Review - Bloodshot Reborn #1

"Who was Bloodshot? Red eyes. White skin. Guns...lots of guns."

Stripping a character down to its core character tells you everything about them. Batman is a justice seeking detective, Superman is a being using his power for bettering mankind and Wonder Woman is a fierce warrior defending her people. If you take away their abilities, their core personalities still persist. Bloodshot is another character like that--take away the nanites and you've likely still got a man willing to be a hero. In Bloodshot Reborn #1 from Valiant Entertainment, he demonstrates a desire to return to form. The issue is written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Mico Suayan, colored by David Baron and lettered by David Lanphear.

Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit – a private contractor trafficking in violence – very well. Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self-imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving headlong into the violence that nearly destroyed him.

Opening up Bloodshot Reborn #1 with a quick rundown of Bloodshot's history is actually very smart, as it gives the reader plenty of context for the remainder of the issue. Lemire's tale focuses on Ray Garrison's post-Bloodshot life as he struggles to come to grips with no longer being the killer he was created to be. In that regard, Lemire does a fantastic job building Ray up to be just a regular guy with a host of PTSD related issues as a result of his former life. The presentation of the gunmen act as a catalyst for Ray to seek out his abilities once more, but it's likely that he won't be able to get them as easily. And that's the beauty of Lemire's script--it shows a man seeking to regain his former abilities, even if it's not that straightforward and he'll likely resent himself afterwards.

Bloodshot's look is very distinctive, so it's a credit to Suayan that he makes Ray recognizable as such in some ways. Ray wants to get away from his past and Suayan illustrates him with the same muscular physique and an absence of white and red. Ray still shares with Bloodshot some of the same glowers that struck fear into the opponents of Bloodshot before he descended upon them, only now they're directed at things like squeaky doors. All of Suayan's illustrations offer interesting angles for the characters, all of whom reflect heavy shading and a ferocity that underscores the intensity of those characters. Baron's colors are dark and moody, adding an appropriate level of tension to the issue.

Bloodshot Reborn #1 is a very strong first issue that provides more insights into Bloodshot as a man and less as a machine. Despite his abilities, he's always longed for something different, yet when he gets it, he realizes that it was those "gifts" that allowed him to help those in need. Lemire's dialogue is very grim and concise, effectively moving Ray to a different place emotionally that may steel his resolve for attempting to becoming Bloodshot again. Suayan's illustrations are equally as dark and showcase a transition from his mundane routine to the actions that will be executed by Bloodshot. Bloodshot Reborn #1 is a strong issue that breathes some new life into a familiar character, promising pretty interesting things coming up in the series.

Bloodshot Reborn #1 is in stores now with interiors below.