Valiant Comics Review: Bloodshot Reborn #1 By Jeff Lemire & Mico Suayan

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Review: Bloodshot Reborn #1

“Colorado”
Published by Valiant Entertainment
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mico Suayan
Coloured by David Baron

The Plot

The story begins with describing who Bloodshot was (a unstoppable killing machine). Then there is a brief recap of the later events of The Valiant series where he met Kay (the Geomancer). Now six months later with the Nanites removed from his system he’s a regular guy named Ray Garrison working at a motel. His living conditions aren’t exactly ideal and he’s living with some serious consequences that he can’t deal with. Later on Bloodshot sees a crime on the news that upsets him. He tries drowning his troubles, but his guilt continues to take an even stranger turn. Meanwhile he learns more about the incident on the news, which indirectly involves him because the killer imitates Bloodshot. He realizes that he can’t outrun his past and resolves to make a difference as he resumes his old identity…sort of.

The Breakdown

So without the Nanites, Bloodshot has no healing abilities whatsoever. Even if this isn’t the status quo for a long period of time, it’s still making him a lot more interesting of a character. He feels guilt, emotional pain, and loss. At the same time, it’s making him seem and feel mortal. I have enjoyed some of the Bloodshot stuff here and there, but the blank slate aspect of his character just didn’t make him as engaging. I was more interested in the situation he would be involved in (i.e. Armor Hunters and Harbinger Wars) rather than the fact that he was in the story himself. When he was brought into “The Valiant” he actually added a lot to the overall story and seemed much more interesting in the process. Lemire has done a very good job at adding some serious depth to this character in such a short amount of time. Even the approach he takes at the end of the issue was well done because of the way he decided to take action. He came to a realization about his past identity that there were some acts of violence that he would not have committed. It was a realistic way to break him out of that cycle of remorse that he was feeling. Unfortunately for Bloodshot, even though he didn’t retain any of his abilities, he did with the memories of being Bloodshot. His reaction to that was pretty harsh, but it fit perfectly within the context of the story and didn’t feel forced or merely added to sensationalize the story. I do wonder what the repercussions will be when he confronts the other “Bloodshot” because it will definitely affect his hallucinations. Kay “freed” him from being Bloodshot, but his life is far from liberated. I’ve liked some of Suayan’s art in the past and sometimes not so much. I like what he brings to the table in this series so far. His style suits the nature of the story so far and adds to the depth to the issues that Bloodshot is facing. Bloodshot’s reaction to his life is fairly realistic and the art complements this aspect of the storytelling. Even though he’s not “Bloodshot” per se, he still looks a lot more menacing under Suayan than he’s looked under a couple of other artists. The colours are dark and are effective at setting the tone of the story. Baron also does a good job at not making the pages look flat, which is difficult considering how dark some of the pages are. All in all, I’m digging the new direction of Bloodshot and like what Lemire is setting up so far.

BUT…

One of his hallucinations I couldn’t tell if it was real or not. It didn’t seem real, but there was no break or anything indicating whether or not it was a hallucination. Rereading it, it didn’t really detract from the overall story and it just threw me off a bit at first. I’m not sure if Kay taking away the Nanites made her a good person or if it made her a dink. Speaking of Kay, this issue reminded me why I didn’t like the end of “The Valiant.” I liked her character from the get-go in Archer and Armstrong and would have liked to see her more. I’m hoping that her story isn’t done and her chemistry with Bloodshot made for one of the more enjoyable storylines of that series. The beginning of the story just reminded me of that. There wasn’t anything that really hurt the story for me in this issue though.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It. A solid introduction to a series featuring a character that I wasn’t sure could support an ongoing. I’m curious to see what Bloodshot has and hasn’t retained. I wonder if he still has the knowledge and skills that he acquired as Bloodshot and how he will be able to use them. Lemire has done some great work rejuvenating Bloodshot and I like how he has given him more depth. If/when he becomes Bloodshot once again, I trust that Lemire will know how to keep him engaging especially after reading this issue a second time. Great work with the art team for really pushing the emotional and mental hell that Bloodshot is going through. Props to Valiant for taking a chance with this character and not resorting to anything that felt forced or gimmicky. I’m already looking forward to the next issue.

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