There are some creators I follow no matter what company publishes their product. One of those people is Jeff Lemire.
I first read his work back when DC’s New 52 launched, and he brought us Animal Man. That book was the surprise hit of the entire event, and I was hooked. Since that day, I’ve searched for his name as writer, artist or both regardless of where it comes from, and kept up with his amazing sense of drama and character.
Now he’s doing things for Valiant Entertainment, a company I like to support because they tell excellent stories. His newest project there is Bloodshot Reborn, and Mr. Lemire has hit the ground running with it.
Previously in Bloodshot: “From New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT, Green Arrow, Hawkeye) 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.”
A STAND-OUT, STAND-UP CHARACTER
Valiant has been re-inventing the group of heroes and others they developed years ago when the company first was formed. Over the last several years, a lot of my favorites have been back, including the Harbingers, X-O Manowar and Bloodshot.
It seems everyone develops their own super-soldier, and they always get compared to Captain America, who was injected with a super-soldier serum. Bloodshot hasn’t looked as “normal” as Steve Rogers did, what with his completely white skin, black hair and the red circle on his chest. He also has had nannites in his system instead of a serum, and that’s given him quite the advantage in that he heals rapidly, something like Wolverine’s healing factor. Granted, some of the elements that are built into Bloodshot may not be completely original, but the way they’ve been mixed together are what make this soldier something special.
Combining Bloodshot’s action/adventure with Lemire’s penchant for exploring drama and characterization gives the book a different feel, one that I enjoy. Now, that doesn’t mean there’s no action in a Lemire book! We get plenty, but what takes place in fights and missions means more because he’s set up the people very well. We understand what’s going on and why things are taking place the way they are!
In this “debut” issue, Lemire sets up Bloodshot as an “average” guy, working as a handyman around a Colorado motel. He does well during the day when he’s busy, but the nights haunt him because he starts to remember his past.
The sci-fi question being raised by this book is, “What happens to a killing machine when it stops killing?” The answer begins to take shape this very issue!
I also enjoyed the supporting cast, including the owner’s creepy kid. Yikes! Another good thing is the comprehensive summary that will help anyone who may not have followed Bloodshot’s history very closely.
CLEAR, EXCELLENT ART
Suayan’s art is a great match for Lemire’s scripting. Expressions are easily understood, as are the various characters’ movements. Bloodshot’s new appearance is simple and direct, much like the character’s focus. Well done!
The color also matched the mood of the various sequences, including Bloodshot’s TV watching through his nights out as well as his day job activities. Now that the basic setup is complete, I’m going to enjoy seeing how Suayan handles more action and adventure.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bloodshot Reborn Is Worth Buying
I saw Mr. Lemire at a convention last year, and I had the chance to ask him why he was changing the companies he was working for. His answer was very direct: “I want more creative freedom!” Yeah, I can understand that!
Bloodshot Reborn is a good indication of the kind of stories Lemire wants to tell. We already can relate to the people we encounter, and I’m looking forward to what Bloodshot will be doing in upcoming issues. I doubt that every story will be action-oriented. Instead, I’m anticipating a lot of variety in the storytelling, something I love!
If you haven’t been buying Valiant’s books, I recommend you give them a try, and particularly Bloodshot Reborn. Oh, and if you are as big a Lemire fan as I am, this series is not to be missed!