Jeff Lemire, Lewis LaRosa, Brian Reber
Exciting is too paltry a word to describe the latest Bloodshot Reborn. High intensity and action-packed, this book will leave readers breathless and begging for more.
Writer Jeff Lemire has infused new life into the story of Bloodshot, giving him a depth of character and palpable emotions usually lacking in a super-soldier story. His Reborn series kicked off with a very human Bloodshot coming to terms with what he was and what he is destined to be as he regained his abilities. The current arc, “The Analog Man,” revolves around a dystopian future, where we find Bloodshot reeling after the murder of his wife and entire village. Bent on revenge, he agrees to work with an aged Ninjak to confront the powers-that-be.
We’re seeing a different Bloodshot, one freed of his worries of being less-than human and the fear of something happening to his loved ones. He’s already lost everything he was hanging onto, and this newly untethered Bloodshot is brutal. Though there’s plenty of “squishy” moments, it’s also just plain fun to watch him fight his way through a murderous horde. Bloodshot and Ninjak play off well against each other, with Bloodshot displaying an acerbic wit rarely seen. The dry humor and grudging camaraderie between these two give the story a bit more heart and take the edge off of the violence.
Also notable is the second storyline weaved into the present “Analog” tale. This sequence provides a peek into Bloodshot’s life with Magic shortly after the events in Colorado. Its events are smartly paired with similar features in the “Analog” tale, serving as a unique way to tie the two timelines together. Readers should pay attention to this quieter storyline – it will likely have repercussions in the future.
The distinctive art in this book sets it apart. It’s gorgeous. Lewis LaRosa painstakingly depicts the rough terrain and inhabitants of this dystopian future. His work is highly detailed and his understanding of the human musculature is on full display, lending complete believability to the action sequences. Speaking of action, it’s LaRosa’s panel layout that make this book flow so smoothly and lend a motion-like quality to the art. Readers might feel like they’ve just watched cinema rather than have read a book. Part of that is due to the unique panel shapes that add to the excitement of the story’s action. The characters’ expressions are telling as well. Every wince, grimace, and side-eyed glance make these characters come to life. That’s an impressive feat considering the action in this issue.
Colorist Brian Reber adds depth and brings the heat with a warm palette that lets readers feel the burn of the explosions. Much of this story revolves around a fight in a ravaged wasteland, and Reber’s colors emphasize the heat of the battle and the environment. Rough sand, brain matter, and dry, cracked skin are all par for the course. The colors of the book are realistic yet done in manner that drive home the heat and desolation of the circumstances, thus upping the urgency by putting us on alert. Even the sound effects are colored in his warm palette. Reber and LaRosa make an excellent team. LaRosa inks his work and frequently employs tonal shading as well as additional textures. Reber adds his own flair with color yet never obscures or takes away from the blended shadows added by LaRosa.
Hot Hot Hot! The story is heating up with pulse-pounding action and a quest to discover the truth. The terrific art in this book by LaRosa and Reber make Lemire’s story jump off the page. The arc concludes in the next issue. Don’t miss out. This feast for the eyes will be an arc you will want to read again and again.