Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mico Suayan
Colorist: David Baron
Letters: David Lanphear
Bloodshot has had difficulty finding his identity at Valiant since the relaunch of the company back in 2012. The title has switched writers a few times already along with art teams and general focus. The Valiant, a recent event series from the publisher changed the dynamic of the lead hero, directly affecting the events inside of Valiant’s newest relaunch, Bloodshot Reborn #1.
Identity is the major theme of this issue. How does a robot discover his (or it’s) own humanity? The opening page depicted by Mico Suayan immediately tackles the theme and takes the idea to task. The rest of the opening sequence preps readers for a quick retrospective, a wise decision for new readers jumping into the character. The issue goes onto validate Bloodshot’s important role in the Valiant Universe within Unity and The Valiant.
The book begins in Colorado and gives the comic a new tone. Does this new incarnation of the hero have a chance in avoiding the violence as he travels down to do some handiwork at a motel?
It’s Bloodshot…so the answer should be a given. With the protagonists’ life in such a deep dark pit evoked from recent events, it might be hard for new fans to find a reason to empathetically devote their interest into the character. Bloodshot isn’t the man that he used to be, but this new identity doesn’t seem to suit the hero either. Thankfully, unexpected whimsy is hiding within this comic that may change your mind on the story being told.
Suayan’s art evokes pain and suffering within the different characters via hyper-detailed linework. The style works particularly well for Bloodshot, serving as as a bleak militaristic drama. Suayan’s approach to the mundane is played up as a dichotomy between the differences of the stories being told within the book. The artist drapes much of this story in thick shadow to illustrate the gritty narrative depicted in the tale. A major art surprise is hidden in the first installment that will be sure to delight readers familiar with the past work of Jeff Lemire.
About halfway into the narrative of this first issue, the scenery changes based on one pivotal scene that alters the nature of this entire book. In order to get fans truly interested into the narrative of Bloodshot himself, something radical had to be introduced into the first chapter. To spoil the hook would be a crime, but it’s safe to say that this first tale really does offer the unexpected to readers in the form of a brand new character that will hopefully drive Bloodshot Reborn for the foreseeable future. This book can be defined by that welcomed piece of whimsy hinted at in this first issue — it pushes this story from boring Punisher analogue into…something else.
It’s clear that Lemire and Suayan are crafting a story with this character that can be defined as subversive, but this first issue still plays it’s cards close to the chest. The tone of this series is splintering off into numerous different places, to the point where this first installment may actually serve the comics world better as a prologue rather than an actual first issue. While recommending this tale to the already established Bloodshot fandom seems like a given, to see whether this story could reach an audience with much broader scope could be possible. If the promise of something that can bend genre in a completely different direction doesn’t drive you to pick up Bloodshot Reborn #1, you should still make sure to keep your opinion informed by following the press coverage. Valiant seems closer than ever to reimagining the concept for one of their greatest and most beloved superheroes towards sheer delight with the power of Jeff Lemire, Mico Suayan, and some clever ideas.