In an emotionally charged final issue of Bliss, Benton gets closure but at what price. Is he a kind soul or a monster who doesn’t know the amount of pain he’s inflicted? Regardless of what side you choose you don’t want to miss this final curtain call of a great series
Those familiar with Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky’s work knew what to expect with Bliss but I’m not sure they “knew” what they were in for. I didn’t. I enjoyed Coyotes, and when I heard about Bliss I knew that it would be a must-read and added it to my pull list at my comic shop. The emotional rollercoaster ride that would ensue. The series not only took me by surprise but would see me act like a maniac street preacher spreading the good word about Bliss. The writing, the art, the layouts, all top-notch and filled with pure emotion that you don’t see all the time. Not all creators possess that gift to translate their soul onto a panel. Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky possess that talent. They create characters that you care about and stories you want to read.
These past 8 issues of Bliss have been just that…bliss. We’ve followed Benton while cheering for him, yelling at him, hating him, and loving him. We all know a Benton. Someone that list looking for justification for their life’s choices in hopes of feeling better about the people they have hurt without giving up what they love. Bliss. Bliss can be whatever you want it to be and unfortunately, bliss doesn’t care whether you live or die, it only cares about who’s next in line. Along this emotional road trip of life captured in comics is a hero that we all know far too well… Perry, Benton’s son has been steadfast in his mission of not only trying to protect his father but help get him on a better course in life but clear his name among those he has hurt. Perry is a hero without a cape.
Issue 8 sees the fruits of Perry’s labor come to completion when Benton is faced not only with those he has hurt but also with the fact that he has done some really great things for people. On the surface, Benton is a monster who has ravaged everything in his path; however, upon a further examination into his soul we find there’s good there… Unfortunately, sometimes there’s just not enough time to dig. About halfway through the issue, Benton finds out not only who he is but more importantly what he is. He’s an addict and addicts hurt people. Not intentionally as they are no longer themselves… However scars, whether physical or emotional, are permanent.
In the end, we see Benton find peace with what he has to do and why he has to do it. The moment that Benton and Perry share on the cliff should go down in the great scenes in the world of comics. It’s beautiful, it’s painful, it’s amazing.
We all have comic book memories that bring us joy and sadness, smiles and tears. I remember my first comic book. I remember falling in love with Spider-Man, I remember the first time I saw a cover drawn by Alex Ross, and I will always remember Bliss #8. I don’t talk about my dad too often, those who know…know. I cried when Benton and Perry found peace and closure as I was not able to do so. When I look in the mirror I see him and in 2004 I became him. It took transforming into a monster for me to see what life is and what I wanted it to be and what I wanted it to be was not the life he lived and forced us to be a part of. My daughter was born in 2017 and I remember holding her and looking at my wife who is just drained from labor and realizing I found bliss.
I hate the fact I’m in the final thoughts portion of the review because I have so much to talk about when it comes to Bliss. I want to talk about Sean Lewis’ writing, I want to talk about Caitlin Yarsky’s art and how she brings pain and love to the panels in a way that you ultimately know her work. I can’t forget about Ari Pluchinksy coming on later in the series, however, her dynamic talent added another level to the pain and love that is Bliss, a quick example would be the cover for #8 which is beautifully haunting. I’ve said it before that this creative team is one of the best in comics and we can only hope their paths cross again. From issue 1 this has been a personal journey for me. The metaphors, the characters, the pain, and the love at times I saw me and I saw him. He passed years ago and in some small way, I hope he’s found closure.
BLISS #8: It's Beautiful, It's Painful, It's Amazing
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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