Benton is judged in brief, ending moment of Bliss: ADVANCE REVIEW of final issue!

Written by: Sean Lewis, Art by: Caitlin Yarsky.

No more gods, no more trial, no more adventures. The past has finally caught up to Benton. All that stands in the way is Perry.

So we are at the final issue. There were visible problems looming when a six-part series is suddenly extended to an eight-part series. Now we see the culmination of those problems. Unfortunately from a writing perspective, the heart and soul throughout the series is lost in this last issue. This could be down to the lack of stakes, with no antagonist to defeat or defend against. It could also be due to the lack of progress in the story as it’s only told in the space of 16 pages. Which even then seems stretched out.

As I said before in my previous reviews, there is always a risk with extending a series that had an official end. The writers have to stretch out parts that don’t need to, or even end on a very short page count. Here it’s both, if this series was even 1 issue shorter I feel the ending would have been more powerful. After the final conflict with Lethe, the emotionally drained reader is then hit by the social trial of Benton. Making the finale even more emotionally hard-hitting, however, after a month long break and no more adventure, it doesn’t have the same effect. This is such a shame when the writing has been consistently good and powerful throughout the series so far.

One saving grace about it from the writing perspective was the way it approaches the end. We have an exact copy of the very first panel in the series, which gives a nice round off to the character and story in such a poetic way.

There is a very good short story of only 5 pages after the main story. This is used to describe Sean’s relationship with his son and father. Although very interesting and gives a great insight into his life, I do feel the pages could have been saved for the trade paperback, and then we could have cut down some of the elongated parts to the story in previous issues. It describes how he wanted to do a story of forgiveness. It seems as though it was a way of dealing with his father's passing, which is a very personal story and would have had more impact if it was slightly more compact.

The artwork has been fantastic throughout the series, and the final issue is no different. We have some beautiful close-up panels of both Benton and Perry to express all the emotion felt.

The problem with this, is that unfortunately due to the lack of stakes and the month delay between books, it feels like it’s not as important as it once was. It’s possible it will read different in a trade, so you can read it all back to back, but this emotional payoff just falls flat. Which is so disappointing when up until now, both writing and art has been pulling at the heartstrings in clever ways, to make you feel for the situations they are in.

Unfortunately I feel a little disappointed by the ending, for the reasons I’ve stated. It would have been much better kept a 6-part series, as being more precise. Despite the slight bump at the final hurdle, I still very much have enjoyed this series. I’m hoping that my issues are resolved for those wanting to read in a trade, as I do feel that this was one of the books I have been the most emotionally invested in. Perry really resonated with me. Not having a great relationship with his dad, yet still defending him because he is family. Such strong values in this book are at its core: family, forgiveness, dependency, and yet also hope. These are values that should be held dear to people, and it’s why this book was so beautifully written, and even poetic at times, heightened by the exquisite art by Caitlin Yarsky.

Bliss issue 8 will be released from Image Comics on 2nd June at your local comic shop and comixology

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