After being part of the Avengers for the last several years Blade is back on his own as a solo vampire hunter. For Blade’s latest solo series Marvel has assembled the creative team of Bryan Hill and Elena Casagrande. Bryan Hill has done solid work with the Marvel projects he has done thus far with 2018’s Killmonger and 2019’s Fallen Angels mini-series being standouts. Elena Casagrande is a great pairing as she has shown to be one of the best artist Marvel has with her work on Black Widow. How will they work together on Blade? Let’s find out with Blade #1.
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Joe Sabino
After being hired by Tanaka from the Werewolf Nation, Blade saves a woman said to be charmed named Dana Smith from a gang of vampires.
When they arrive at a safehouse Tanaka set up for them to meet Blade and Dana are attacked by an occultist. Blade stops the occultist from attacking Dana and kills them.
Once the occultist is killed Dana is taken over a dark force named Adana and immediately knocks out Blade after he killed who she says is the only one that could kill her.
Two weeks later, Blade is being tortured by an occultist group for killing their only member who could kill Adana. Rotha, the sister of the occultist Blade killed, kills the other occultist members. Rotha asks Blade to help her stop Adana. Blade responds by saying he is up for saving the world. End of issue.
Bryan Hill and Elena Casagrande waste no time in making Blade #1 emphasize the strengths of our lead character. Just like Blade himself, there is a no-nonsense approach taken with the story that starts with this first issue.
Right away what standout with Blade #1 is Bryan Hill’s understanding of the character. Blade isn’t someone who has long inner monologues or makes quips like Spider-Man and Daredevil. Blade is about getting whatever mission done in the most effective, badass way possible. That’s exactly what we get throughout Blade #1.
This attitude going for Blade #1 is established with the opening where beyond music playing we don’t get the first line of dialogue until the fifth page. Even then the dialogue during the entire sequence in the club is kept to a minimum. It’s simply focused on showcase how badass Blade is as he holds nothing back against a gang of vampires to save someone. This immediately shows the trust that Hill has in Elena Casagrande abilities to tell a story through her great artwork. Casagrande does not disappoint as Blade’s fighting ability is showcased as being smooth and effective.
Even when we do get a flashback that explains how Blade was hired by Tanaka from the Werewolf Nation we are just given the information we need to know. Hill makes sure that every interaction compliment Blade’s personality. This effectively emphasizes that this series is Blade’s and Hill isn’t going to try to force him to become someone he is not.
By establishing Blade in this way the bigger picture story with the mysterious dark force named Adana that takes over the woman Blade save is effectively put over. Adana comes across as a terrifying new threat that Blade can’t defeat the normal way he does. Providing a new threat that isn’t a vampire or werewolf is also refreshing as this gives Blade a challenge he isn’t used to taking on.
That is where the mysterious Rotha makes for a strong supporting cast member right away. Even though Blade is a solo act having a sidekick of sorts is a good way to develop Blade more as an individual. Rotha can also provide good context for who Adana is that can strengthen the new threat as Blade takes on other mystic beings.
Casagrande artwork was as strong as always. The action was smooth with Casagrande putting over Blade as the badass he is. The use of a red for the background of action sequences along with the slight blur effect was a good choice by Casagrande and colorist Jordie Bellaire. Hopefully we get longer action sequences in the future as Casagrande already showed a strong grasp of Blade’s fighting style in this first issue.
Blade #1 gets the job done for what you expect from the first issue of a new series. Blade is shown as a badass while the long-term mission statement for the series is established. This all comes together to create a strong debut issue by Bryan Hill and Elena Casagrande that leaves you looking forward to what they have planned for Blade moving forward.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10