Blood Syndicate is a relaunch, but there’s no need to know that to enjoy what Geoffrey Thorne and ChrisCross serve up here. Unfortunately, though, hoping to entice readers who enjoyed the series the first time round means it’s stuck with the naff 1990s name.

When Hannibal and Rolando return to Dakota City after a spell in the army in the Middle East, they find a lot has changed. Many of the old gangs that carved up the city have been run out of town by superheroes Icon and Rocket, and many of the lower level gangsters now also have super powers. It means the old grudges have new means of escalation and turf wars have now become even more dangerous, especially on the Paris Island neighbourhood.

There may not be anything greatly original about Thorne’s plot, but he exploits the template well. Two guys from different areas discovered more to the world than the petty feuds of Dakota when serving together, yet it seems they’re destined to be on opposite sides of the fence once again. They’ve returned home just before a major incident forces some realignment. Thorne, or technically artist ChrisCross shows what that is and why it might bring together a bunch of people with powers from very different Dakota communities.

Thorne’s choice is to try to return all the major characters from the original series in six chapters, which means getting used to a lot of people very quickly, and when everything explodes around halfway he funnels in a lot more people. It means a lot of work for ChrisCross in ensuring one person can be distinguished from another, and while he adapts some designs from the original series, others are his creation. He also has to deal with the past, as in between the current day action there are frequent flashbacks to events that shaped the people involved, often adding emotional turmoil to the hell that’s been let loose on Paris Island.

It’s impressive that so much is packed into six chapters. It’s like the era of decompressed superhero storytelling never happened because the massive amounts of energy here spill right off the page. This is complete in itself, but with any luck there’ll be a sequel.