Series: Bloodshot Reborn
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mico Suayan and David Baron
Summary from Comixology:
From New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT, Green Arrow) and red-hot rising star Mico Suayan (HARBINGER, Moon Knight), VALIANT NEXT delivers an all-new ongoing series for Valiant’s most unrelenting hero!
Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit – a private contractor trafficking in violence – very well.
Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving headlong into the violence that nearly destroyed him.
When Valiant first announced this book a while back, I wasn’t all that excited. It’s not that I didn’t love Valiant (if you’ve been reading this website you should know that I am a pretty big Valiant fan), it’s that I didn’t really know much about Bloodshot. I head read a lot of the other Valiant titles, but Bloodshot hadn’t been one of them (I had a LOT to catch up on). After reading Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt’s The Valiant, and catching up on the first Bloodshot run thanks to the marvelous Scribd app, I had a new appreciation for the nanite-powered, killing machine. The Valiant laid out an awesome groundwork for who the new Bloodshot could be — a hero — and I was really excited to pick this up when it hit the stands on April 15, 2015.
All of the action in this book occurred in either flashbacks or hallucinations, and that is absolutely alright with me. This issue focuses on a recently de-powered Bloodshot (aka Ray) who is dealing with the tragedy that occurred at the end of The Valiant, and coming to terms with the life he led for so long. Lemire does an awesome job showing us Ray’s struggle to cope with his past while working as a nobody in a small Colorado town. The story is mostly told through inner-dialogue with very few actual conversations, and it totally works. After all of the stylized violence that Bloodshot is known for in his earlier series it’s almost jolting seeing him as a normal guy working as a handyman, but I loved it.
Suayan’s realistic art style plays well with Lemire’s thoughtful story. A lot of the panels showing Bloodshot/Ray dealing with his inner demons, along with the small town setting, reminded me of True Detective. He really captures Ray’s despair and struggle to figure out who he is in light of the previous events. The last panel, when it looks like he’s about to get back in the game, is also really cool and very reminiscent of the Punisher.
Also, if you haven’t read a single book in the Valiant Universe, you should have no problem following along thanks to the succinct recap found in the opening pages.
There aren’t really any lows in particular. I will say that some might find the tragedy that occurs near the end of the book a little too similar to another tragedy in Colorado, but it didn’t seem distasteful to me. It also might seem a bit slow to some people, but I think that’s where this book gets it’s charm.
Bloodshot Reborn was a strong start to what is shaping up to be a great addition to the Valiant line. Lemire was able to take a killing machine, make him vulnerable and depressed, and still tell a poignant story about coming to terms with oneself in the face of tragic events. This book earns a strong 5 out of 5, and it makes me excited to see where the Valiant Universe is headed. Head on out to your local comic shop and pick you up a copy!