While the attention often moves away from her to others, Deborah Judges is the protagonist of Blood Lines. She began the story as an enforcer for gang leader Manneseh, revealed in Vol. 2 to have appeared from nowhere, and his followers can no longer recall their lives before his arrival. Prophecies are fundamental to the continued story, and Manneseh’s certainly a believer, manipulating his followers to arrange an end of days scenario. Deborah has also accepted she’s to have some final battle with Asmoseus, the being she long believed murdered her mother and brother, but she now knows the truth.

Rob Walton’s complex allegorical thriller concludes with this volume, and he continues the escalation that’s been a constant feature since the start. There’s no postponing the showdown ordained as Vol. 2 ended, and it’s a humdinger, a brutally choreographed ballet of death during which the balance constantly slides. Has Manasseh spilled enough blood to assure his ascendance, or will he be revealed as a false prophet?

Because so many Biblical names are used, there’s a feeling throughout Blood Lines that if you don’t know your scriptures as well as Walton does, you’re missing a lot of what the series offers. Symbolism is rife throughout, and that doesn’t evaporate here, and neither does characters seemingly arriving from nowhere with a portentous phrase on their lips. Some themes are easily recognised, such as not putting your faith in false gods, and Deborah Judges having a sword of truth, but much is likely to elude the average reader, and you may find that frustrating. However, would that the complaint about more graphic novels was about the intelligent writing.

Let’s accept most readers aren’t going to pick up on every reference and take Blood Lines at face value. As such it’s a triumph, as an apocalyptic action thriller, as a dramatic tragedy and as a glimpse into the heart of darkness. As a culmination to a distressing journey Vol. 3 hits the dramatic beats, leaving most characters where readers will want them. There’s judgement, redemption, renewal and vengeance, and against all the odds, optimism. The journey is complete.

Transparency requires noting that Walton has contributed reviews to this site.