Bliss #3 Review: Comics That Cannot Be Contained

Bliss #3
A visual poem & a challenging, engaging narrative by Sean Lewis & Caitlin Yarsky that shows how dynamic comics can be.

Bliss #3 continues Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarksy's tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil… or, rather, three devils… in order to save his sick son's life. Are we going to get a Breaking Bad-esque "I did it for me" moment here, or will Benton have a come-to-God moment as his son tells his story in court?

Bliss #3 cover. Credit: Image Comics
Bliss #3 cover. Credit: Image Comics

We're coming to the point in Bliss where what Benton has done to protect the life of his son stops being monstrous but understandable and starts being monstrous without caveat. It's equal parts sad and thrilling to watch the story of a father caught up in a web of murder and deceit in order to save his family become the very thing his family fears. As a morality play in the form of a comic, Bliss gets more and more interesting with every issue, especially as the framing story breaks from its structure and begins to be as dynamic as the flashbacks. For those comfortable with the set-up of the first two issues, this third bravely breaks from that in a truly shocking way. In Bliss, the set-up done with the first issue has yielded nothing but immense payoff since, and there's so much story and emotion-packed into both Lewis's script and Yarsky's mind-bending, expressive art. When when I sat down to write this review, I was taken aback to see that it was the third issue. I knew it going in, but after feeling so wrapped up in the story while reading, it feels as if I've spent at least a full six-issue arc with these characters.

Bliss is advertised as Breaking Bad meets Neil Gaiman's Sandman. An easy-to-grasp elevator pitch that rings true. However, the truth is that there's nothing on shelves like Bliss, which feels like a visual poem without the pretentiousness you'd expect from a comic described that way. If you're a fan of seeing what comics can do beyond traditional storytelling, this is a beautiful example of how this medium cannot be contained.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.