The first issue of the new BLOODHOUND mini-series, CROWBAR MEDICINE, arrived in stores today, and I feel like a proud papa. When the series got canceled at DC, lo these many years ago, I knew it would return, someday, in some fashion, but I didn't know when or how. Now here we are, the book is out, and the reviews have started showing up.
Here's one from Chris Partin at Comic Addiction:
Jamie Wilson at Big Comic Page, who called it "another hit from Dark Horse":
Sean Tonelli at Comics: The Gathering:
Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading:
Kristine Chester at Fanboy Comics:
Those reviews are all very positive, and make me want to do the proverbial happy dance. I love this series, and the guys at Dark Horse are pumped about it, but you never know until you turn it loose to the public what the rest of the world's reactions will be, and it's a damn huge relief that readers feel the same way about it.
Then we get these two:
Samantha Roehrig at Comic Bastards:
Nicole D'Andria at Entertainment Fuse:
Samantha and Nicole's reviews are also positive, or at least mostly positive, but both reviewers interpret Clev's relationship with Trish and her daughters as something very different from the actual story. And you know whose fault that is? Mine.
Here's the thing -- and I'm not giving anything away by saying this -- Clev's "family life" is a profoundly screwed up attempt at taking a horribly dysfunctional situation and making the best of it. *I* knew what this relationship was, everyone at Dark Horse did, and if readers had seen any of the original series, or the Dark Horse Presents three-parter, they'd know it too. But Nicole and Samantha had not read any of that material, so when Michelle calls Clev "Uncle," both reviewers took it to mean that Trish was either Clev's sister or his sister-in-law.
That's not the case. Trish was the wife of Clev's former partner -- the partner Clev killed, which sent him to prison. Not only that, but Clev and Trish had also been having a long-standing affair, and Michelle is Clev's biological daughter, a fact that neither of Trish's kids knows.
Looking back over CROWBAR MEDICINE #1, is there any way for brand-new readers to know that? ...Nope.
I remember (many years ago) buying the X-Files album, which featured songs inspired by the show and written by such dignitaries as Soul Coughing, Nick Cave, and P.M. Dawn. The P.M. Dawn song, in particular, was important to the show's creator, Chris Carter, because Carter had written the lyrics for it himself (if I recall correctly). Carter went on at some length about how fantastically P.M. Dawn had interpreted his lyrics -- but when I listened to the song, I couldn't understand a single damn word that came out of Prince Be's mouth, no matter how many times I listened to it. The lyrics didn't come with the album, so I was left basically just having to take Chris Carter's word for it.
Chris Carter was excited about the song because, since he'd written the lyrics, of course he understood them. I have to wonder if he ever asked anyone else if they could make them out.
So now I'm in Chris Carter's position: of course I understand how Clev fits in, or doesn't fit in, with Trish and Rachel and Michelle Crosby, because I already knew. I should've been more careful in making sure that information came across to people who weren't familiar with the earlier material. To that end, we've modified the "Our Story Thus Far" bit that appears on the Inside Front Cover, which will read thusly starting with Issue #2:
"Travis Clevenger’s attempt to spend time with his dysfunctional, makeshift family (the widow of the corrupt partner he killed and her two daughters, the younger of whom is secretly Clev's) was interrupted when Clev's handler, FBI agent Saffron Bell, pulled him into a case involving a superhuman rampage with a high body count. While Clev recuperates from his encounter with the culprit, Dr. Bradley Morgenstern announces that he can avert future tragedies by granting powers to those who pass his personal background check, instigating a nation-wide uproar."
Live and learn!