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

Last Updated on May 7, 2024

When the Blood Has Dried #1 wants you to realize that being an adventurer sucks. With gorgeous colors and a solid first look into what could be a fun fantasy romp, When the Blood Has Dried #1 is an interesting take on what adventurers do once the adventuring is done, and that the past never stays buried.

When The Blood Has DriedMeabh is a retired adventurer, once a member of the so far undefined Adventurer’s Guild. Her tenure with the Guild ended in blood when her former ally Darius left her for dead. Years after her escape, she’s the barkeep in a cozy little tavern – Traolock’s – in the peaceful town of Carraig an Bhun. This issue evokes traditional fantasy tropes with a bit of Irish flavoring to it. Those who start their Dungeons & Dragons campaigns in taverns will find themselves quite at home at Traolock’s. With the threat of a possible Adventurer’s Guild outpost being built right in Meabh’s own front yard, we see that Meabh’s past is going to come back in possibly violent ways. When the Blood Has Dried #1 boasts a little bit of Western vibes in there too. One could easily predict this turns into a bloody revenge tale when someone from Meabh’s past arrives in Carraig an Bhun.

Daniel Romero’s art is expressive and animated, especially in the character’s facial expressions. The colors in the opening sequence are especially brilliant, with moody blues and reds giving When the Blood is Dried #1 a very dark introduction. The town itself is bright and colorful; Meabh’s new world, the one she’s escaped to, is a much more peaceful one than she seems used to. Becca Carey’s lettering helps add to the atmosphere and really helps the story pop.

Gary Moloney’s script introduces us to characters you could fall for, given enough time. Meabh is someone trying to start over, who’s generally trying to put the past behind her and make something good in the world. When the Blood is Dried #1 introduces us not only to Meabh, but the various townsfolk who add some color to her day-to-day. Fergus Dregspire, your average ale-swigging dwarf, is Meabh’s constant companion, but I hope we get to see him do something other than drink and call everyone “lad” or “lass”. By contrast, the young bard Nicolai Spring, a newcomer to town, could be an interesting look at an upstart – and very naive – adventurer who has no idea what he’s probably getting into.

 When the Blood Has Dried #1 is a great first issue, promising some good stuff in the future. I look forward to seeing why the Adventurer’s Guild is a sore subject for Meabh, why she left them in the first place, and what skeletons lie buried under her tavern’s floorboards.

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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.