Jeff Lemire, Butch Guice, David Baron and Dave Lanphear crafted a perfect issue of Bloodshot Reborn last month. It was so good, and I was so effusive with my praise that it’s quoted on the cover of this month’s issue. And who’d have guessed they would have put together a perfect issue again. This month’s issue picks up exactly where we left off last month, with Magic in danger from an unseen Bloodshot Farmer while Ray is trying to track the killer down in the corn fields. Magic manages to defend herself, but not without a huge cost to herself. Ray can only save her by damning himself all over agin. Meanwhile, Hoyt and Festival manage to figure out how one of the creepiest characters from the first arc may tie into all of this after all.
So in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never read any Bloodshot comics outside of Bloodshot Reborn. My first exposure to him was in The Valiant last winter, and I love Jeff Lemire, so I followed him to this book. It was my understanding that Bloodshot was the ultimate techno-warrior, a book about government plots and high science fiction. Bloodshot Reborn has really pulled the search for Bloodshot’s humanity to the fore, and Lemire is constantly tweaking and readjusting what “humanity” means to Ray/Bloodshot. Does it mean not killing people? Does it mean finding people who love him despite all his flaws? Does it mean protecting people who can’t protect themselves? Or is it a mix of all those things? All of a sudden, Bloodshot isn’t the star of a book about hard sci-fi, but something more akin to a shamanistic necromancy, a man who is a killing machine because that’s who he is, and who the government unlocked within him.
Guice’s art on this issue is staggering, even compared to his other issues. He makes use of double page sequences to build reveals and to unspool exposition without bogging it down. It makes this issue read at a refreshing clip, and really shows his flair for anamorphic action. Add into that Baron’s colors, so important in a book that’s been hinging how evil/lethal people are based on how white their skin gets, and this book is just a treat on every page.
I wish I could come up with something constructive to offer as criticism on this book, but there’s nothing that’s jumping out at me. It’s an amazing, if somewhat standard for the genre, lead up to a final conflict, and I’m already anxious to see where Lemire and co. go with it. This has been an interesting kind of redemption tale, and there are a lot of places for it to end up after Ray/Bloodshot deals with the final nanite-infected person. I’m excited for all the possibilities. Keep on making this book, gang: I love it.
Bloodshot Reborn #8 Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist: Butch Guice Colorist: David Baron Letterer: Dave Lanphear Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/18/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital