The Blood Queen #5: Writer's Commentary by Troy Brownfield
Greetings, Bleeders! Thanks for taking the time to check out the piece. As usual, I want to point out the other creators on this book: artist Fritz Casas, colorist Kirsty Swan, letterer Marshall Dillon, editor Molly Mahan, cover artists Jay Anacleto and Yonami, and the Lords of the Upper Kindgom, Joseph Rybandt and Nick Barrucci. Let's get to it.
Page 1—We jump right in with Elizabeth investigating another burning, blighted field as she did in the second issue. However, this time she brought Helena (the niece of the king and queen) and Sara (Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting, herself a royal Daughter of the Line from the kingdom of Azimuth).
Page 2-3—I like working with characters in threes. Maybe it goes back to original Trek or Ghostbusters. Maybe it's the idea of id-ego-superego. But you can often discover rewarding exchanges as a writer by setting up the corners. Elizabeth is as you've seen her. Sara is young and inexperienced. Helena knows more about the kingdom, and maybe Elizabeth, than she lets on. The Farmer Mejer character is pretty clearly intended to be comedic in a way, but consider the rough time period we're working in. People actually believed that kind of thing when it came to natural phenomena. Hell, some do now. Farmer Janos is set up as the opposite of the drunken Mejer. Janos is a smart guy.
Page 4—While we get some info across about the Arpadian order, the most important panel is when Janos and Elizabeth hit the nail on the head about why the monks wouldn't have asked her for help.
Pages 5-6 –Jon Hunter and Sir Ferenc: Castle Scene Investigation! Rather than go the obvious route of having these two men be bitter, surface rivals for Elizabeth, I wanted to demonstrate how they actually become more effective working together. Obviously, their relationships would have to be addressed at some point, but here, they've got a job to do, and Hunter has narrowed his suspects to two.
Pages7-11—Uh oh. Here's where Leona/Elder Winnifred's stories begin to unravel. Elizabeth realizes the path that she's on pretty quickly when it hits her that the Abbot blessed baby Laura (the infant that she came to heal in issue #1). How is Elizabeth going to react to that?
Page 12 – Fritz really nailed the visual I wanted here, which was Helena simultaneously blowing out the flame and saying "Shhhhh" regarding her working on her elemental magic. As stated previously (and explained more fully in the Annual), the Daughters of the Line were restricted to healing and herb lore. Helena is clearly ignoring that. What else might she know how to do?
Pages 13-16—That's right. Elizabeth straight up kills the Abbot and uses his blood to try to end the blight. You can see this in a couple of ways, I think. The Abbot is clearly dying, so you could argue that Elizabeth puts him out of his misery while helping the land. Then again, it's still murder and that's one loose end gone. I didn't want Elizabeth actions to only be read one way here in the early going. There's still questions even in this about her intentions.
Page 17-Helena sees a blemish on Elizabeth's skirt. Did she miss a spot? Much like Elizabeth, I deliberately want it to be hard to discern Helena's motives at this point. I'd allow this: there's one person that she would protect above any other. Guess away!
Pages 18-19—It looks like a Council of Kings is coming. The lands are sliding closer to war here, and Jon Hunter lets Ferenc in on the fact that he has his own group of men gathering intelligence. A couple of people wondered if Hunter is setting up to make his own run at the crown, but I'll tell you straightaway that answer is no. Some of Hunter's motivations can be found in issue #1, with his equal support for science and magic. But we won't give that all away here, sorry.
Pages 20-22—Elizabeth lays it all out. She knows that Leona/Winnifred has lied repeatedly, and she feels like a pawn. We'll see how Elizabeth responds in #6, but we'll see more about the beginnings of that relationship in the Annual, on sale soon.
Thanks again for your time, readers! I hope you enjoy the commentary and the comics themselves. If you like The Blood Queen, keep spreading the word. Thanks!