
Page 27 – Panel 4: Shadowstryke and Mongrel’s blasts seem to have an effect on the Taker . . .
Page 28 – Panel 1: . . . which makes it drop Sparx.
Page 28 – Panel 4: Shadowstryke mentions a “Reese’s commercial” – I assume that Reese’s had some ad in the early 90s about combining ingredients?
Page 28 – Panel 5: Mongrel, once again, is a dick.
Page 28 – Panel 6: Joe Public wants them to fire together once more and, again, Mongrel is a dick.
Page 29 – Panels 1 and 2: Joe manages to convince him to give it a go, however.
Page 29 – Panel 3: And the Taker takes another hit.
Page 30 – Panel 1: Lionheart and Ballistic, with Lionheart spouting good old cor blimey English.
Page 30 – Panels 2 and 3: Ballistic fires some ordnance at the Taker who doesn’t notice it.
Page 30 – Panel 4: So Lionheart leaps into battle.
Page 31: Lionheart attacks and, despite not being a true New Blood as he was never bitten by a Parasite, his plasma blade cuts through the Taker’s tentacles.
Page 32 – Panel 1: We’re seeing the Taking here through the “enhanced vision” of Argus.
Page 32 – Panel 2: Argus on the left, Geist on the right, Gunfire at the back.
Page 32 – Panel 4: Once again a New Blood attack causes the Taker pain.
Page 33 – Panel 1: Back with the Flash who’s looking for New Bloods.
Page 33 – Panel 3: And as if by magic we have Chimera, Jamm, and Hook.
Page 33 – Panel 4: Flash leads them back to the imprisoned heroes.
Page 34 – Panel 1: Superman still trying to figure out a way to hurt the Taker.
Page 34 – Panel 2: He spots a breakaway part of the Taker’s tentacles and investigates.
Page 35 – Panel 1: This is Hitman who would go on to be the breakout character from this whole Bloodlines thing. Here, however, he’s a surly, motorbike riding, pouch covered, gun toting blank slate that shows nothing of what he would become.
Page 35 – Panel 4: Jillian Simmons is the name Myriad is using.
Page 36: The pair of them launch an attack on the Taker, setting off a huge explosion in its side.
Page 37: There’s not much to say about this page; Hitman leaves Myriad and roars off on his motorbike.
Page 38: Superman follows that tentacle he spotted on Page 34 and discovers the Taker is feeding from an oil deposit. A blast of heat vision causes the oil to explode, denying the Taker its energy.
Page 39 – Panel 1: Flash, Jamm, Hook and Chimera view the trapped heroes. Left to right are Pantha; Batman; Wonder Woman; Green Lantern; Deathstroke; Starfire; Nightwing; and Etrigan.
Page 39 – Panel 2: Flash tries to warn them about the tentacles and the paralysing effect . . .
Page 39 – Panel 3: . . . but Hook is snatched before he can.
Page 39 – Panel 5: However, Hook is able to slice through the tentacle and free himself.
Page 40 – Panel 2: Hook opens up one of the pods holding the heroes. To the bottom right are Atom and Robin.
Page 40 – Panel 3: But who comes spilling out? Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman.
Page 40 – Panels 5 and 6: Jamm inadvertently uses his power of making people do what he tells them, to revive the heroes.
Page 41: Back with Argus, Geist and Gunfire in what is basically a repeat of Page 32, but this time using a train engine rather than a section of rail track.
Page 42: And for the first time the Taker tumbles. In the air above it, on the left, is Sparx; above it is Lionheart; to the right is the flyer with Anima, Edge and Razorsharp; below them is Mongrel.
Page 43 – Panel 1: The Taker falls.
Page 43 – Panel 2: In the back seat of the flyer are Loose Cannon, Anima and Prism; in the front are Edge and Razorsharp. Left to right on the ground are Joe Public; Slingshot; Krag; and Shadowstryke.
Page 43 – Panels 4 and 5: The Taker gets back up.
Page 44 – Panel 1: Razorsharp; Prism; and Loose Cannon.
