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 With this knowledge, he teamed up with The Bloodshot Squad -- outdated Bloodshots from wars gone by -- to defeat Deathmate and escape in a makeshift raft where they were rescued at sea by Ninjak. Ninjak informed the group that a mysterious virus had infected much of NYC, turning innocent people into violent, mindless savages with red eyes and pale skin. Were the As the men approach NYC, Ninjak’s plane crashes. As the survivors emerge from the wreckage, a suddenly infected Ninjak attacks and decapitates Bloodshot, before turning his attention to the Bloodshot Squad…
What Jeff has been doing with this franchise has been absolutely amazing to witness. Ray’s personality has been shining through all this and he’s gone from the ultimate killing machine into a well rounded character that quite honestly has become an absolute joy to read about. Add to the mix that Project Rising Sun has unleashed a nefarious plan to control the world starting with New York City and things have taken on a whole new meaning of crazy.
I like that last issue we saw Ninjak become infected with Nanites and this issue opens up with Livewire succumbing to them as well. It’s a great way to really stress the point that P.R.S. mean business. Also that the rest of the government are dumb enough to think that they should send in military personnel so that they too can succumb as well. I mean c’mon I love that the military think they know so much but all they seem to do is make matters worse. There’s a reason that organisations like GATE exist in this world.
How Ray deals with Ninjak and frees him from the nanites control is well done. It also shows the others how to boost their own systems once they get to the real fighting in the city. Again the dialogue and characterisation of this Bloodshot Squad really is top notch stuff. There’s this way Jeff is able to infuse humour into the story that only he can do like this. Amidst all this chaos and destruction that Jeff can find moments of humour like this really does showcase why he’s among those who can change the course of a character or franchise in the best possible ways.
Doug’s interiors here continue to be some of his most amazing work. The attention to detail here is superbly done and his use of page layouts through angles, perspective and the use of backgrounds make this series really pop. the facial expression and body language do as much for the characterisation as the story does. He can really do some great action scenes and the motion and sense of movement he brings is excellent.
We’ll see next issue of Ray can free Kay of being Deathmate while the rest of the squad take matters to P.R.S. While we can only guess the outcome it’s guaranteed to be an awesome thrill ride. Valiant continues to grow and evolve their characters in some great new innovative ways.