by Jeff Lemire and Raul Allen with Patricia Martin
The first four issues of Bloodshot Reborn have been a really interesting exploration of a character whom I’ve often times felt was missing that little something special. Fortunately, what Jeff Lemire has accomplished since the book launched has been nothing short of spectacular and has really made a long time Valiant fan like myself really love reading Bloodshot again.
One of the more interesting story choices has been the inclusion of Kay McHenry, the Geomancer who died at the end of The Valiant miniseries, and Bloodsquirt, an ultra violent cartoon version of the titular character, who may or may not simply be figments of Bloodshot’s imagination. It is Bloodshot’s interactions with these two characters of the previous four issues that have given the book a darker, more psychological tone which Lemire does so well. In this issue, we finally get a little bit more information on what these two characters may be as we enter Bloodshot’s mind with a really creative and well done story.
Bloodsquirt convinces Bloodshot to embark on a mission to find and destroy another one of the people “infected” by the nanites that left Bloodshot at the end of The Valiant. Bloodsquirt entices Bloodshot to take the mission by promising him a neutrino bath which will help Bloodshot’s nanites recover and heal him better, but only if he is successful in his hunt. Bloodshot agrees, and what ensues is a trippy adventure (in the Bloodmobile, of course) into Bloodshot’s mind as the duo battle “squirt” versions of the Unity team, including Ninsquirt, Eternal Squirt, and Squirtwire.
The sequences in the following pages are really interesting not only in the amount of humor which Lemire manages to infuse into the story through Bloodsquirt, but also just how creepy the character really turns out to be. I won’t spoil any of the revelations that happen in the latter half of the book, but if you’ve been following this series since its beginning, it will definitely pay off to finally have some answers.
Jumping onto the book for this issue is Raul Allen who has done plenty of cover work for Valiant in the past and is a brilliant commercial artist. Following the incredibly detailed work of Mico Suayan in the first arc of the book is a tall order, but Allen steps right in and delivers a solid performance capturing the emotion and tone of the book that has become a staple of the series. The story in this issue is much more abstract than what has come in previous issues and it suits Allen’s style perfectly. Supporting Allen on colors is Patricia Martin whose choice of color palette not only complements Allen’s art, but also really sells the environments in which this issue takes place. The use of reds and blues really work to establish the mental state that Bloodshot is in and looks simply beautiful on a page. I certainly hope we will see more of this artistic team in Valiant in the future.
Bloodshot Reborn #5 is another terrific installment to a captivating series. Over five issues, we’ve seen Bloodshot trying to regain his lost identify, but with this issue finally see that what really matters is the level of progression that Bloodshot has made over the past five issues and how much he has learned about himself, even if he still refuses to read his own file to learn his true identity. To be honest, whether we ever learn who he really was is probably not important as it is who the character has become that really is making Bloodshot Reborn consistently one of Valiant’s best books and this issue is no exception.