“If you can just stop loving her then you never really loved her at all. Love doesn’t work that way. If you ever truly love someone, then it never goes away. It can become something else. There are all different sorts of love. It can even become hate- a thin line and all that- and, really, hate is just another kind of caring.”
― Blakney Francis, Someone I Used to Know
Writer Jeff Lemire has masterfully crafted Bloodshot Reborn from day one with a well-written story built on character development. Lemire’s goal has been both clear and obvious; to take an entertaining, however, historically one-dimensional character (Bloodshot) and develop him into the compelling, interesting, and relatable hero near the center of the Valiant Universe that he is today. Mark O’Bannon describes this concept as “The Mythic Hero vs. The Everyday Hero” stating “The Greeks thought of a hero as a greater version of humanity. Not a god, but greater than normal mortals, their heroes were capable of doing great things. Aristotle called this kind of person a “Great Souled Man.””
This concept is why characters such as Bloodshot, Wolverine, and Batman resonate with readers and fans. While they have skills and abilities, and in many cases special powers and abilities, they are not god-like. They are flawed heroes who must battle their own inner demons as much (if not more so) than they battle opposing forces. They are not invincible deities battling celestials in the heavens, but rather must improvise and overcome great odds to achieve victory. Their character matters, as skill alone is simply not enough. A sense of risk or loss must exist for readers to care about the events that transpire with and around a character like Bloodshot, and Lemire has achieved total success in his efforts to re-create Bloodshot with this in mind. With Bloodshot Reborn, Lemire has taken a good character, and made him a great character.
Artist Mico Suayan again knocks it out of the park with his complete mastery of pencils and ink. Suayan’s artwork on the “Bloodshot Island” story arc (Bloodshot Reborn #14 through #18) has been surgically precise in every way possible. Each character (and animal) is anatomically correct, with bone structure and muscular proportions congruent with natural reality. For example, on page #1 in the center panel, the story’s antagonist has visible and well-defined collar bones, trapezius muscles, and zygomatic/maxillary bones near the eye sockets which demonstrate a strong attention to detail while rendering a polished (and naked) character. At the same time, using Copic Markers Suayan creates an inorganic metallic texture that stands in contrast to the natural setting in which the story takes place. On page #1 in the bottom panel we see even more detail, with Bloodshot racing under the rain forest canopy layer along the forest floor and through the buttress roots. In full stride, Bloodshot’s wrist flexors/extenders, brachioradialis, biceps brachii, and brachialis are all clearly visible and shaded using traditional hatching and cross hatching techniques. Suayan outfitted Bloodshot with a U.S. Army regulation 2 ¼” wide nylon web belt with a plastic quick-release buckle (loaded with pouches, because it is a comic book of course…) and added (what appears to be) a left-handed Condor Outdoor Universal Shoulder Holster (USH). Does this mean that Bloodshot is left-handed? More likely the character is ambidextrous due to a significant amount of programing, and highly likely that Suayan simply wanted to show the pistol in this panel since it is more visually interesting than two basic magazine pouches.
Colorist David Baron’s work is always a treat, and works well with Suayan on this story. Most notably, Barron alters the color pallet slightly depending on location and events occurring within that location. Examples being the greyish blue hue used inside the PRS headquarters, and the redish/yellow glow added to the characters and environment on pages #7 through #9 when the forest is on fire.
Bloodshot Reborn #17 is a visually stunning experience with an equally enjoyable story. It take readers one step closer to the conclusion of “Bloodshot Island” which has been everything (and more) that fans could have possibly hoped it would be.