By Jeff Lemire and Lewis LaRosa.
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Last month Valiant Entertainment’s Bloodshot: Reborn #10 received a Five-Star review which can be read HERE. The story, written by Jeff Lemire, is both compelling as it is strong, and has been discussed in detail within that same review. More than a year ago (during the 2015 ComicsPRO breakfast presentation) Valiant announced that artist Lewis LaRosa has been tapped to draw Bloodshot: Reborn beginning with issue #10; before issue #1 had even hit stores! Early previews of LaRosa’s interior pages were well-received by the comic book community, and fans of the series waited long and patently for many months for the eventual release of issue #10. Bloodshot Reborn: The Analog Man – Director’s Cut #1 takes this story and provides readers and fans a stripped-down and raw artistic masterpiece that used LaRosa’s uncolored artwork to tell Lemire’s apocalyptic story of dystopian fiction.
As stated in last month’s review of Bloodshot: Reborn #10, this is the Bloodshot story that fans have waited for — and this is a Bloodshot story that has exceeded the expectations of fans and critics alike.
While much of this is due to Lemire’s writing; it would be an outright lie to ignore LaRosa’s enormous contribution to the success of this book. Valiant Entertainment clearly understood this, and chose to do something they have not previously done with any other title; they released Bloodshot Reborn: The Analog Man – Director’s Cut #1 which not only showcases LaRosa’s work in its original and untouched form; as well as including Lemire’s unedited original script for the “The Analog Man”.
To accomplish this, Bloodshot Reborn: The Analog Man – Director’s Cut #1 is a 48-page special edition in “Prestige Format” with a high-quality heavy cardstock cover.
This is not a variant (though some might consider it one), but rather an entirely different format and approach to how this story is presented.
LaRosa began using Copic markers towards the second half of 2014. His first published art using markers was the cover for Divinity #1 (LaRosa 1:40 Variant) followed by the cover for Ninjak #1 (both released early in 2015).
This is a visually significant shift in LaRosa’s art style, as prior to this, his art was created by pencils and ink (micron pens) as seen in his cover art for Bloodshot #25 and Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps: H.A.R.D. Corps #0 both released early in 2014.
The use of Copic markers allows for remarkable artistic renderings. Many artists, including Lewis LaRosa, Mico Suayan, Stephen Segovia, and CAFU have used them to blend greytones and create dimensional and almost lifelike images. In the hands of an artist like LaRosa, they are used to create organic elements such as explosions, fire, smoke, water, and shadows which are clearly visible in his work on this book. LaRosa admits that Copic markers are not exact and precise artist tools, so he frequently will use Micron pens for sharp lines and detail. The result is that each page is stunning and richly textured, but also posses a sense of visual clarity. As LaRosa inked over his own pencils, he did not require much early detail with his layouts for each page, but rather used them as a guide which allowed him further artistic freedom while inking for the final result. The influence of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, along with 2012’s Dredd are evident; however, “The Analog Man” is not a copy or repeat of those stories. Instead, it is something new and interesting that is 120% worth your time.
LaRosa’s Bloodshot is the “definitive Bloodshot!” His vision of the character is that of a classic 1980’s action hero in the tradition of Commando, Rambo, Conan, and Predator. LaRosa’s Bloodshot is a solid 250 pound super-powered G.I. Joe who can punch through concrete walls and flip-over trucks with his bare hands. He has skill, and highly refined fighting abilities; however, he also has strength, agility, aggression, and speed with a lifetime (or multiple lifetimes?) of battle experience programmed into him. While LaRosa’s Bloodshot can snipe an enemy target from a distance, it is more likely that he will cut-off their head with a customized heavy steel blade, beat their skull into the earth, or use a heavy-caliber machine gun the same way most soldiers use a rifle. Bloodshot is a visually imposing brute and brawler; a machine designed from the ground-up to end life while at the same time endlessly searching for his own place in this world, his own humanity, and a peaceful life (that tragically, will never come…).
Make no mistake, Bloodshot Reborn: The Analog Man – Director’s Cut #1 is as visually stunning as it is well-written. This is an artistic masterpiece of the highest quality.