By Jeff Lemire, Mico Suayon & David Baron
Bloodshot Reborn has proven to be exactly what its title promises: a revitalization of a hero who in the past has more resembled a cliché than a character. Key to this revival has been writer Jeff Lemire, whose twisting plots keep the reader on their toes. One of the highlights of Lemire’s run was #5, a trippy spin through Bloodshot’s conflicted mental landscape. Earlier this year, the Annual gave fans a sampling of a more light-hearted, yet still poignant, take on the property. More recently Lemire penned a tie-in issue for Valiant’s summer Event 4001 AD, which re-imagined “Bloodshot” as unconfined by a single mortal body. For the finale of The Analogue Man arc, Lemire pulled-off the “it was all a dream” (or more specifically “all a brainwashing induced false memory”) trope without the reader feeling cheated. Repeatedly, Lemire has proven himself capable of defying reader expectations and that trend continues with the initial chapter of the new arc, Bloodshot Island.
In the wake of #13’s revelations, Bloodshot has learned that instead of escaping to safety with his lover Magic, he was recaptured by his creators Project Rising Sun. Having woken to reality, he abandoned his stasis pod and found himself on a undeveloped tropical island. Also he is seeing the impish Bloodsquirt once again. Bloodsquirt though is of little help and quickly vanishes. Then the explosions begin. Fleeing for shelter, Bloodshot trips over a cache of weapons. Then a nanite infected dog comes charging out of the jungle. Bloodshot is still recovering from this sight when he is greeted by an even stranger discovery: a man who also appears to possess the same nanite infected condition as Bloodshot.
Lemire keeps the action flowing throughout the issue, allowing Bloodshot little chance to catch his breath. Lemire does, however, drop enough clues for the reader to gain a fuller sense of Bloodshot’s new predicament. This approach results in an exciting, fast-paced narrative which immediately draws in the reader. The concept is somewhat outrageous, which only adds to its appeal. Once again, Lemire has successfully swept up the rug from underneath the readers’ feet.
Art for #14 is provided by Mico Suayan who also illustrated Reborn’s initial arc. Suayan has a hyper-natural style. His detailed line work emphasizes the grit of combat, as well as the starkness of violence. Attacks come suddenly, dealing fatal blows without a second thought. Suayan is also quite good at keeping the action flowing, expressing the script’s steadily increasing pace. For his part, colorist David Baron bathes the pages in cold hues. There is a lot of green in the background, but little of it is warm or welcoming. Instead it highlights the remoteness of Bloodshot’s environment. The coloring in general reinforces the tone of the comic as one of brusque brutality. There is little room for comfort in this jungle, even from a loyal Bloodhound.
#14 is a strong, engaging opening chapter to Bloodshot Island. In it, Lemire and his artistic collaborators demonstrate that they are not finished surprising readers. It leaves fans wondering even more what that enigmatic Vs storyline will entail later this year . . .
Disclosure: Publisher Valiant provided an advance review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site and publisher or agreement on the review’s content.