It has all been leading to this. Ray Garrison faces the last Bloodshot imposter and comes face to face with his own demons. Will he succumb to the nanites or will he choose a different path? How does it fare?
Bloodshot Reborn #9 is a very satisfying conclusion to Jeff Lemire’s hero’s fall and redemption story he has been penning within Bloodshot Reborn. It has high drama, powerful emotional moments, good comedic relief, and an intense action sequence that Lemire and Butch Guice are able to blend together for an excellent story.
The story flows very well and there are no breaks or time jumps, something that seems to be pretty common with most of the books I have been reading lately. It is refreshing to see it all laid out from beginning to end. Lemire is also able to bring all of the characters together for the first time. The convergence amplifies the tension; you aren’t sure how each of the characters is going to react and how their decisions could complicate the story. Speaking of those decisions, they all feel real to the characters. They don’t feel forced, especially the huge decision made by Bloodshot.
Lemire’s dialogue aids in making those decisions believable. He doesn’t use an internal monologue to let you in on the character’s thought process. It is done through conversation and how he interacts with the other Bloodshot, Festival, Magic, and our two favorite personal demons, Bloodsquirt and Kay McHenry.
While Lemire does wrap up Bloodshot’s redemption nicely, he still leaves open a number of questions regarding Festival and where her character will go from here. He just drops her; we don’t get any closure on her nor anything on how her investigation wraps up. There are a couple of panels, but nothing definitive. He leaves it up to our imagination for now!
Butch Guice’s pencils are solid. He really does a good job of using strong iconic images, adding his own subtle touch to draw out the emotion of the scene. There are two that really stand out with Ray and Magic standing in the rain in a romantic embrace. You are able to see their feelings for each other, but it is juxtaposed with a scene that evokes extreme sadness. What makes this stand out is these two scenes are really just one in the same panel.
While Guice is able to capture these powerful emotional moments, there are some minor issues with his character details. In one scene, Festival’s neck is almost as big as her head and appears to be attempting to remove itself from her body. The same issue occurs with Magic later on as both characters are looking up and Guice uses a camera angle from below which any photographer will tell you is not a flattering angle. There are also some scenes where Ray’s hair seems to change composition from being slicked back to being looser with his bangs hanging in his eyes.
There is one point towards the end of the issue which lends to some confusion as Guice depicts Bloodshot and Ray in two different manners. It is unclear what that signifies, but it is definitely a huge character design shift. I’ll be very interested to see if Lemire explains it moving further.
The highlight of Guice’s artwork is how raw and rough it is. You can see the harsh pencil marks that complement Ray’s own emotions. It draws you in and exposes you to the man Ray Garrison is and the conflict raging within him against the nanites and the “Bloodshot” persona.
Finally, David Baron’s colors accentuate the rawness of Guice’s artwork. He covers the book in multiple shades of red, bringing out Ray’s and Bloodshot’s passion whether it is fury, anger, or love. It’s all in a rush around him and explodes periodically in bursts throughout the book. The main shade of red is also muted giving the book a darker feel as he faces his inner demons that attempt to destroy Ray Garrison.
Bloodshot Reborn #9 concludes Ray’s hero’s fall in excellent fashion. Lemire delivers strong emotional moments that challenge Ray’s character and force him to come to a definitive decision about who he is. Guice’s artwork, with David Baron’s colors, highlight the internal conflict within Ray, draw it out, and put it expertly on the page. There are some minor issues with characters’ necks and Bloodshot’s hair. Overall, this story was extremely satisfying with great character development and story progression.
- Bloodshot finally makes a choice when he has to confront his internal demons
- Lemire's characterization of Bloodshot and Magic
- The raw and rough style of Guice's artwork
- Poor camera angle choice with some panels
- Festival's character is left hanging