cover image Bleedout


Mike Kennedy and various. Archaia/Black Label (, $14.95 (104p) ISBN 978-1-936393-18-3

Based on an expansion of the MMO game Crimecraft, this graphic novel spinoff paints a world where thanks to peak oil and an unfortunately timed act of biowarfare, the world’s fuel supplies have collapsed suddenly and universally. Criminals, psychotics, and their ilk were best prepared to exploit the bloody chaos; Sunset City soon finds itself ruled by a brutal cabal of gangsters, crooked politicians, and corrupt businessmen. Even this doleful stability is as doomed as global civilization is; each cabal member has his or her own agenda, and the moment when secret conflicts come into the open is looming. Lurid and violent, Bleedout tries to cloak itself in grim inevitability from the moment the author begins his angry, despairing foreword. The specific scenario relies on an implausibly synchronized decline in oil fields around the world and the apparent total absence of mundane alternatives like coal; the story soon abandons its patina of plausibility in favor of conspiracies and forbidden experiments in super-science. While some characters are marred by racial or sexual stereotypes, the diverse cast of artists is otherwise competent. (Aug.)