The path to redemption includes rebirth in BLISS #5: ADVANCE REVIEW

Writing: Sean Lewis, Art: Caitlin Yarsky.

We last saw Perry being escorted down the stairs of the courthouse by the long necked god, to the cell where they are keeping Benton. However when they get there, there is just a portal and his dad is gone. Benton is then flying a skeletal bird down to Lethe on a vengeful mission to finally be rid of her.

Our long necked god takes Perry into a place where apparently Benton kept the bodies of his victims. While elsewhere Benton descends upon Lethe, in an attempt to destroy her to save Perry’s life. We also get to see how he escaped the addiction of Bliss. Perry must hurry as the god holds the key to defeat Lethe, but things aren’t as simple. Perry must now be more like his father to pull through the challenge ahead to ensure his father's soul is saved.

Despite having a 3 month break between the last issue and this, as we left on a rather exciting cliffhanger I didn’t want to wait to get stuck into this issue, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is a very interesting issue in that it gives us action but also 3 different scenes around 2 different time periods. This series has played around with time since the beginning, but this is the first issue where there was a real connection between them. Benton battles Lethe; this confuses her as Bliss is the memory wiping drug. So how did Benton overcome its claws? This is where the flashback takes place. Throughout the series we have seen Benton struggle with many things; this shows us his battle with forgiveness. We see the struggle and the toll it takes on him, and what he’s willing to sacrifice to atone for his crimes. The big theme coming out of the book is redemption, and the path to redemption includes rebirth. We get that in this issue both metaphorically and physically, as Benton is reborn from a grave. At which point all the memories come flooding back...all the crimes he’s committed, and all the hurt he’s done to others. As it’s stated in this issue: “forgiveness takes work,” and we get to see Benton push at that.

This was really such a special issue. The influence of a higher power seems to be everywhere within this issue. Not just from the themes of rebirth and redemption in the writing, but it’s also reflected within the art. When Benton reaches the treatment centre, the panels and layout change to represent a church or temple. This really pushes the idea of faith that he needs to both wean himself off the side effects of the drug, and then come to terms with what he’s done.

The artwork overall is stunning, I’ve loved it since the beginning of the series, and it continues to be so crisp and clean, it's almost faultless. I say almost, as the beginning and the end was draped in both light and dark greens, due to us being in a swamp-like area. I didn't feel these pages were as clean and clear as the rest of the book, however that could be down to Caitlin Yarsky’s choice for the environment. Other than that, overall this book continues to be stunning.

Again, this is another example of the beautiful artwork, but also shows how much religious symbolism plays a part in the book. With Lethe (as seen in picture above) having a very messiah-like pose just after she talks about herself being a god.

This is a very clever series in the way it weaves in themes of drug abuse, family, redemption, and religion. All within this fantasy series that’s been masterfully written by Sean Lewis. We are now just over half way through the 8 issue run and I’m excited to see where we go from here, and what else Lewis wants to say regarding those re-occurring themes within the book.

Bliss #5 will be released on 10th Feb from Image Comics, your local comic shop, as well as comixology

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