Comics: Bloodborne the Death of Sleep #1 Reviewed

Despite the historical association of the gaming folks and the comic book fans bundled together under the ‘nerd’ umbrella, I have never previously been much of a comic book reader. I think it was the ‘reading’ aspect of it that did not appeal to me as a youth, and the lack of interaction (and more honestly, free time) that has kept me mostly to video games and non-fiction as an adult. But, given the opportunity to take some time with a new comic based on From Software’s Bloodborne I am pleased to say it was a simple and beautiful new entry into the world I fell in love with back in 2015.

The Death of Sleep captures the dark in gritty themes of Yarnham in an accurate fashion. As someone who spent a considerable amount of time with the game, a criticism I had with it was how dark and limited the palate was. It made sense and was coherent aesthetic, but left many wanting more. The comic succeeds where the game failed in its use of bright colors and contrast. The hand-drawn style of the medium does lend itself to more color, but nevertheless, the flames of the burning cathedral brought a powerful yet sinister boldness to The Death of Sleep.

It also succeeds in capturing the baseline elements that did so much to influence the game itself. Wolfmen, tentacles, and elements of gothic horror and Lovecraft keep their telltale grasp on the creatures of the hunt. I appreciated the attention to detail; the enemies are straight out of the game, and the gnarled metal of the transforming saw weapons look as dangerous as ever as they cleave through the horrors of the night.

There honestly isn’t much to the story of this first issue. Bloodborne Developer From Software has a history of inscrutable stories told primarily through item descriptions and the ramblings of NPCs, so the rather spartan representation of the story seems appropriate. Hopefully, as the series continues we can get some interesting departures from what little story exists in the game.

The biggest surprise about it was how it addresses its roots as a video game. A never-ending cycle of dying and returning to the hunt is an essential part of the story used as a  justification for dying and respawning, but I didn’t expect it to be used in the book. An interesting choice, I'm wondering how it will be handled in the series going forward.

When it comes to the comic, color me intrigued. I think I will try my best to keep up with this one a bit and it may have informed some of my thoughts on companion comics to new games. It’s hard to make much of a judgment over a handful of pages, but the bold art and trueness to what made the game special impressed me, even if there wasn't much to it.