Story: Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson
Art: Sami Kivela
Colors: Jason Wordie
What They Say:
In the early 1970s, Ethel Grady Lane returns to her hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona with one thing on her mind: killing the man who murdered her family. But first, she’ll have to find him.
As Ethel navigates the eccentric town and its inhabitants, she learns that the quaint veneer hides a brewing darkness. She has no choice but to descend into a ring of depravity and violence, with her only ally an Old West novel that follows famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. As both stories unfold simultaneously, a love of fiction informs choices in reality, for better or worse.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having read a few books by the creators before, I had some idea of what to expect going into Undone by Blood. The opening issue proved to be the minor struggle I knew it would be even though I appreciate the route that they’ve taken, mixing in some old west book material as a parallel to what’s going on in 1971 where the story takes place. Sami Kivela is a solid choice for bringing the tale to life as they capture the hardened life one leads in this particular area with Jason Wordie accentuating it through the colors to make it feel even more oppressive at times. The result is a book where the character of the town is important for truly reflecting the mood and atmosphere of those that reside within it.
The general premise is that we’re introduced to Ethel, a young woman in her teenage years that has traveled to Sweetheart, Arizona. She’s shaved her head, has a big travel backpack on her shoulder and has pretty much gotten down to basics in attire to survive. Jeans, t-shirt, boots. She can traverse as necessary though the shaved head will give some pause. Her intention, as she closes in on the area by bus and other methods, is to find out who killed her family. And that means understanding the town and its inhabitants, which can take a little bit of time and finesse. Especially if you need them to fill in the blanks and reveal who is behind it. Ethel’s in what appears to be the right place to handle this but you never know until you truly make contact.
We get to see some amusing bar encounters here as she’s going about things wrong and just her appearance is divisive to many in small towns. There’s nothing unfamiliar here, especially since she’s under twenty-one and without ID, in how people treat her or their lack of interest in anything she says. She’s able to start getting the clues at least so we have some forward momentum. What’s interesting but frustrating is that with it from her point of view we get several pages from the western she’s reading played out alongside her pages. The other tale is written in a different script and there are some mirroring effects sin what they’re each doing but the whole 70s novel thing just felt forced and made me feel disinterested right from the very start in reading about it.
Some of the structure of this series frustrated me from the start but it eases up a bit as it progresses and most of the story is focused on Ethel. Tales of revenge are a dime a dozen but if told well there can be a lot to like about it. I’ve enjoyed what the pair of have written before together so I’ll hold out hope that it comes together better as it goes on more. Most of the cast are non-entities here with Ethel just getting the minimum needed so that we can latch onto her tale and mission, moving forward. There’s some good potential here depending on how it moves forward and engages the reader.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: February 12th, 2020