"Bloodhound" was not a book I followed regularly when it was published by DC Comics. The only time I picked it up was "Bloodhound" #5 when it crossed over with Dan Jolley's other series at the time: "Firestorm." I vaguely remember enjoying the story. When I saw Jolley reunited with the "Bloodhound" title in "Dark Horse Presents," I made sure to sample the universe-agnostic series. I'm glad I did.
Despite "Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine" #2 being the second issue in Dark Horse's recent offering of the Dan Jolley-written, Leonard Kirk-drawn iteration of the series, this comic book is open and welcoming to new readers, dropping Travis "Clev" Clevenger into a new situation that builds upon his experience both in this volume and the previous. To help accommodate the adjustment and quench the thirst for backstory, Dark Horse provides a snappy summary inside the front cover of this issue under the label, "Number 12 in a series." Reading that blurb does provide some background, but the story itself quickly defines Clev for readers new and old alike.
A take no-crap kind of guy with his own moral code, Clev is nicely defined in Jolley's story. Telling Army Intelligence Major Wayne Boudreau to "kiss the hairiest part of my ass" gives Clev a chance to show his true colors and his rough and tumble attitude. Alongside an encounter with Terminus (another super-powered character), the situation provides chuckles and illuminates Jolley's ability to balance character development, personality and dramatic circumstance. Jolley throws in the subplot of a scheming scientist looking to arm the general public with super powers of their own through his remarkable "power chip."
While fans wait for his work to grace "Fantastic Four" from Marvel, Leonard Kirk shows that he is every bit as solid in his characters and storytelling as ever. His characters have a range of physical appearances and a true variance in emotions and reactions. Kirk has always been smart about his application of detail, which carries through to the knobs on the kitchen cabinet over the shoulder of one character in a panel buried in the middle of "Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine" #2. Moose Baumann's colors are spot on, as on that same page, projected light from the television washes over a couple with expected, accurately rendered, wavy unevenness. Kirk's command of the characters and their situations hits a bit of a snag in the middle of the book as Terminus appears, but that wobble is passing and emphasizes the shock of the characters in the panels nicely.
Fans of Jonah Hex, Quantum and Woody and other confidently irreverent characters will find plenty to love here in Travis Clevenger, who despite his gruffness, manages to project likability. Clev is armed with an attitude certain to appeal to fans of the rougher-hewn comic book fan-favorites. Between this, the offerings from Valiant that I've sampled and a handful of Image books, I'm considering a split from the big two to be a little bit more attractive every Wednesday. With everyone jumping on comic IPs to launch television and movie franchises, "Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine" #2 is a godsend. The concept is so wonderfully fleshed out that Jolley and Kirk can almost assuredly count the minutes until this character is optioned for other media. Jolley and Kirk have provided a great story to encourage new readers to latch on.