Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Tomás Giorello
Release Date: 5th October, 2016
With Bloodshot Island now at a close and Bloodshot USA on the horizon Issue 18 of Bloodshot Reborn is a bit of a filler issue and a perfect opportunity for the reader to familiarise themselves in some detail with the Bloodshot Squad. Castaway at sea with no knowledge of the rescue that’s coming (yeah, thanks for that Valiant previews) Jeff is taking this opportunity to let the reader breathe. After two pretty action packed arcs we take a small pause before he throws us headfirst into (what I suspect) is his Bloodshot Reborn swansong with the USA storyline…
—Full disclosure here: I’ve no idea if that is the case; I just know that Dinesh is very excited about a Bloodshot script that Matt Kindt submitted to him.
I may just be joining two very extreme dots, a part of me hopes Jeff is continuing with Bloodshot Reborn, and Matt is scripting 4001AD Bloodshot—
Anyway, the issue is basically a campfire story where the various members of the Bloodshot Squad recant how they became a Bloodshot, and what they had to do because of that. Well, at least the ones who were willing to. Sure, Jeff does play a bit to stereotype here, the game and righteous WW2 hero with tales of valour; the Black Vet who feels exploited by the system, forced into a modern equivalence of slavery; and the fiercely loyal communist who does his duty for Mother Russia. Even with these tropes playing out, the stories themselves are no less enjoyable as our team chews the fat while trying to work out how to reach land.
Tomás Giorello is on art duty here, and if that name seems slightly familiar it’s because he was on art duty for 4001AD Warmother. I’m hoping he’s a new addition to the Valiant family, because his art is definitely on point if these two issues show his standard. The art is more of a penciled effect that I’m not always a fan of, but the detail work in his drawing has really impressed me. It’s the little nuances that I love. Things like the shade hatching on Rays face that could either be shadow or stubble depending on how you look at it (a bit like that young and old lady face illusion), or the froth on the sea waves as the makeshift boat cuts through the water. Detailed art like that I find completely immersive and it only adds to my enjoyment of the comic.
Castaways from Bloodshot Island is the calm before the storm. Jeff is letting us take a pause while entertaining us with some new snippets of Bloodshot lore. It’s a compact and tidy little entry into the Bloodshot Reborn cannon that serves as a little sweetener for the reader. The addition of Tomas on art is – I hope – a statement from Valiant that they have a new (and exciting) artist on board, and one I’m eager to see more of. So now we’ve had a little face time with the Bloodshot crew, isn’t there the small problem of a nanite virus we need to address?
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.