Troubling Portrait of Man on the Edge: Bloodshot Reborn #2 ReviewMay 19, 2015
The hugely impressive Bloodshot Reborn returns with issue #2 this week, and it’s a deeply troubling portrait of an addict losing his grip.
In the first issue we met a post-Bloodshot Ray Garrison, a man struggling to cope now that the nanites that had turned him into an invincible killer have been removed from his blood, and unable to get over the death of his girlfriend.
However, a copycat Bloodshot shooting up a movie theatre spurred him into action, accompanied by what appear to be two figments of his imagination, his dead girlfriend Kay and a sort of wacky, animated mascot named Bloodsquirt.
With issue #2, while Ray and gang (or more likely, just Ray) is on the hunt for this new killer, he himself is being hunted by the FBI.
Jeff Lemire (Essex County, Animal Man) is one of my favourite comic book writers, principally because everything he writes stays with me long after I finish reading the book. And this issue of Bloodshot Reborn is no different. We are seeing a man on the edge, well aware that he is losing his grip on reality.
He is also yearning for the nanites, convincing himself that if he lets them back in, this time it will be OK, this time it will be different. He tells himself that he knows how to handle them now.
It’s a portrait of an addict, going back for just one more hit, just one more and then it will all be fine again. Comics these days rely on heroes with vulnerabilities, with weakness and flaws, but I can’t remember reading one with quite such a troubled protagonist as Bloodshot.
That’s not to say this issue is without some fun. Bloodsquirt is hilarious, and the way that they have contrasted his appearance with the hyper-realistic art from Mico Suayan (HARBINGER, Moon Knight) in the rest of the book is a stroke of genius.
The introduction of Special Agent Festival is also immensely entertaining, with the gifted (in every sense of the word) young agent immediately clashing with her cynical, older new partner.
When the comic does get violent – and really, with a title called Bloodshot, it is going to have to now and again – it’s handled really well. This isn’t a series that will be gory for the sake of it, though when there is a burst of violence, it is suitably brutal and shocking.
Bloodshot Reborn is not exactly the most fun comic book around, but it is a beautiful, thoughtful piece of work that is definitely worth reading.