Mico Suayan punches readers in the eyes with the opening page of “Bloodshot Reborn” #1 as he balances three explosively detailed panels of Bloodshot with just a handful of words from Jeff Lemire. Letterer Dave Lanphear breaks those words down across the page and colorist David Baron brings in some graytones, some red and atmospheric blue to balance out the blazing yellow-orange of gunfire before even the first page turn.
Red, white, black and blue fill the first three pages as Lemire gives readers a quick elevator pitch on who Bloodshot was prior to this issue. Eight pages of exposition occur before the dialogue clicks in, as Lemire chooses the path of “ominous narrator” to describe Bloodshot’s history to the readers. Lemire throws a twist on the narrator’ identity and settles the story in alongside Ray Garrison, former Bloodshot and now maintenance worker for a motel in Colorado. Lemire gives Garrison a nominal cast, consisting of the motel owner and her grandson, and chooses to anchor his past through Kay the Geomancer and Garrison’s own crumbling memories of what was. By choosing to make Garrison a sympathetic character, Lemire invites the readers further into the story and suggests we invest our interest in this down-on-his-luck former anti-hero.
Keeping one foot in the bizarre, the writer also introduces Bloodsquirt. In the interest of keeping this spoiler-free, let’s just say his role in “Bloodshot Reborn” #1 has to be seen to be appreciated, but this comic would not be the same without this sliver of the Bloodshot mythology.
The world according to Suayan is filled with wrinkles and crosshatches, putting wear and tear on everything and inviting shadows into every scene. Baron opens up the color set after the first three pages, reducing the amount of red, white and blue in favor of secondary colors, natural settings and atmospheric lighting. Garrison has a vision that seems real enough, giving him second thoughts on his current stead, and Baron mixes up green backgrounds and purple figures to present desperate, haunted climates around Suayan’s drawings. Everything in Suayan’s panels seems tangible, save for Bloodsquirt, who makes his appearance and contributions all the more disturbing as Suayan contorts Garrison’s face through a myriad of expressions.
Regardless of readers’ familiarity with Bloodshot, Lemire, Suayan, Baron and Lanphear serve up a masterful introduction. Readers looking for a fresh start will find it here, while longer-term Bloodshot fans will find a nice recap prior to Lemire kicking this adventure into high gear. Lemire gives readers a solid set-up, action and intrigue. Garrison tries to find his place post-Bloodshot, but it seems the world — and Lemire, especially — has other plans. It looks like this is going to be an action-packed, psychodrama-tinged adventure.