Page 44 – Panel 2: Joe Public appeals to Edge; Krag; and Slingshot.
Page 44 – Panel 3: Just arriving on the scene are Pax; Lobo; Vril Dox; and Layla.
Page 44 – Panel 4: We’ve name-checked most of the characters here but, for the sake of completion, working clockwise from the top left are Pax; Lobo; Vril Dox; Layla; Loose Cannon; Chimera; Jamm; Gunfire; Razorsharp; Anima; Geist; Krag; Joe Public; and Prism in the centre.
Page 45 – Panel 1: Superman and a handful of other New Bloods join the group. Left to right are Vril Dox; Mongrel; Gunfire; Razorsharp; Loose Cannon; Lionheart; Superman; Joe Public; and Sparx. Superman delivers a speech that sums up the whole point of this story: to give a reason to the creation of all these new characters and allow them to save the day when the established heroes failed.
Page 45 – Panel 3: Joe Public, the hero who decided to quit at the end of his first appearance in BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT ANNUAL, has been the one making the New Bloods work together and here comes up with a plan.
Page 45 – Panels 4 and 5: Anima offers to use the Animus as a repository for the energy Joe Public will focus from the other New Bloods.
Page 46 – Panel 2: “Never volunteer” says Hook before promptly volunteering.
Page 46 – Panel 3: Anima in the middle; to the left of the page, top to bottom, are Sparx; Geist; Hook; Razorsharp; Jamm; and Gunfire. To the right of the page are Joe Public; Chimera; Prism; Argus; Krag; Edge; and Slingshot.
Page 47 – Panel 1: Animus, manifesting several of the powers/appearances of the New Bloods.
Page 47 – Panel 3: And the fight begins.
Pages 48 to 51: Not much to say here – it’s a four page fight ending in a two page headbutt.
Page 52 – Panel 1: As the big fight comes to an end, the New Bloods lose their connection and separate out once more.
Page 52 – Panel 3: And they celebrate that the Taker has been killed.
Page 52 – Panel 4: Oh wait, no it isn’t.
Page 53: This late in the game we get our first really big crowd scene. Click the picture on the right to see the full version, and the key is as follows: 1) Hawkman 2) Redwing 3) Dr Light 4) The Ray 5) Superman 6) The Atom (since when can he fly?) 7) Green Lantern 8) Martian Manhunter 9) Guy Gardner 10) Killowat 11) Arsenal 12) Bloodwynd 13) Red Star 14) Maxima 15) Booster Gold 16) Superboy 17) Terra 18) Power Girl 19) Changeling 20) Elongated Man 21) Battalion 22) Dagon 23) Etrigan 24) Tasmanian Devil 25) Lobo who is inappropriately touching 26) Layla 27) Vril Dox 28) Pax 29) Nightwing 30) Wonder Woman 31) Deathstroke 32) Batman 33) Myriad 34) Hitman 35) Pantha 36) Robin 37) Flash 38) Krag 39) Mongrel 40) Joe Public 41) Shadowstryke 42) Lionheart 43) Anima 44) Chimera 45) Gunfire 46) Razorsharp 47) Hook 48) Prism 49) Edge 50) Loose Cannon 51) Slignshot 52) Jamm 53) Argus 54) Sparx
Page 54 – Panels 1 and 2: With the Taker’s psychic drain no longer in play, the heroes are able to gather its huge bulk up.
Page 55 – Panel 1: And the unconscious Taker is thrown into the sun. Anyone else feel a little morally conflicted about that?
Page 55 – Panel 2: LEGION carriers have followed the heroes up into space.
Page 55 – Panel 4: Lobo raises the possibility that there were other Parasites that arrived from their dimension.
Page 56 – Panel 2: Nightblade, who broke his neck back on Page 21, returns to life, as a tank draws near.
Page 56 – Panel 3: The tank’s being driven by Ballistic who has missed the fight.
Page 56 – Panel 4: As the pair of them walk off, Ballistic assures Nightblade they have “all the time in the world” and just like that, it’s all over.