REVIEW: When the Blood Has Dried #2 by Gary Moloney (W) and Daniel Romero (A)

In the previous issue of When the Blood Has Dried, we learned that Meabh, a former adventurer and member of the Adventurer’s Guild turned-tavern owner, is dealing with the Guild’s return to her life. There’s a proposition to build an outpost right in Carraig An Bhun, and in When the Blood Has Dried #2, we see the aftermath of that proposition, with the return of the very man who tried to kill her: the famous adventurer Darius.

When the Blood Has Dried When the Blood Has Dried #2 is more of a reactionary issue to the previous one, giving us more insight into who Meabh is and what her true feelings to the Guild are. When there’s a town hall held to see if they should actually build the outpost, she makes her feelings plain as to why holding the Guild here would be bad. It’s the appearance of Darius, her former ally, her attacker, and a famous member of the Guild, that shakes things up for Meabh. Darius is charismatic but ultimately dangerous. He’s as surprised as anyone to see Meabh still alive, and it seems as though he may still hold some of those violent tendencies towards her.

What I appreciated was learning more about the world in this issue. When the Blood Has Dried has a war going on, which is the impetus for building Adventurer’s Guilds across the land. Using war as an excuse to bring adventurer’s to town – a prospect that Meabh warns could leave the town in a bad way – seems to be Darius’s game, so it’ll be interesting to see why he holds the Guild in such a high regard, even so far as trying to kill Meabh in the flashback sections.

As in the previous issue, When the Blood Has Dried #2 boasts some impressive writing and art. Daniel Romero’s art and colors are expressive and animated, and I noticed that the colors seemed a bit muted as in the previous issue. If this is a response to Meabh’s outlook on things – life isn’t so bright when your past is literally coming back to haunt you – then it’s a nice touch. The standout character in this issue is Darius himself: he’s written as calculating, violent, but he can easily win the townsfolk over if he puts on the right smile. He’s a great potential villain, and I’m interested to see what his plans for Carraig An Bhun – and for Meabh herself – are. The issue ends with the proposition that Darius and Meabh might be working closer than either is comfortable with, so we’re sure to see drama – and possibly violence – in the next When the Blood Has Dried.

With excellent writing and art, this series is already off to the races to being a fascinating insight to the role adventurer’s take on in fantasy stories: they’re not always good, they usually leave things messier than they found it, and Meabh will be damned if she’s going to let that happen to her a second time.

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Alex Puncekar

Alex Puncekar

Alex Puncekar is a Cincinnati-based writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. His fiction has appeared in Aphelion Magazine, Jenny Magazine, and he has written interviews for Lightspeed Magazine and Nightmare Magazine. You can find him @AlexPuncekar, alexpuncekar.com, or at his newsletter, writer person.