Book Review: Undone by Blood, Vol 1
SUMMARY: 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.
This is a dual story of revenge, alternating between 1970’s Arizona and a fictional version of the Old West. No-nonsense teenage Ethel is returning to her hometown to find out who killed her family years ago, and famed gunslinger Sol is on a mission to recover his stolen son.
Ethel, with her shaved head and punk rock attitude, is unstoppable in her quest to find the man who killed her family. We follow along with her story in real time, but there are also flashbacks interspersed throughout of that fateful night, which become more frequent the closer she gets to uncovering the truth. She’s tough as nails, but there are also moments in the story that remind you she’s still just a kid in many ways. And Sol might be more of gunslinger archetype, but it’s done so well I don’t mind the cliches. We get most of his story in comic form, but then each issue also ends with a chapter written in prose from Ethel’s book. It’s probably the most reading I’ve ever done in a graphic novel, but I quite enjoyed it and it adds a little more nuance to Sol’s character.
The art is also fantastic, and I want to give a special shout out to Jason Wordie who did the colors. His use of different color palettes for the three time periods (1970s, flashbacks, and Wild West) blends together really well while also helping each story line stand out. I especially like the way he did Ethel’s flashbacks as mostly black and white loose lines punctuated by carefully placed colors. It really helps add to the violence and tension of those particular scenes.
Undone by Blood is a revenge story told on two levels, part western and part crime noir. It’s violent, well-paced, frightening at times, and completely engaging! Oh and apparently Norman Reedus liked it so much he’s turning it into a TV show!
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Undone by Blood is a western/crime noir comic written by Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson and illustrated by Sami Kivelä, with colors by Jason Wordie and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. It was published through Aftershock Comics, and if you want to learn more about it then go here: https://aftershockcomics.com/undone-by-blood/.