Bloodshot is one of those characters who has a very cool power, but isn’t always thrust into the most interesting of stories. He’s a soldier, so we’re accustomed to him being sent into battle, being attacked, or tracking foes. Not so this week as Valiant kicks off a new arc 30 years into the future. What’s going on with the Valiant universe in 30 years? If you guessed “not good things” you’d be right.
Bloodshot Reborn #10 (Valiant Entertainment)
Bloodshot has run off with his girl Magic and given up the hero business. He’s trying to make ends meet, but the world is a drastically different place. A drought is hitting California extra hard and Los Angeles is hogging all the water. Bloodshot is just trying to keep his girl and his community alive.
Why does this book matter?
Maybe it’s a bit unfair to compare this book right off the bat, but I’m getting some strong Old Man Logan vibes from the set up and cool reveals. Since this story is set so far into the future Jeff Lemire can come up with wild and crazy things with no set up. We’re simply dropped in and attempting to figure things out. That’s fun and makes the read exciting.
The man has a job to do.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Lemire kicks off the issue without any explosions or superpowers; instead we follow two little boys sneaking as close as they can to see the old man who has “black magic” and may just be a “wizard”. I can see a lot of people comparing this to Mad Max as the world has become very dry and very unrelenting. Lemire introduces Bloodshot in all his old man glory and it’s a solid introduction. He’s weathered, he’s a bit tired, but he’s keeping on keeping on. In the short introductory pages we get the vibe of this world and the story in general.
From there Lemire takes us on a ride. Bloodshot needs to get water in a land where water is scarce. It’s not only cool how he does it, but along the way we learn all about Shadowman, X-O Manowar tech and the development of the very nanotech that makes him a superhero. Much of these elements are very cool and science fiction fans should be very pleased with the reveals. It’s very natural and well paced which speaks wonders to the writing since so many books get boring and slow with so much exposition.
That isn’t to say this comic is devoid of action. In fact there’s a fantastic car chase action sequence that’s filled with fire and thrilling layouts. Again, this scene reminds me of Mad Max: Fury Road but never feels like it’s stealing at all. The rip-roaring sequence reveals the lengths which the bad guys are willing to go, but also a reveal that proves the world is more insane than even Bloodshot thought.
Lewis Larosa a highly detailed and very emotionally charged way. Heck, just look at the preview without color. The style is darker in tone, almost smudged at times, given everything a depressed and sorrowful feel. When bad guys do show up they’re rather scary and demonic, again due to this darker tone, and it helps sell the nihilistic nature of the story. Larosa chooses a lot of dramatic angles that help propel the story into a more grandiose and “this means something” sort of story. Take for instance a cool worms eye view of Bloodshot as he uncovers a secret but also changes into his white self. He stands tall and very large and it’s heroic. Later there’s a double page spread of Los Angeles that’s jaw dropping good. It’s foreboding and epic like something out of Blade Runner.
It can’t be perfect can it?
One could argue it’s a bit top heavy with exposition then action, but the set up is so strong I don’t think most will care.
Is It Good?
Valiant is setting itself up with one imaginative and surprise laden story many will compare to Old Man Logan but it’s its own science fiction beast. The world is hell as this rip roaring story takes you on a ride you don’t want to miss.