Another week, another high-quality Valiant release!
For a small publisher, Valiant has worked really hard to create, market, and publish quality comics on a consistent basis. I strongly recommend looking outside the Big 2 to supplement your pull list, and Valiant’s Bloodshot will definitely get you coming back for more action, characterization, and world-class art. Bloodshot has become my favorite superhero (thanks Valiant!) other than Batman (obviously, he’s freakin Batman!). It’s all thanks to Jeff Lemire (writer) and Valiant’s stable of artists including Renato Guedes’ (artist) run on the character.
For those of you without a PhD in comic book science just bear with me, but Bloodshot signed up to be augmented by Project Rising Spirit (PRS). PRS injected him with nanites, basically microscopic robots that can heal any injury, give super strength, speed, endurance and keep you looking like Schwarzenegger and fighting like Deadpool. Amazon can’t keep them stocked. Anyway, Bloodshot is an expert at both unarmed and armed combat. He also specializes in bringing the pain to a gamut of extinction-level threats down to PRS flunkies trying to kidnap his girlfriend. Utilizing his unique brand of full-body karate, Bloodshot is on a mission to get his life back from PRS, which used his nanites to control his memory and actions.
Here’s why I love Bloodshot Reborn #0, Lemire wraps up threads from his previous two arcs, “Bloodshot Island” and “Bloodshot U.S.A,” and he keeps the Bloodshot gang in action! The Bloodshot gang are different era versions of Bloodshot, all with distinct and sometimes hilarious personalities. This issue is admittedly a tough one for Jeff Lemire and Renato Guedes to thread the needle on. They have a standalone issue that has to close the previous Bloodshot arcs and also provide a lead-in to what is being billed as the next terrible turning point in the tragic life of Bloodshot. Lemire deftly ties many loose ends and provides Bloodshot with a nice surprise, leading to the happiest the character has been since Lemire took the reins.
Anytime the Bloodshot gang makes an appearance I’m immediately interested. Lemire continues to flesh out these characters in bits and pieces. The next iteration of Project Rising Spirit, Project Omen, provides a slow burn here, but Lemire keeps his plans for Bloodshot Salvation, coming out later this summer, under wraps. Valiant is describing this issue as perhaps the most important issue in Jeff Lemire’s continuing epic, so I definitely recommend picking it up. Lemire has proven himself a master at seeding threats and future storylines throughout his Bloodshot arcs. I’m excited to see if he is heading where I think he is.
I truly think that Lemire saves his best stuff for Bloodshot, but even if he didn’t, Renato Guedes is such a superstar artist that his quiet, drama-filled moments are just as evocative and realistic as his action scenes. Ladies and gents, Guedes’ art elevates Bloodshot into the pantheon of comics that are worth pulling, no matter what. While this quiet issue doesn’t allow him to flex his muscles as much as other arcs, he brings an inherent realism to the art that suits the subject matter and makes Bloodshot’s problems seem that much more harrowing, his joy that much more joyous, as well as showcasing Bloodshot’s growing sense of optimism.
The only problem with this issue is that even though it’s a zero issue, it’s not exactly new-reader friendly. For maximum enjoyment, and even minimal enjoyment, you have to have read previous arcs. The emotional beats just don’t resonate, nor does the newfound optimism without that background. Seeing as how thematically, this issue is a bookend to one arc and a precursor for the next, it ideally would not be a zero issue. But hey, it’s working for other publishers! Normally, I’m not a fan of jumping on mid-series, whether it’s comics or television, but this is one of those rare times where I HIGHLY recommend it. This creative team is too good, and this version of Bloodshot is too compelling to miss out on. Thankfully, there isn’t a huge backlog of trade paperbacks to pick up, and Valiant prices their books significantly cheaper than Marvel, so trades are much more affordable.
Bloodshot Reborn #0 is a great wrap-up issue for all of Bloodshot’s drama over the last 2 arcs and provides a status quo change that I’m sure Valiant will use to punish Bloodshot within the near future. I wish Valiant hadn’t made this a zero issue, as the creative team has a new arc coming out later this summer and this issue requires past knowledge for maximum enjoyment.
- Status quo change for the Bloodshot gang!
- Project Omen
- The Bloodshot gang
- Requires past knowledge of the character for true enjoyment