Things have been heating up quickly over at Valiant Entertainment with their summer event 4001 A.D. So far there has been: Rai battling in massive X-O Mech-Suits, Father controlled space dragons, dinosaurs burning up in earth’s atmosphere, and even the Eternal Warrior, but now it’s time to bring Bloodshot into the mix. Last we saw, writer Jeff Lemire, along with artists Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber, left Ray Garrison dead in an ally in the year 4001 A.D. Together they have come together again to continue this saga. For me, this is the issue I have been most anticipating for, right after Shadowman of course. Between Jeff’s scripts, Doug’s art, and Brian’s colors, this issue was definitely worth the wait.
Unlike the rest of the tie-ins for this event, 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot is pretty far separated from the rest of the other books. And it is told from the perspective of the Nanites, rather than Ray himself. This is was genius idea on Jeff’s part, as it gave a unique perspective even against his run on Bloodshot Reborn.
First, he opens the issue with the nanites debating who they are, and who they are not; which was a clever way to mirror the problems that Ray Garrison had lived with his entire life. After crash landing to earth in a jettisoned sector from New Japan, the nanites then rebuild a new host and escape the future version of Russia. All of this in effort to complete their final mission. If you want to know what that mission was, I suggest picking up the book for yourself.
Every aspect of Jeff’s script was stunning. His story was engaging, his dialogue was fluid and thought-provoking, and he even managed to wiggle in some fun world building; it would seem that the world isn’t all the desolate wasteland that Rai spent weeks wandering in.
To help Jeff finish what they started, line artist Doug Braithwaite adds his own level of depth that words just cannot reach. Like always, his work has a way of making a comic page seem larger that it really is. With his copious amounts of backgrounds, seamless panel transitions, and a firm grasp on perspective, you would be hard pressed to find comic artists of this caliber. For example, there is this double splash where the nanites are cycling through Ray Garrison’s memories, and the way that Doug had laid it all out, it was just gorgeous. I mean, if you just outlined the individual panels, it wouldn’t even look like a comic, just an abstract design of varying trapezoid sized. But after rendering, it all just made sense. To me, this is a measure of a great artist. I also thought the design of Frankenstein’s Bloodshot was amazing. That being said, however, there were some minor flaws in Doug’s work. There was this moment where the denizens of Russia attack Bloodshot with flamethrowers (another great homage to Frankenstein’s Monster), and the pages depicting this got too overwhelming with detail, distracting the reader from the key focal points. Another problem I had was with the execution of Bloodshot’s new design. The lone head was fun, but the red, cartoonish body just felt out-of-place. Though, looking back, it may have been a problem with Brian’s colors.
Usually Brian is diligent with his use of saturation and value, it was weird to see such a glaring flaw. Just looking at the rest of this issue, from a sector crashing into earth to the ice tundra, he just kills it. Showboating his insanely beautiful painting techniques all over the place. So like I said, it is weird that he let Blooshot’s body get so cartoonish.
Overall, this book was amazing. Every facet of Jeff’s scripts were concise: the plot, dialogue, world building, and exposition. Coupling that with Doug’s gorgeous line work, and Brian’s stunning colors this issue easily takes home 4.5 out of 5 stars. That being said, get this book. And the rest of 4001 A.D.
4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE