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4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot

Series: 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Doug Braithwaite, with Brian Reber on Colors
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

“Once upon a time…in the year 4001 A.D…

Centuries ago, Bloodshot was the man called Ray Garrison. Now, in the year 4001 A.D., Ray Garrison is no more…but the nanites that once thrived inside him endure still. With their master long since gone, the microscopic machines that once drove Bloodshot through every firefight, healed every wound, and calculated every outcome have one final directive left to execute…but what could it possibly be? And how will the forces of the future react when the infamous man-turned-machine called Bloodshot returns to fight another day?

The future starts now as New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (BLOODSHOT REBORN) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS) bring Bloodshot barreling into the 41st century of the Valiant Universe with an all-new, standalone tale at the epicenter of 4001 A.D.!”

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Overview:  The 4001 A.D. event has been incredible thus far.  If there is one thing Valiant knows, it’s how to pull off a great summer event, that is neither contrived or money grabbing.  Lemire’s 400l A.D. BLOODSHOT continues this tradition.

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the new look for Bloodshot I was a little hesitant.  The amorphous, nanite body with the Bloodshot head seemed a little far-fetched, even in a world with timewalkers, hive-mind aliens, and beings with the power to manipulate time, space, and matter.  After reading it though, I have to admit that it’s pretty damn cool.  Lemire’s story is great, frequently pulling scenes directly out his work on BLOODSHOT REBORN and last years BOOK OF DEATH: FALL OF BLOODSHOT book, and even providing a sense of closure after what happened at the end of FALL OF BLOODSHOT.  As far as the art is concerned, Doug Brathwaite and Brian Reber pull off some KILLER panels throughout the course of this book.  There were several pages where I just stared at the page taking in every little detail – and there is a LOT of detail.

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Bloodshot is just such a cool character, possibly even one of the greatest in Valiant’s pantheon of heroes, and Lemire has him dialed in.  His stories are frequently introspective, which is hard to pull off with a character who’s primary purpose is murdering people to death in a variety of ways.  His run on BLOODSHOT REBORN shows us a more subdued Ray Garrison, who is still trying to find his place, and 4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT gives this fantastic hero both closure, and a possible new beginning.

If you are a fan of Bloodshot, sci-fi, or stories about artificial intelligence, then this is the book for you.  Not that it is a contest, but I liked this one-shot even better than X-O Manowar’s, and that book was also fantastic in its own right.  Make sure you head over to a comic shop (or Comixology if you prefer digital comics) and pick up 4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT (out June 8), as well as the rest of the 4001 A.D. event books.

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Valiant Announces Bloodshot and Harbinger Films

Last month Valiant announced that they had inked a 9-figure movie deal with with the Beijing based DMG Entertainment, which led to our Fancasting Valiant article.  Now Valiant has announced that they are moving forward with a five movie deal with Sony Pictures to bring two of their properties, Bloodshot and Harbinger, to the big-screen.

Valiant is looking to release Bloodshot in 2017.  As of right now it’s set to be directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, who worked on the action-packed John Wick.  Kick-Ass 2 screenwriter Jeff Wadlow will be teaming up with Eric Heisserer (who will be writing the Harbinger script as well) for the script.  Overall that sounds like a veritable dream team.  Wadlow has shown that he can adapt comics to film, while Leitch and Stahelski have proven they have a solid grasp on wanton violence.  Both will come in handy in bringing the nanite-powered, killing machine known as Bloodshot to life.

Not a lot is known about the Harbinger film as of right now, but the plan is to have each property get two solo films which will eventually lead to the crossover event Harbinger Wars.  Both of these titles are pretty dark and gritty, so be prepared for a few jaw-dropping moments scattered throughout the films.

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Having read through both series and the crossover, Bloodshot and Harbinger seem like a good pair to lay the groundwork for the rest of the Valiant Universe.  Bloodshot could be described as a cross between Wolverine (healing factor via nanites in the blood) and the Punisher (penchant for gratuitous violence).  It will be really interesting to see how they show his transition from government controlled (via brainwashing) killer to a more just, redemptive character trying to find out who he really is.

Harbinger focuses on a group of psiots led by Peter Stanchek (psiots have different psychic powers ranging from shielding and mind-reading, to more destructive powers like pyro-kinesis and tele-kinesis) as they try to first escape from then confront one of the ultimate villains of the Valiant Universe, Toyo Harada, one of the most powerful psiots ever.

As a fan, I couldn’t be more excited.  There are so many good properties to choose from that I had no idea who would be the first to the big-screen.  Bloodshot, Harbinger, and the Harbinger Wars crossover were a lot of fun to read, so it will be really great to see how that translates into film.

Fancasting Valiant Comics Movies

By now most all of you have heard the news that Valiant Comics was able to secure funding with their film division, for the purpose of developing their properties to hit the big screen. And I suppose the small screen too? Comic book shows are all the rage on TV right now, for sure. Well, being that my fellow 4LN writer Cameron and I have become big Valiant fans lately, we decided it would be fun to fancast our picks for who should play our favorite characters when the come to life. We reached out to our Valiant super-cool-uncle Steven Boyd (I was gonna say “Valiant godfather”, but that would age him more than would be fair) to see if he’d wanna jump in on the fun. He did! Check out our picks below, and let us know who you’d pick!

