Two sisters wanted for criminal acts of the Robin Hood kind are captured. Having a well-earned bounty on their heads they go from prisoners to escapees in no time. Flash forward several years later and they’re now taking any job they can get and are barely getting by. What’s worse one of the sisters seems to be under some sort of brainwashing. It all makes for a promising narrative. If only it wasn’t well worn tread territory.
Issue one of “Bounty” from Dark Horse is suffering from ’90s team syndrome. During the 90’s and into the early 2000s several comic brands from Image’s Stormwatch, Gen13 to Marvel’s Generation X, X-Men, X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, The Avengers, The West Coast Avengers and the New Warriors (who set off the first Civil War maxiseries possibly to keep interest in the characters – it didn’t) all formed for one reason or another with varying amounts of success. Some characters were interesting enough to have their own series, while others ended up as footnotes in history. Still there are others that even hardcore fans would find it hard pressed to remember that their beloved character Wolverine once was a part of Alpha Flight. That being said, the characters in “Bounty” are just not memorable. How are readers supposed to care about what happens to these characters or their backstories if they can’t remember anyone’s names?
Whenever you see the first issue of a comic book you should get a tingle – that feeling when something rings true. That happened for the first issue of “Witchblade.” While detective Sara Pezzini is investigating the microwave murders, an artifact that is sentient in nature attaches itself to her. Thus begins Sara’s ascent to the wielder of the witchblade – a storyline that spawned an interwoven folklore, a manga title and a semi-successful series starring Yancy Butler. It also had off-shoots including the “Darkness.” What made “Witchblade” successful was that it didn’t lend itself heavily to comic book tropes. Instead you were introduced to characters, living their everyday lives when something freaky begins to happen. The setting was also important. Lending itself to the present, the story could go back in time or see a possible future.
For “Bounty” it’s already set two hundred years from now, with characters we are supposed to feel something for immediately. How is that supposed to happen? Alright the sisters love each other, would do anything because they’re family. But why should we care? Where’s the backstory, where’s the family history? Why would they forgive each other nearly everything, where does that bond stem from? In a glutted market full of independent and mainstream publications, there needs to be an immediate grasp factor. Who exactly is the audience for a group of bandits taking bounties to keep their heads barely above water?
Essentially there’s no tingle. And for stories like “Bounty” sometimes they don’t need to be told – again.