This week’s Valiant releases saw two highly lauded series hit shelves: Bloodshot Reborn and Ninjak. While the latter continue’s Valiant architect Matt Kindt’s continued building of this universe’s lore, the former sees the continuation of Jeff Lemire’s first solo foray into this world.
Bloodshot Reborn #2
This book is as bonkers the titular character. For a character that has experienced as much trauma as Bloodshot, it’s impressive how much further writer Jeff Lemire is willing (and able) to push the character. The issue opens with a scene straight out of a family comedy, as Bloodshot, Kay McHenry, and Bloodsquirt are crammed in the front seat of a pickup truck. The only catch, of course, is that the latter two don’t exist anywhere but in the mind of the titular character.
Lemire and artist Mico Suayan – who’s art is absolutely gorgeous – are clearly not telling a “traditional” Bloodshot story (if such a thing exists). The “Red Circle Killers” serve as a nice framing device for the individual issues, but this is about the relationship between Bloodshot and his nanites. Speaking from a broader perspective, it’s about self control and how humanity is at constant odds with its most base instincts. For two issues in a row, the execution has been masterful.
Colin King is… not in the most ideal situation by the end of Ninjak #3, which only makes the wait for the next issue all the more unbearable. Opening with Ninjak and Roku in a free-fall, the creative duo of Matt Kindt and Clay Mann execute a meticulously paced issue that draws the reader into this world of espionage. There is a rhythm and cadence to the reading experience as the events on the page unfold seemingly in real time, which only serves to ratchet up the tension with each turn of the page.
This series’ backup story, which recounts Ninjak’s early days at Mi6, is just as enjoyable as the main event. Essentially a better version of Arrow’s flashback sequences, the story by Kindt and Butch Guice is developing into a fascinating tragedy that will undoubtedly shape Ninjak into the man he is today. It may be premature to refer to this as a “tragedy,” but given the raised stakes and consequence within the Valiant Universe, expecting anything less would be the real tragedy.