Bloodlines 2016

Seemingly from out of nowhere, a new BLOODLINES mini-series appeared in 2016, written by JT Krul with art by V Ken Marion. Apart from the name and the basic premise of alien parasites infecting people, some of whom develop abilities, it had no connection to the original BLOODLINES event from the 1990s.

In the first issue we’re introduced to the main characters: Eddie who suffers from a genetic disorder that leaves him weak and using crutches; Albert, one of the smartest kids in the school; Dana the podcasting attentions seeker; Faith, the young, spoiled brat; Haley, the kick ass mechanic with attitude and piercings; and Blake, the cop who’s desperate to get back with Haley. Unknown to them, they’ve each been infected by alien parasites (in a lot more subtle fashion than the original) and Eddie manifests his changes first – like the original, he becomes a muscular, blue skinned giant – when his best friend is killed at a high school party.

In issue #2, Dana emits electricity – like the original Sparx – which cuts her podcasting short, while Haley’s piercings project out of her skin in razor sharp blades. Blake discovers he’s able to make things explode, like Gunfire, while Faith projects an elemental force, like Anima, that kills the parents and children at a birthday party. As Eddie tests out his new powers one night, Albert appears, having been watching him while invisible, like Geist. When Blake investigates the birthday party murders, he’s approached by a man called Duncan who’s convinced the worlds is ending.

In the third issue, Duncan tells Blake how he had to kill his family after they were infected and, when he notices the same infection scar on Blake, he tries to kill him. Escaping, Duncan finds another infected man and shoots him as he tries to kill a young woman; the corpse ends up in the morgue. Albert and Eddie approach Dana and convince her that they know somethings happened to her. Blake goes to Haley and they reveal their powers to each other. Albert gets access to an X-ray machine and, when he scans Eddie, reveals the alien parasite has infected his entire body. Albert realises the aliens infect the body first, then take over people’s minds. Meanwhile, the infected corpse reanimates and escapes the morgue.

Issue four starts with Faith having killed a family using her animus and gorging herself on ice cream. Duncan makes another attempt on Blake’s life but is defeated by Haley, and he tells them that they, like his family, will be taken over by the aliens. Eddie, Dana and Albert are attracted to the school football game by the screams of the players and audience and find the infected corpse attacking everyone. As they attack him, they’re joined by Blake, Haley and Duncan. Between them they take him down with Eddie ripping out the alien parasite so that Duncan can kill it. The next day, in church, the pastor mind controls his congregation into following him.

In issue five, Duncan tries to convince the others that they will become monsters and that they’re better off fying, but they convince him that they’re not monsters yet. When they return to town, they find the congregation being controlled by the pastor and despite their best efforts, they’re unable to defeat him and free the people. After recovering from an attack that left them unconscious, the group head out to where the original alien meteor landed and, in a cave beneath the crater, find the townsfolk both feeding and protecting a giant parasite. As they try to attack, Blake slips under the control of the parasite.

In the final issue, Blake is knocked unconscious and Albert, while invisible, kills the pastor, allowing the rest of the team to fight the parasites and those townspeople who have already mutated. The giant parasite attacks and Eddie steps up, using his powers to tear the thing apart from within, killing it. Blake remains possessed, however, and Haley kills him and the parasite that infected him. Later, the five of them head to Metropolis in the hopes of getting cured. Meanwhile, at a roadhouse outside Keystone City, Faith releases her animus, killing the patrons of the bar.

On the whole it wasn’t a bad series, keeping enough of the original to show its origins, but being different enough to be its own thing. While definitely taking place in the DCU, it was kept separate and there are no superheroes throughout. With the group heading to Metropolis, and Faith still unchecked, there was scope for a sequel but, at the time of writing in December 2017, there’s no sign of one.