“…I know how this works. This is going to end with you and me running through the jungle… …screaming, crying…”
― Hugo “Hurley” Reyes, Lost
Bloodshot: Reborn series writer, Jeff Lemire commences the long-awaited “Bloodshot Island” story arc which follows the critically acclaimed and highly popular story arc “The Analog Man” (receiving four consecutive 5-Star ratings) which occurred in Bloodshot: Reborn #10 through #13. Previews and solicited covers for “Bloodshot Island” provided readers and fans a visual promise of something uniquely different and interesting in a way quite different from previous issues of the series. Lemire once again continues to impress with (perhaps the largest) expansion of the Bloodshot mythos to-date (Note: both Bloodshot #0 and Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps: H.A.R.D. Corps #0 also provided significant background expansions of the Bloodshot mythos).
Lemire had his first creative shot at Bloodshot beginning 2014’s The Valiant which received 19 separate “Five-Star” reviews from multiple critics and media sources (further described HERE as “…the BEST BOOK AVAILABLE—capitals, bolded, with underlines, just for good measure…“). With the conclusion of Lemire’s The Valiant #4, the story branched in two directions: 1.) writer Robert Venditti’s 2015’s Book of Death and 2.) Lemire’s Bloodshot: Reborn.
Lemire took the first nine issues of Bloodshot: Reborn as an opportunity to “re-invent” the character of Bloodshot from the ground-up. Lemire added new depth and quality to one of Valiant Entertainment’s most iconic characters and made him better! Bloodshot: Reborn #10 through #13 followed with a muscle pumped, gasoline fueled, dystopian science fiction story of 120% total awesome! With the foundation now firmly established, Lemire’s Bloodshot: Reborn #14 is a fresh, launching point for new readers hungry for violence of action with a touch of mystery. Lemire’s stories always have a plot twist and provide an element of surprise that keeps fans and readers on their toes. Bloodshot Island will be no exception.
To tell this story, original Bloodshot: Reborn artist Mico Suayan works his magic once again. Suayan is easily one of the most incredible artistic talents in the comic book industry today, and his work is frequently praised throughout social media and in multiple discussion group forums. While his covers often are completed using Copic markers to provide rich depth and photo-realistic artistic renderings (see his covers for Unity #5 and Archer & Armstrong #1); his interior pages feature a predominant use of traditional inks with a sophisticated use of shading and hatching (hachure in French is an artistic technique used to create tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines).
Suayan’s Bloodshot is a different (though equally good) visual take on the character than what artist Lewis LaRosa created in “The Analog Man”. While LaRosa’s Bloodshot is a 6 ft 260-pound brawler designed to win wars on the battlefield (and crush the skulls of his enemies); Suayan’s Bloodshot is a slightly lighter and agile super soldier (built like a heavyweight mixed martial artist, perhaps 200-220 pounds).
Suayan’s attention to micro-detail is truly astonishing. Several examples of his well-researched and perfectly executed artwork are:
- Vietnam era Jungle Boots. The textured mixture of leather and cotton are clearly evident, as is the distinctive tread pattern on the soles of each boot. Even the laces and eyelets are correct.’
- Military issue Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) pants. The ripstop fabric texture and movement of the material is visibly evident, as are the expandable side pockets with two-button flaps as well as front slash pockets.
- Load-bearing H Style LC-1 Suspenders with web-belt. Complete with M-16 and other miscellaneous pouches.
- M60E1 Machine Gun (nicknamed “The Pig” by Soldiers and Marines in Vietnam).
- Other era-correct uniform appearances. Desert Storm, Vietnam, World War II; each had a distinctive style to them in terms of how warriors dressed and were equipped on the battlefield. Suayan manages to capture these time-specific nuances.
From blades of grass, to tree branches and leaves, to the fur standing up on the back of a dog, Suayan completely nails this issue! Colorist David Baron’s work on this issue are especially noteworthy. From golden rays of light passing through a tree-crown canopy, to silver-blue natural water receding from a beach to the artificial glow of a forcefield, Baron’s colors blend well with Suayan’s inks and bring each page to life. His colors inject the man-made elements of battle (explosions, gun fire, laser beams) with the natural setting of the island setting.
Bloodshot: Reborn #14 is a well-written, compelling, and mysterious story loaded with some of the finest artwork in the industry. It is the perfect starting point for new readers to jump on, and well worth it’s cover price.