By Jeff Lemire, Doug Braithwaite, Brian Reber
The latest tie-in to Valiant’s 4001 event is 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot #1. This satisfying read serves as a strong stand-alone yet has distinct ties to both the 4001 and Book of Death events.
Writer Jeff Lemire takes a Spartan approach to the dialogue and exposition in the story. There may be few words, but the impact of the plot is not lessened. This approach fits well within the context of the story. There is also an underlying strength of emotion despite the detachment with which it is delivered. In short, on the surface the story appears to be emotionally spare and succinct, yet it is a rich and heartfelt piece.
As the title suggests, the story takes place during the 4001 A.D. event. Fans will love seeing what has become of Ray, the 21st century Bloodshot, and discovering how the concept of Bloodshot has changed. Fans have long speculated on any relationship between future technology and the nanites. Some of that is addressed here. Although this is not a comedy, Lemire injects subtle humor in the book, such as the name of the location where we first find Bloodshot. Suffice it to say that time does not make one fonder of “elevator” music.
The pleasing aspects for longtime fans will be the affirmations of the events in Book of Death. While this is definitely a stand-alone book that resolves the immediate plot, it could be looked upon as a sequel of sorts to Book of Death: Fall of Bloodshot. The same creative team that brought us that gem teams up again here. Best of all, Lemire leaves us with the option of a new beginning – Bloodshot in the 41st century.
Artist Doug Braithwaite and colorist Brian Reber work together to depict a story that ranges in setting from the future tech of New Japan to the harsh environs on Earth. Braithwaite does an admirable job of capturing all the action while giving his characters realistic displays of emotion. Every grimace, every shock, every look of steely determination is done in such a way that the reader can experience empathy with the characters. There’s a spectacular two page spread that combines the action of the now with a brief history of how Bloodshot came to be in this particular circumstance. Throw in some wide lens shots of ice bridges and some fantastical nanite sequences, and you will see that Braithwaite seems to be at the top of his game.
Reber sets the mood of the story with his colors. Bloodshot is given his own unique red throughout the book, and it puts his character center stage. Overall, color is used effectively. Subtle changes are made when recalling memories versus experiencing the present. The colors reflect the environment – from the cold and dark of the extreme northern clime to the slick colors of technology. The reds of the opening sequences of the book standout and feel like creation itself.
4001 A.D.: Bloodshot #1 is an entertaining and deeply satisfying story. This is a great companion piece to this summer’s 4001 event and to the mythos surrounding Bloodshot. It gives readers an ending they need as well as a new beginning they will want. Beautifully illustrated and colored, this book will be a standout in the series.