Review – Bloodshot Reborn #13 (Valiant)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Lewis LaRosa
Release Date: 25th May, 2016

The final episode of The Analogue Man is here and it’s not what I expected. The trouble with this is that reviewing it without spoiling it is going to be almost impossible. The finale does answer some outstanding questions, such as why did we wait so long for the antagonist to be shown, and it leads straight into the Bloodshot Island storyline. Yet unfortunately I can’t really summarise how without giving the game away. That being said, I’ll focus on what I can say.

The writing is solid; The Analogue Man storyline is my favorite Bloodshot Reborn story arc to date. Jeff really does write the relationship between Bloodshot and Ninjak well. The constant jibes from Ninjak as he tests boundaries is great fun to read as our duo infiltrate LA to finally meet the man in the tower, it’s a great little piece of comic relief. The guts of the issue cover a psychological attack by the man in the tower on Bloodshot. It is both brilliantly written and drawn by Jeff and Lewis. Each new wave of goo powered assaults on Bloodshot remind Ray of a past encounter where he and Magic try to get away from Project Rising Sun – yep, remember them – and it’s significant to the identity of the man in the tower and how Bloodshot will eventually confront and overcome him.

The attack on Bloodshots mental state is cleverly symbolized in the comic. Breaking the panels into two and eventually three different phases, it’s almost like a representation of the Id, the Ego and the Super Ego. We have Ray’s flashbacks to a project Rising Sun attack on himself and Magic (the past – the Id), that fight mirrors the struggle of Ray and Ninjak fighting their way to the man in the tower (the reality – the Ego), and the eventual break and result of their struggle to hunt down this mysterious nemesis (the judgment – the Super Ego). This conclusion is not what the reader will be expecting and it makes for a brilliant segue into the Bloodshot Island arc and an old and familiar face.

I’m going to miss Lewis LaRosa drawing Bloodshot; his representation of the character is definitely my personal favorite. There is something to the way he draws the character that seems to easily telegraph just how powerful Bloodshot is. In fact, I swear you can almost hear Ray’s musculature hum with repressed power the way Lewis represents him. It really adds to the sense of anger and confusion that Ray has by the end of this story. I also have to mention the mirrored panels of Ray and Magic in the past, and Ray and Ninjak in the present, fending off attacks. Both scenes are posed the same but with differing contexts and clever variations on the colors that Brian Reber uses really help to make these pop. The creative team really have brought their A game to this comic.

Part four of The Analogue Man is a great conclusion to the arc, and definitely not what you are expecting. Jeff Lemire has been really clever here, there have been some clear clues all through the previous three parts, but they only become obvious to the reader on completion of the whole story. I couldn’t help but give a wry smile at my reflection of these themes; the classiness of the writing really shines through here. It is such a fantastically self-contained and superbly executed adventure, and the outcome of this experience ebbs into the next arc with a transition as smooth as butter. I truly think The Analogue Man will be a fan favorite.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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13043453_10154167818863408_9180033184388957427_nThe writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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