Review by Frank Plowright
The strange disease affecting the blood of unfortunates in Yharnam takes a second graphic novel outing after The Death of Sleep, thankfully returning the creative team of Aleš Kot and Piotr Kowalski. As before, rather than imitate the Bloodborne game scenario, Kot uses it as a background, this time introducing Alfredius, an amateur medical investigator attempting to use scientific process to isolate what it is about some people’s blood that turns them into monsters. In Yharnam, though, a place ruled by the powerful religious societies, science independent of their priorities is a dangerous occupation, and the church appears to be having a crackdown as unnecessary questions are now being considered heretical. An alliance between Alfredius and Clement, a priest with concerns about what’s happening, might produce results.
Kowalski is a great help with that, reproducing the game’s gothic scenery in even greater splendour than the game itself, putting in an amazing amount to effort to ensure Yharnam takes on a personality as effective as any person. He delights in statues, spires, ornate brickwork and other decorative flourishes, and his interior decorations are just as pleasingly presented. He applies the same diligence to people, his Alfredius nicely designed with scraggy long hair and distinctive round spectacles.
The conflict of a curious scientist and a doubting priest provides some lively discussions and Kot hangs an impending tragedy over the entire story. Ultimately, though, the tragedy turns out to be something different, which is neatly dropped. Anyone wanting the action rush of the chase and kill the Bloodborne game provides may be disappointed with The Healing Thirst, but what would be the purpose of just duplicating what the game does very well? Kot instead explores the background, and in doing so bolsters it. That investigation of Yharnam continues in A Song of Crows.