 

Bloodshot

Steve B: Thomas Jane as Bloodshot. He’s the friggin Punisher. He already knows how to act, can handle a gun and take a punch. Somebody give this guy some nanites already.

Cam: Anson Mount – If you are unfamiliar with Anson Mount, go watch AMC’s Hell on Wheels. This guy is gruff, capable of portraying a cold-hearted killer, and has the kind of square jaw, anti-hero attitude you would expect from a nanite-powered killing machine.

 

X-O Manowar

Steve B: Chris Hemsworth as X-O Manowar (Aric of Dacia). If Chris Evans can be the Human Torch AND Captain America, then Chris Hemsworth can be both Thor and Aric of Dacia. Solid actor, good physique and is versatile enough to play a Visigoth out of time.

Cam: Alexander Skarsgård – X-O Manowar is as Dacian from the 6th century who was captured by aliens, steals their most powerful weapon (a suit of high tech armor capable of destroying pretty much whatever he wants to destroy), and returns to modern day Earth after escaping. The character is a tall, blonde haired warrior of the North. I think Skarsgaard fits that bill perfectly.

 

Eternal Warrior/ Gilad Anni-Padda

Stephen: I’m going with Charlie Hunnam here. I feel like there’s a wealth of depth to that guy’s acting talents and I don’t think we’ve seen the extent to his abilities. Grow out his hair a little bit and dye it brown… I absolutely think he could be the Eternal Warrior.

Steve B: Michael Shannon as Eternal Warrior.

 

Toyo Harada

Steve B: Ken Watanabe – I thought this guy had the coolest voice in BATMAN BEGINS. I had never seen THE LAST SAMURAI, but when I think of Harada, I think of Ken Watanabe. Very commanding presence and a great actor in general.

Cam: I also pick Ken Watanabe – I literally cannot think of anyone else who could play the ultimate baddy of the Valiant universe. Toyo Harada is one of the most powerful psiots in the world, and hopes to use his power to force the world into peace, even if that means wiping out swaths of people along the on the way. Ken Watanabe is the chosen one for this role.

 

Rai

Steve B: Byung Hun Lee (Storm Shadow from G.I.JOE films) as RAI.

Stephen: I’m actually just gonna echo Steve on this one. I think Lee would make an excellent Rai. He’s definitely got the martial arts talent, and he can certainly pull of the cold, emotionless warrior persona. Plus, ever since I saw him in “I Saw The Devil”, I’ve felt like he deserves a chance to be the lead in an American film. The dude can certainly carry a film.

 

Ninjak

Cam: Tom Hardy – Ninjak, aka Colin King, is a British millionaire/billionaire(?) that also happens to be a badass ninja assassin/intelligence agent. A majority of the time his face is obscured by a mask that covers the lower half of his face. Who is a British actor that is good enough at selling emotion with facial expressions that he can wear a mask a majority of the time and still be awesome? Tom Hardy. Although Hardy would have to reduce his bulkiness back to Inception levels, but he has proven he can pretty much add mass and lose it at will.

Stephen: So, my choice for Ninjak is someone most of you have probably seen, but never knew… Scott Adkins. He’s been in films like Bourne Ultimautim, The Expendables 2, and Zero Dark Thirty. He has martial arts training in his background and was even in a movie called Ninja II. So… yeah. The dude could be Ninjak easy.

 

Ivar Anni-Padda, Timewalker

Steve B: Tom Wisdom as Ivar the Timewalker. My first relative unknown casting for the VALIANT Universe would be Wisdom, who played an ill-fated soldier in 300. He has a super-hero like quality about him and could probably do a great job playing a man out of time. Surround him with a great cast and you’ve got a hit.

Cam: Ewan McGregor – Ivar, the Timewalker, is an immortal time-traveler who is highly intelligent and also a bit of a sarcastic ass. Ewan McGregor could be believable as both an intelligent gentleman and a bit of a jerk in a Sherlockian sort of way. Also, if McGregor grew his hair out he would be a spitting image (I don’t actually know the origin of this phrase) of how Ivar is depicted in his new series.

 

Shadowman/Jack Boniface

Stephen: I’m going with Wentworth Miller (Prison Break, The Flash) for Shadowman. I feel like he’s got the chops to be the lead and he’s done action before, but I feel like one of the things that makes him stand out the most to me, is that he’s also a writer, with some darker-style work in his repertoire (Stoker, the upcoming psychological-horror-thriller The Disappiontments Room). Not only could he play Shadowman, he could write on the film as well…

Steve B: Taylor Kitsch as Jack Boniface. I thought he got Gambit’s Cajun accent down pretty good in X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE, plus he’s a very mysterious looking dude. And he’s been the lead in an action movie (JOHN CARTER). He’s your Shadowman.

