For those following the Bloodborne comics or interested in checking them out, a new arc has started with issue nine, Bloodborne: A Song of Crows. Published by Titan Comics and listed as part one of four, Bloodborne: A Song of Crows drops readers into what feels like a prelude to action in the city of Yharnam, the central location of Bloodborne. (Titan Comics also adapts other video games, like Life is Strange and Assassin's Creed.)
The issue's beginning recap sectioned off from the rest of the story is useful and does not reveal everything. Not much is actually revealed in the issue itself, but a mood is set for the arc, and it feels like fragments of the game I caught.
Originally an NPC in the game, Eileen the Crow takes the spotlight in this new comic arc—or the fringes of it. Though the issue essentially follows her, the character remains a distant and mysterious figure. The vague writing helps to isolate her for now, and her fascinating design keeps her at arm’s length: heavily cloaked and with a beak mask, no doubt an allusion to her name and title. Going by the issue alone, she remains an interesting puzzle, but knowledge of game lore will likely shed some light on her.
Ales Kot's writing is like winding poetry, confusing and ambiguous. It feels like it's withholding critical information. A mantra strung throughout the issue fixates on "when" and playing with the notion of time, something that Piotr Kowalski’s drawings and Brad Simpson’s colors reinforce with visuals that seem to form a weaving timeline.
The artwork comes together for what feels like an ink-and-watercolor texture with a gothic aesthetic. It's a combination that fits the source material. This thematic imagery is punctuated by snippets of firelit warmth and chilly monotone as word and image mysteriously combine, playing around with the potential of panel arrangement in comics. Issue 9 has a scene that seems to depict a flashback from Eileen, but no easy answers are given—just cuts from what we can assume to be present day Yharnam with full gloomy color, to a black-and-white childhood on the ice, to warm sepia scenes of some wild ritual.
Part one of A Song of Crows appears to capture the underlying existential angst of Bloodborne with its surreal touch and gothic look, all while focusing on a character from the original game. Though based on a game and not the first part in the comic adaptation, this new arc works as an entry point for newcomers. While knowledge of Bloodborne can only add more, it's not necessary for getting caught up in this issue's mystery. The arc will continue along with the unfolding story of Eileen in issue 10, out next month.
Kot, Kowalski, and Simpson worked on previous parts of this comic adaptation, which can be found in paperback collections—Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep and Bloodborne: The Healing Thirst. Based on an Amazon listing, it looks like a Song of Crows will be getting its own paperback collection on Aug. 20, after all four issues of the arc have been released.
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A PDF copy of this issue was provided by Titan Comics for review purposes.
Are you going to check out the Bloodborne comics? Do you have theories about Eileen the Crow? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.