Valiant Entertainment 2016
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Doug Braithwaite
Coloured by Brian Reber
Lettered by Dave Lanphear
Bloodshot discovered that P.R.S. had exhumed Kay McHenry’s body and turned the former Geomancer into Deathmate. With this knowledge, he teamed up with The Bloodshot Squad to defeat Deathmate and escape in a makeshift raft where they were rescued at sea by Ninjak. Ninjak explained to the Bloodshot Squad that a mysterious virus had infected much of NYC, turning innocent people into violent, mindless savages with red eyes and pale skin. Were the nanites to blame? As the Bloodshot arrived in NYC, they were able to use their abilities to drain the But that was before Deathmate arrived. As Ray and Deathmate come to blows, Ray attempts to drain the nanites from her body, resulting in a strange transformation...
Dag nabbit Jeff right in the damn feels. I mean c’mon now this isn’t playing fair! The whole time Ray and Kay are together going through all this stuff there’s this tension you can feel i your bones. Maybe not unspoken or in denial but there’s a connection between these two and yes he’s got Magic right now, does she look a lot like Kay?, but if Kay is going to be back what does that mean? Oh goodness I couldn’t get over the way these two were together, the characterisation, dialogue and the overall effect it has on me just wow.
It’s not just Jeff with all this either it’s what Doug brings to the book as well. The attention to detail in the faces, facial expressions and body language that go along with how we see them this issue is impressive. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and those backgrounds that are filled with so much detail really bring this to life beautifully.
While Ray and Kay are going through their own thing Ninjak and the Bloodshot Squad are in Manhattan on the ground doing what they can. Festival comes to a realisation that she’s quite helpless in the machinations of Kozol. He really is holding all the cards and if she takes him out he wins and New York loses making him one of the scariest men aside from Harada in the Valiant Universe.
The characterisation that Jeff delivers throughout this is utterly amazing to witness. From the “side” player who are fleshed out as effectively as they are to the whole thing that Ray and Kay go through really has made this franchise what it is today. From soulless killer with no direction, a puppet if you will, to a free man thinking and feeling and finding his way in the world able to rely upon others it’s humanised him in the best ways possible.
With so much going on and one more issue in the arc left the aftermath of all this is going to be spectacular to see. One of the most impressive things i’m seeing here is that Bloodshot’s future is wide open and anything can and will happen where he’s concerned. While i’m still waiting for him to take his rightful place as one of the universe’s premiere heroes his ongoing journey of self-discovery is always a hgihlight for me.