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Friday, July 16, 2021

Celia’s Comic Review: Bliss – Drink The Water, Lose Your Mind…

Bliss TP (Issues #1 – 8)
July 21, 2021
Author: Sean Lewis
Artist: Caitlan Yarsky
Colors: Ari Pluchinsky
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: T+
There's a drug called Bliss wiping away memories in Feral City. But a good-hearted young man with a deathly sick child makes a horrible deal. He will become the hitman for the gods providing the drug—and possibly lose everything in the process. A critically acclaimed examination of forgiveness and family that's rarely seen in comics.

I’m an avid reader of urban fantasy, and so when this collection came up for review, I jumped at the chance to check it out. Happy to report this is one fantastic gem of a story.

The world sucks you in from the opening scene. Haunting words about being “a tiny cosmic speck” in the “grand scheme of things” drip down the page atop a haunting visual display of a man falling, falling, falling… Thus, the tone is set for a dark saga where Big Life Questions will be addressed over the next several issues, and you, dear comic reader, will be challenged to think deeply about the answers.
A multi-generational story, the narrative toggles between the past, where the narrator’s father essentially makes the proverbial “deal with the devil,” or, in this case, with the powerful, amphibian minions of a hungry god. We witness him commit atrocious acts in order to keep his ill son alive, and then we swing back to the present, where the adult son defends his dad on trial for those many crimes. No spoilers here, but let’s just say the story starts with the crime angle and then takes a myriad of interesting, unexpected, and exciting turns, all within a visually stunning fantasy world. The art and colors, my friends, pack a wicked good punch and truly enhance the narrative. A visual feast you don’t want to miss.
Circling back to the Big Life Questions, the story will have you pondering the meaning of justice, what it is, how one achieves it, and whether the “an eye for an eye” approach really brings one peace. The theme of worthiness is addressed, too. How does one measure the worth of a person? Are actions all that matter? What if one has done horrible deeds but also good ones? And, of course, no tragic story would be complete without an intense look at vengeance, forgiveness, absolution, and change…

At the end of the collection, there’s a gripping, personal note from author Sean Lewis, along with heart-wrenching/heart-warming art, in which he shares his own story of transformation. It’s a must-read to complete your journey into the world of Bliss.

5 Sheep

Guest Reviewer: Author Celia Breslin
Celia writes urban fantasy and romance and likes to spend tons of time reading comics, binge-watching fantasy/sci-fi TV and movies, and playing video and board games with her family.

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