Bloodshot #7: The Burned and a Soviet Godbeast Kaiju!
Written By Tim Seeley
Art By Mark Laming and Jason Masters4
Colors by Andrew Dalhouse
Cover Variants By Tyler Kirkham, Kael Ngu, Nik Virella
Published By Valiant Entertainment
“The Burned are in the business of breaking spirits, Bloodshot, and spirits are broken by failure.”
At the conclusion of Bloodshot #6, readers had a multitude of story-related information to process. The narrative arc that Tim Seeley had been constructing up to that point came to the proverbial boiling point with a cacophony of absurd events presented in a somewhat cohesive manner. The issue featured all three different warring factions in Bloodshot’s world, The Burned, Black Bar and The Sons of the Last Flesh, and the key players associated with each group, and made for a brisk but unfocused read. Fortunately, Bloodshot #7 acknowledged this fact and slowed its pacing to lay a narrative foundation for what is to come and give readers a more character-focused issue. This issue is all about change: a change in pacing, art and narrative direction.
The first change that readers will notice upon opening up the newest issue of Bloodshot is the difference in artwork as penciling duties have swapped hands from Brett Booth to Mark Laming. Brett Booth’s artwork expertly complemented the break-neck pacing of the previous six issues with its kinetic nature, but Mark Laming’s more reserved aesthetic fits nicely within the confines of this issue’s pacing as well. As Tim Seeley slows down the narrative progression, Laming’s art does a great job of capturing those more character driven moments for the most part. The Bloodshot #0 prequel comic that launched last month was an excellent example of how Laming’s art fits well within this title. His talent also shines through in the few action sequences that appear in this issue as he is able to create an interesting sense of movement and give weight to each character and avoid those stilted character compositions. On the other hand, the artwork in this issue is all over the place in terms of quality. The issue opens and closes with more action-oriented scenes that exemplify the above points of discussion, but there is an odd shift of quality midway through the book where the line work and art quality take a plunge. As I turned the page, the effect was jarring and certainly pulled me out of the reading experience for this issue. After examining the issue a bit more, I noticed that there was a secondary artist by the name of Jason Masters listed in the credits for the book. I can only assume that this section’s dip in quality was due to some last minute adjustments at this artist’s hands.
The next change fans will notice as they begin reading this issue is the pacing and the cohesiveness of the story. Tim Seeley certainly reflected on the strengths and stumbles of the previous issues of Bloodshot and made some adjustments to his writing that are worthwhile and effective for moving forward. One of my main criticisms of this run of Bloodshot was the hectic speed at which the narrative progresses. Characters come and go without much reason for readers to care about them, entire organizations are introduced and obliterated in the same issue and attempts at more character-driven and heartfelt scenes fell flat. This issue continues the trend started by the excellent prequel comic from last month and slows that narrative roller coaster down considerably. The opening of this issue focuses on the kiss between Eidolon and Bloodshot and still falls flat, but alludes to a more complicated relationship between the two that I am interested in seeing grow. The only paramilitary organization that makes a significant appearance is The Burned and only a few henchmen show up from Black Bar. The entirety of the narrative progression takes place in one central location, a site that “does not exist” owned by Black Bar to house their collected, top-secret specimens. Seeley obviously wants to spend more time developing these characters into more than just their archetypes and it shows in this issue. Seeley even takes a bit of inspiration from Jeff Lemire’s run of Bloodshot that sees Bloodshot’s nanites used in nefarious ways against him. We are even presented with an interesting, albeit by-the-numbers plot twist that reveals The Burned had ulterior motives in agreeing to help Bloodshot carry out his altruistic missions in the beginning of this series. This issue is certainly laying the narrative groundwork for the next story arc and I am excited to see where the series goes after a particularly exciting last page and cliffhanger. Without spoiling anything, just know this involves what the book terms, “Taliban Glorymen Super Soldiers, Soviet Godbeast Kaiju, Vine Planting Splice Infiltrators and Deadside Halfwalkers.” If this issue is constructing a narrative foundation, it is about to be destroyed in exciting fashion in future installments.
After the complete absurdity that was Bloodshot’s last issue, its latest iteration slows down and lays a narrative foundation for its upcoming story arc termed Burned in effective fashion while presenting readers with an enticing cliffhanger. Tim Seeley’s more conservative narrative is a nice change of pace from previous issues while Mark Laming’s artwork fits nicely into the changes that were made. If the last page is any indication, this change in pacing won’t last long however. Bring on the Soviet Godbeast Kaiju!