It is quite clear from the early pages of Bloodshot: Reborn that Bloodshot is one damaged individual. He has gone through quite the ordeal over the past year or so in the Valiant Universe from finding out the true intentions of Project Rising Spirit – the company that experimented and engineered nanites through Bloodshot’s bloodstream to enable a Wolverine-like healing factor, tampering with his memories and turning him into a government controlled assassin – to the traumatizing events that came out of The Valiant mini-series.
The nice thing about Bloodshot: Reborn #1 is that it is very new reader friendly, filling in some of the past events through some tightly scripted pages that show early on the firm grasping of the character that Jeff Lemire has. Bloodshot’s past is brutally shown alongside some incredibly fine line work by Mico Suayan; you can almost feel the veins pulsing from Bloodshot’s neck as he quickly disposes of armed soldiers. His powers are playfully exhibited as a solider blasts through Bloodshot’s head. The gaping head wound is seen from behind, the soldier peering through. The next frame is from the same perspective but the head wound is just about healed. The soldier is no longer visible as the wound has just about sealed his upcoming fate.
Due to the conclusion of The Valiant, Bloodshot’s nanites have been drained from his body, removing his control from Project Rising Spirit and his healing abilities. He has found himself in Colorado using the name Ray Garrison and has been granted a free room at a small town inn in exchange for his assistance in daily duties. Being confined to the restrictions of a small town and the four walls of his motel room has however allowed the memories of Ray’s time as Bloodshot to frequent his mind. In which the prototypical hero escapes into the night to fight crime, Ray now fights with his subconscious recollections of violent actions during this time, drowning his sorrows through the snorting of crushed pills and bottles of alcohol. Will these temptations of a lifestyle that have consumed most of his known existence supersede his attempts at a ‘normal’ life?
Mico Suayan’s art is spectacular. His detailed pencils have graced the pages of every major character in the Valiant Universe, providing a heavy amount of line work in both characters and environments. His lines are extremely noteworthy in the faces of Valiant, exemplified upon the eyes of Ray, struggling to contain his fears and regrets. Once tears finally escape from his heavy eyes, you can tell the emotional struggle is real. Even the environments themselves are highly detailed with multiple etchings upon the wood paneling of the motel’s walls and the dark, creeping shadows that seem just about to swallow Ray as he lies helplessly in his bed. It should also be known that Suayan might have taken the unofficial award for creepiest drawn child in one panel, so kudos for that.
David Baron’s colours work extremely well separating the pronounced reds and greens in daytime with the hazy muddled grey and yellows of the night. The promising rise of the sun’s yellow rays during the early day combat with the drunken goggles painted from the blinding glow of Ray’s television. Baron is no stranger to the Valiant universe as well, colouring for Doctor Mirage, Shadowman amongst others and is highly capable of providing some excellent work both in terms of high octane action and lighting the settings of more intimate, psychological moments.
Does everything Jeff Lemire does turn to gold? It is a bit early to tell for sure, but it definitely appears that Lemire has yet again proven that he has a firm and comfortable understanding of Bloodshot and is about to put him through some pretty intense trials and tribulations. If Mico Suayan and David Baron remain on board, this could turn into quite the emotional roller coaster.