Of Bitter Souls #1 (2005)

It’s nice to see Norm Breyfogle back working in comics again. I think the most recent thing I read by him was the Hellcat mini from Marvel in 2000, a shame because I always loved the work he did on Batman in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He was always a solid storyteller, and his character work was very consistent and clear. He wasn’t a flashy guy like McFarlane and Liefeld were at the time (perhaps to his financial detriment), but Breyfogle was a very solid and professional cartoonist.

Which is why it’s nice to see him back, in this solid new series. Of Bitter Souls is a kind of supernatural super-hero series, with super-powered men and women tracking down supernatural threats. This sort of comic is right in Breyfogle’s wheelhouse, especially combined with the solid writing of Charles William Satterlee and colorist Mike Kowalczyk. We get a lot of action and excitement in this origin issue, but also some nice character moments and some moments of real creepiness.

In this issue readers meet a group of four leather-clad evil-fighters. Each has been dragged from their normal lives, by an unknown being, seeming to fight the specter of evil in New Orleans. We meet a corrupt cop, a drug addict, a grifter and a prostitute who are all summoned at one of the lowest moments of their lives to be part of this new team, Few if any answers are given in this issue as to why these people are used in this battle, but there’s enough to intrigue a reader.

The storytelling is well-done, Silent scenes are used effectively to counter wordier scenes, and a scene where time is reversed is done in a really intriguing way. It’s clear that Breyfogle and Satterlee have thought deeply about the world of Of Bitter Souls, and therefore the comic promises much more than what we just see in this debut issue.

This is a very solid and intriguing first issue. It’s great to see Breyfogle back, and he’s chosen an intriguing project in which to be involved.

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