Review – Bloodshot Reborn #16 (Valiant)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mico Suayan
Release Date: 31st August 2016

Part three of the “Bloodshot Island” arc is where this story really begins to shine. Don’t misunderstand me, the first two parts were enjoyable, but we’re finally getting to the meat and bones of what’s going on here. We get a lead-in to the next arc (Bloodshot: USA – I’ll not spoil it for you), as well as a bit more background to Kay/Deathmate and what PRS have planned for her. Ray finally starts to take control of things after going on the offensive last issue and it gets the reader excited. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing Bloodshot ruin PRS’s plans.

And yet, I can’t help feeling that Bloodshot Island is less of a story in itself and more a segue between “The Analogue Man” and “Bloodshot: USA”. It’s the re-introduction of Project Rising Spirit and a new villain in Deathmate. It’s the seeds of the story of Diane Festival and why is she tracking down Ray. It’s the five other Bloodshots. It just seems to be the manoeuvring of several pieces in preparation for future adventures that, I feel, overpowers the story a little.

Still, there is a lot to get excited about in Bloodshot Island. Bloodhound struck me as a novel idea when introduced and he really comes into his element here. I can see him being a fan favourite. The potential for the Kay/Deathmate character is hugely exciting – this is clearly an evolutionary leap from Bloodshot and seems to stray dangerously close to the grey goo extinction event first theorised in Bloodshot’s initial run (and shown in The Analogue Man arc). Kay was the Geomancer though, how does that play? Of course, where there is a Geomancer, there should be The Eternal Warrior… so maybe it’s not Kay? In the issue PRS mention the virus deployment several times, This is of course alluding to the Bloodshot USA arc and they are testing Kay in relation to that … and there I go again, this story keeps drawing my focus to future potentialities instead of the current events.

What is undeniably exceptional is the artwork on display here. My appreciations of Mico Suayan’s lines and David Baron’s colours have grown with each issue. The level of detail Mico infuses in his drawing seems to be a genuine labour of love and it’s the employment of such skill that injects a stunning level of realism in his panels. In fact, it seems to humanize Bloodshot a lot more, allowing you to easily understand Ray’s feelings and reactions through his face, despite having no eyes – or rather, only red orbs for eyes.

The burned colours David Baron uses in his skies, along with the deep shading around Bloodshot and Deathmate scenes almost make Bloodshot Island other-worldly, and out of the norm. Indeed the clean-up crew in EV suits almost attest to that, it’s a marked difference between these and the scenes in Colorado with Diane Festival. I think it’s very clever. I was disappointed when Lewis LaRosa gave up art duties with The Analogue Man, I now get the feeling I’ll be just as disappointed when Mico and David hand over duties to Doug Braithwaite. Valiant does like to tease us, and it clearly works!

This issue is a tough one to critique, and not because it’s bad. There is so much going on in Bloodshot Island that excites you about potentialities in future of Bloodshot storylines that is does tend to distract you from the actual story you are reading. Clearly Bloodshot Island is a vehicle into Ray’s participation in ‘The Future of Valiant’ event that will close out 2016 – that groundwork is featured heavily – and yet there is still actual story here. It’s almost like you can’t really appreciate the chocolate you are eating right now because you are so looking forward to the pizza you are getting later. That being said, I enjoyed Ray’s change from hunted to hunter in this issue, and especially the character relationship development with Bloodhound. So let’s round up the Bloodshot Corps and get off this damn Island already. Now, where the hell is Magic?

Rating: 4/5.

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

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