Review – 4001 A.D. Bloodshot #1 (Valiant)


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Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Doug Braithwaite, Brian Reber
Release Date: 8th June 2016

After the excellent Rai #13 this is the 4001 A.D. tie-in story that I was most looking forward to. Especially as by 4001 A.D. Bloodshot is already dead – as we saw in last summer’s event; Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot.

There is that old adage though, in comics no-one really dies. How Jeff has tackled Bloodshot’s comeback has that touch of Lemire brilliance in it – reboot is a word used all too often these days, and rebirth has been monopolised by another publishing house this summer (!). Really thinking about it though, these words don’t apply – this is an evolution.

This next stage of Bloodshot’s maturation keeps the character grounded in Ray’s past (sort of), but cleverly adapts the character to the world of 4001 with some new (and interesting) powers. What I love about this is that these new abilities Jeff has given the character are more organic than technological. I’ve noticed before that Jeff plays with opposing themes in his stories, a skill he’s crafted to make his tale that much more interesting. It’s great, the personality of 4001 Bloodshot is more…. Mechanical(?), but his goal in this story is completely human. It’s a fitting end to Ray’s chapter as Bloodshot, and to the beginning of something new.

I love that Valiant has Doug Braithwaite on art here, Doug also drew Bloodshot’s Book of Death tale. I really appreciate subtle decisions like this, it seems fitting. His lighter pencilled lines mark a distinction from the more hyper-realistic drawing of Suayan, Guice, and LaRosa from Lemires ongoing Bloodshot Reborn series and it helps you break the character away from that. That is in no way meant to sound like a complaint, I really enjoy Doug’s art and his panel layout is something to see. The story flows through some mosaic like panelling that is a testament to Doug’s artistics chops. It’s a compelling visual cue, easy to follow, and honestly just looks so damn cool.

If I had one grumble about the art it would be about the new Bloodshot design. It’s not really a grumble, it’s more a concession. This new Bloodshot is badass, but the specifics of the character if drawn by (for example) Suayan, may be upsetting to younger readers. Doug’s representation is perhaps a more PG-13 compromise to the character, and I totally get that. Still, it would be so cool though to see him represented the way I visualise him in my head.

Valiant’s summer event just keeps spilling out riches, and this Bloodshot chapter may just be the best part yet. Not only has Jeff delivered a truly touching self-contained story (don’t worry folks, there is plenty of ass-kicking too), but he’s setup the character in the 4001 A.D. universe proper. The implications of this are exciting, we have Geomancer, The Eternal Warrior, and now a new Bloodshot firmly ensconced in Rai’s world. Suddenly our future seems just a little bit brighter.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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

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