Ray Garrison’s atonement continues in this week’s Bloodshot Reborn #2. Last month, Garrison, formerly the mindless killing machine known as Bloodshot, learned of a murderer who resembled his former self. Determined to prevent meaningless violence, Garrison set out, followed by visions of deceased geomancer Kay McHenry and the plucky doppleganger Bloodsquirt. Would the second issue live up to the masterpiece that was the first?
The so-called “red circle killer” is still on the loose, and it’s up to Ray to stop him. After stocking up on weaponry and ammunition, he heads into the Colorado forest, pulled inexorably by the call of nanites removed from his body. Meanwhile, local law enforcement continues their investigation of the murders, aided by a new arrival, the young but talented Agent Festival. As both forces converge on the killer, it’s clear the resolution will not be peaceful.
Writer Jeff Lemire fires on all cylinders once again as he brings readers into this second chapter of Bloodshot Reborn. The character work and interactions continues its exceptional flow, and the banter between Ray and Bloodsquirt is especially enjoyable. While we learn very little about Agent Festival, she is certainly poised to reveal herself as a layered character.
Best of all, Lemire continues his exploration of America’s interaction with and view of violence. He juxtaposes Ray joking about how guns are so easy to purchase in the United States with the scene of crime scene investigators cleaning the theater where the red circle killer’s rampage took place. This leitmotif is further strengthened through the character of Bloodsquirt, who bears a smile as he talks about serving justice through violence. Clearly, violent crime is a problem is society, yet violence is often joked about or discussed in an offhand fashion. Here, Lemire does not shy away from difficult questions, and encourages the reader to think about these issues.
Artist Mico Suayan’s stunning visuals accentuate and move the story in amazing ways. His highly realistic, deeply detailed linework adds an air of realism to the title, and further brings the reader into the strong story and its thought-provoking drama. Suayan’s skill is especially evident in the second half of the comic, as a vigorous conflict unfolds; the character posing and panel placement provides a frenetic feeling, drawing the reader deeper into the world of Ray Garrison. The facial expressions utilized for Kay also help show how otherworldly her appearance before Ray, after her apparent death, truly are.
Colorist David Baron adds his exceptional edge to the piece, contrasting the starker shades of Ray’s clothing with the greens and browns of the Colorado wilderness. Letterer Dave Lanphear provides solid work as well, his panel placements allowing readers to flow from scene to scene. And, of course, Lemire’s illustrations of Bloodsquirt are great fun.
Bloodshot Reborn #2 continues the gripping story started in the first issue. This is already an amazing comic series, even after only two issues, and I highly recommend picking it up. Whether new to the Valiant Universe or an established fan, this is a can’t-miss comic.
-exceptional character work
-gorgeous artwork from the entire team
-less action than one might expect
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