The man once known as the unstoppable killing machine called BLOODSHOT must track down the impostors carrying out mass shootings in his former name. But the hunter becomes the hunted when an upstart FBI investigator and her grizzled partner believe the original Bloodshot himself to be responsible for the murders.
Can Bloodshot elude the agents – and his own inner demons – long enough to take out a nanite-infused gunman?
Mico Suayan with Jeff Lemire
Bloodshot Reborn is, like a lot of Valiant series published this year, an odd duck. There’s an earnestness from the creative teams when it comes to playing silly concepts completely straight, which means that they live and die on what they provide on top of staple stories straight out of a Storytelling 101 book. In the first four issues, a simple redemptive arc for Bloodshot (a character who has come across in the past as an unaware 90’s caricature) gets given some spice by adding one simple twist – we aren’t sure if he’s been driven insane by his experiences or not.
It’s this key plot element that kept me hooked rather than learning about how hard Bloodshot has had it since he became human and decided to hide from his past. The two arguing voices which he personifies, one a bloodthirsty child’s mascot moulded on himself and the other the woman he briefly met and who gave him his life back, liven up an otherwise pretty boiler plate opening first two issues.
Even the FBI agent who has the same abilities of Will Graham from Hannibal isn’t enough to shake the feeling of a story that is less mystery and more ‘Go from point A to point B. Repeat.’
Having said all that, I did enjoy the issue – Bloodshot’s alienation and decreasing sanity are gripping and the fight choreography well done – each of the people that Bloodshot has to fight have just enough of an individual arc and personality that they aren’t reduced to mere obstacles to destroy and move on.
The central concept at the heart of the comic -is Bloodshot necessary and can our anti hero become him again without sacrificing the very humanity he now loathes but feels protective of? -is played well enough. the slow degradation of his psyche as the nanites take control once more is a little sudden, as he goes from the same person he’s been the rest of the comic to someone willing to kill an innocent at the bidding of the voices in his head.
Hopefully this will all make more sense as the series progresses. But I for one could get used to the creepy quality of the series where we aren’t sure if we should trust our protagonist at all. The Valiant Now! series seems to be trying to update classic Valiant Characters and give them a twist. Let’s hope this change sticks.
Cover image courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.
Bloodshot Reborn is available from Valiant.