The Book of the Geomancer has foretold the fates of many, including a dark future for the Valiant Universe. This story tells of how one of the Valiant Universe’s most prolific killers will meet his end. Will it be the way he has lived much of his life? Violent and bloody? Is it good?
Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot #1 (Valiant Entertainment)
Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot details the numerous travels and adventures Bloodshot undertakes after the events currently unfolding in Valiant’s summer event series, Book of Death. The adventures take Bloodshot far and wide on Earth and beyond.
The multiple adventures and long lifespan allow the reader to see multiple sides of the famed killer, whether it is a hearty brother-in-arms enjoying the camaraderie of his fellow men, a caring husband and provider, or a ruling conqueror. Each new story opens up the character just a tiny bit, allowing us to see just how complex Bloodshot really is.
Artist Doug Braithwaite does a wonderful job capturing the different looks of Bloodshot as he goes about on his journeys. The differing styles of facial hair really stand out and not only highlight the personality Bloodshot is channeling at the time, but also details the current state of the world. The style and clothes are not unique to Bloodshot. Braithwaite is able to flex his imagination with the differing attires for the people Bloodshot encounters.
Braithwaite’s action scenes are engaging and they show off Bloodshot’s prowess for combat. There is one panel where Bloodshot sends a giant T-Rex flying through the air with its belly exposed creating a nice soft target for his knife. However, there is a full-page spread that is a little irritating. It appears as if Braithwaite has just dropped Bloodshot on different backgrounds in the hopes of having it appear as if he actually walked past those events. Unfortunately, it looks more like the character has a green screen behind him and the images are just flashing by. In the last of the four panels he is not even on the dock, he is stepping out of the panel.
Writer Jeff Lemire uses journal entry style writing to detail Bloodshot’s numerous adventures. It fits with the premise of a tale from the Book of the Geomancer. Unfortunately, this style leaves little room for any dialogue or actual engagement with other characters. It really is just a recounting of his past adventures through his own eyes. Due to the lack of dialogue, Lemire really gets into the head of Bloodshot and exposes his frustrations, his happiness, his conquest, and even his regret. The characterization opens up multiple new layers of the character.
Aside from the outstanding character development, Lemire also drops a ton of references to different named and unnamed wars throughout the issue, possibly hinting at future Bloodshot and Valiant Universe stories to be told in the future. It was reminiscent of the mention of the Clone Wars in the original Star Wars. There is a rich history just waiting to be explored!
Lemire wraps up Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot by transitioning from a recount of Bloodshot’s past heroics to a reflection on himself. It is very poignant and almost sad and attests to Lemire’s writing in combination with Braithwaite’s artwork to bring about the transition. Is this the true story of The Fall of Bloodshot? Or will the book be rewritten?
Is It Good?
Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot is a fun story recounting the future adventures of Bloodshot from action on the high seas to peaceful life in the arctic tundra. Bloodshot lives a dynamic life. The book hints at a number of possible outcomes to the Book of Death and has a few Easter eggs nestled within. (I’ll let you find them.)
Lemire’s choice of storytelling is fitting given the nature of the book and really allows the reader to get inside Bloodshot’s head and tells a story that develops the character on multiple levels. However, this also creates a steady ho-hum pace. Braithwaite’s artwork was enjoyable and he captured the different locales and cultures very well. However, the first full spread page could have been done a lot better to incorporate Bloodshot into the actual background image.