By Jeff Lemire, Butch Guice, and David Baron.
“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages
The final chapter before next month’s “The Analog Man” story arc, Bloodshot: Reborn #9 brings the story arc (that began with Bloodshot: Reborn #1) to its satisfying conclusion. Writer Jeff Lemire undertook the task of carefully re-building and redefining Bloodshot as a character beginning with the events in The Valiant #1 through #4, and subsequently Bloodshot: Reborn #1 through #9. We learned about the fears, regrets, and pain that burden our hero; as well as the inner strength, drive, and focus that carry him forward to do what he must do and to be who he must be. With Bloodshot: Reborn #9, Lemire has set the stage for Bloodshot stories yet to come. Rather than a mindless killing machine, readers have watched a slow and methodical character evolution that has added a new level of depth which will greatly enhance future story arcs and further create new possibilities and potential for the title.
As discussed in previous reviews for Bloodshot: Reborn #7 and #8, artist Butch Guice yet again nails the art in this issue. His gritty style, complemented by colorist David Baron’s earth-tone vision for this story, have a classic “cops and robbers” look and feel. This is not house-art or mass-produced style; it is a deliberate and unique approach to visually tell Lemire’s story and to further capture the mood of its setting. There is an unsettling sense of a thriller at play here, and it works quite well.
It is important to note that Bloodshot: Reborn is a character-driven story. As a character, Bloodshot often has shot first and asked no questions, whereas in Bloodshot: Reborn readers have watched every trigger-pull count, with thought behind each action. There have been no moments of killing 30 men effortlessly and mindlessly, but rather a well-grounded and down-to-earth story where actions leading to life or death were considered and balanced much like they are in the real world. All characters and factions have their own motivations, which is clearly shown in this title. These elements blend together and create a believable story about unbelievable concepts which is in every way possible what science fiction and/or fantasy is supposed to do. In this, Bloodshot: Reborn has been a success, and now with the closure of Bloodshot: Reborn #9, readers both new and old can (and should) look forward to 2016 with the “The Analog Man” beginning in Bloodshot: Reborn #10 which promises to be a fantastic starting-point for new readers.