 

Quantum and Woody

Steve B: Owen Wilson for Woody, and Michael Jai White for Quantum.  Michael has a super hero’s physique and I believe could play the straight guy in a comedy duo pretty good after seeing him in BLACK DYNAMITE. Owen Wilson is probably a little old for the role, but his Jethro Tull line from ARMAGEDDON wins him Woody’s role instantly.

 

Stephen: This was a tough one for me because Quantum & Woody is my favorite Valiant series. After much deliberation, I’ve settled on Beck Bennett (SNL) for Woody and Lance Gross for Quantum. Now I know he doesn’t *quite* have the look, and his sense of humor comes across more dry than sarcastic, but my reasoning for choosing Bennett is simple… Chris Pratt. If Andy Dwyer can become Star-Lord, then Bennett could become Woody.

Lace Gross is someone you probably don’t know, but he was a on a short-lived NBC drama-thriller called Crisis and he’s got the right look for Quantum. He’s not a comedian, and he can be serious, so balancing Bennett’s Woody with Gross’ Quantum would make for an excellent “world’s worst superhero team”.

 

Archer & Armstrong

Cam: Archer, Logan Lerman – This one took a little longer than the others. Archer is a younger character that is indoctrinated since his birth by an evil organization, but eventually realizes that he has been manipulated and teams up with the immortal hobo, Armstrong, whom he was sent to assassinate. He has the ability to mimic any ability he sees, be it physical or mental, and is in terrific shape. After seeing Lerman in both the Percy Jackson movies (the books were better, but he was good) and Fury, I think he has terrific range to play both the indoctrinated, hyper-religious assassin and the confused, burgeoning superhero.

For Armstrong, John Goodman – Armstrong is an affable, immortal hobo with a penchant for good drink and good poetry. During his long, long life he has rolled with the likes of Michelangelo and Da Vinci, but more recently has teamed up with Archer to form a buddy-cop comedy of a super-duo. I’ll admit, Goodman might be a tad old to play Armstrong, but he has the look, the humor, and the girth. He would be absolutely perfect.

 

Stephen: I like Dave Franco for Archer. Based on his performance in Unfinished Business, I definitely think he could capture the sheltered, naive aspect of Archer’s personality, and I think if given the chance he could hold his own in some action sequences.

I’m gonna just tag on to Cam’s choice for Armstrong here, and say John Goodman would be great, but to offer my own reasoning, I choose him because of his performance in Kevin Smith’s Red State. I remember seeing that for the first time and thinking, “When did John Goodman (kind of) get in shape and become a badass?”

 

Got some of your own suggestions for who should star in the Valiant Comics movies? Let us know in the comments!

4LN Comic Review: The Valiant #1

Series: The Valiant
Writer: Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt
Art: Paolo Rivera
Publisher: Valiant

Summary from Valiant Entertainment: “The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.”

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Overview-
I’m not sure exactly what happened here.  I am a relative newcomer to comics, and up to now I have mostly stuck with the Big Two publishers.  Beyond that I never strayed to far from the big names at DC and Marvel – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Thor, etc.  But over the last few months I have become more and more obsessed with Valiant.  I picked up Eternal Warrior (written by Greg Pak) on a whim, and absolutely loved it.  He is such an awesome character so I began to check out other Valiant titles.  After some dabbling in X-O Manowar I found Unity (which Stephen was nice enough to give me as an early Christmas present), and eventually The Valiant #1.

Highs-
Jeff Lemire is one of Bill’s favorite writers, and for good reason.  He (along with Matt Kindt, who has been killing it on Unity) does a great job making this book epic from the start.  The book opens with Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior, fighting the Immortal Enemy set on killing those Gilad has sworn to protect again and again, over thousands of years.  The thousand year time-span lends itself easily to the sense of impending doom I got when the new Geomancer (the people that the Immortal Enemy keeps killing despite Gilad’s best efforts) shows up.  I am not immediately familiar with Paolo Rivera’s art, but from this one book sampling, it’s great.  Also, at the end of the book Rivera provides a very interesting commentary on a few pages featuring Bloodshot (think high tech Punisher that can get shot in the eye and just… be fine).  It was cool seeing the evolution of the page from initial layout to completed product.  The creative team does a good job of providing enough of a background on each of the main characters to understand what’s happening if this is your first Valiant book, but doesn’t burden the new reader with too much information.

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Beowolf anyone?

Lows-
The only thing I find disconcerting about this book is that it’s only going to be four issues long.  The Valiant was a terrific read, so the more the better as far as I am concerned.  Perhaps the Valiant Comics Team took Harvey Dent’s interesting (if slightly nonsensical) quote about living long enough to see yourself become the villain to heart.  Or maybe they took the advice of a cliche drug dealer and the first taste is free, but after that you are hooked. Either way, c’est la vie.

The Final Say-
Valiant has done a great job convincing me to become a fanboy, and The Valiant just cements that feeling.  The characters are interesting, the story is fun, and the art is great.  What more can you ask for (besides more than four issues)?  I give this book a 5 out of 5.  It’s an excellent jumping on point for those of you new to Valiant, and if you already enjoy Gilad (The Eternal Warrior), Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, etc, then all the better.  Let us know what you think in the comments!