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Review: Bloodshot #0

Bloodshot #0

Artist Mac Laming unleashes eye-popping artwork as the truth behind Bloodshot’s mission is revealed in Bloodshot #0!

After reading Bloodshot #0 part of me wondered why the comic hadn’t been released in sequence. This comic bridges the gap between the end of Harbinger Wars II and the beginning of the current Bloodshot series. It addresses how the events of Harbinger II and how he dealt with what he was forced to do.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is not well.

The comic opens with Bloodshot in hiding. He’s trying to disappear and avoid the killing machine he once was, working on a pipeline in northwestern Siberia. Writer Tim Seeley takes a step back from the frenetic pace he’s been using in the six issues so far. He really delves into the psyche of a man who has been used and abused by friends and enemies alike.

Not only does Seeley explore Bloodshot’s broken soul, but he also shows us how he ends up doing what he’s doing at the beginning of Bloodshot #1. There’s a lot of story in this issue. It still doesn’t feel like you’re trying to fit seventeen eggs into a twelve pack.

Under Tim Seeley’s pen, Bloodshot has been one of the more consistent series that Valiant is currently publishing. It’s often a fast-paced action comic with enough hidden depths in each issue to stop it from being overly shallow. With the zero issue, Seeley has shown what he can do with the character when he slows the pace down. And it makes me hopeful that we’ll get more moments like this in the future.

Seeley is joined by artist Marc Laming who handles the art for the first time this series, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. Laming’s style acts as a visual bridge between Doug Braithwaite’s art at the end of Bloodshot Salvation and Brett Booth’s take on the character in the latest volume. The cold desolation of the comic’s setting is evident in the shades of blue and grey used when the scenes take place outside.

There’s a great full-page around the middle of the comic that emphasizes Bloodshot’s view of himself; a weapon to be used.

But who gets to use the weapon?

The comic does a great job of asking the question and offering an answer that we’ve been reading for the past six issues.

Bloodshot #0 is probably the best comic in the series so far. It is successful as a bridge between stories, as a single issue standalone story and as an introduction to Bloodshot #1 and the character as well. All in all, that’s a home run for the zero issue, which is far more than I expected from an issue which has often been little more than a stop-gap between the numbered issues.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Andrew Laming
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Bloodshot #0

BLOODSHOT #0

Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MARC LAMING
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE
Cover B by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Cover C by FRANCIS PORTELA
On sale FEBRUARY 19 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Artist Mac Laming unleashes eye-popping artwork as the truth behind Bloodshot’s mission is revealed!

BLOODSHOT #0

Review: Bloodshot #6

Bloodshot #6

The mysterious Eidolon’s origin finally revealed in Bloodshot #6! This issue will change Bloodshot forever, and you’ll never guess how it ends!

The above text came from the press email Valiant sent out, and, well they’re not wrong.

Bloodshot has been one of the most frenetic and fun series Valiant has put out in some time. It has been the very definition of a popcorn comic as I can currently think of; you don’t need to think too hard when reading this book; Tim Seeley has been able to give you almost everything you need in each issue to understand what is happening within those 22 pages of story. If ever there was a series for new readers to just pick up and enjoy, it would be this one.

And yet there are still moments of characterization, whether that’s in the beats in you see as Seeley lets you take a moment to breathe, or in the snappy dialogue between the characters as the bullets are flying. This balance allows you to get lost in the comic, absorbing the story beats that come like a rhythmic cadence between chaos on the page.

Seeley is joined once again by artist Brett Booth, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. All of whom combine for an aesthetic that appeals enormously to me. The style gives me a sense of nostalgia for the comic art I read growing up; it’s dynamic, clean and yet full of life and vibrancy.

If the above paragraph feels familiar to you it’s because I copied it from the review of the last issue. It was as true then as it is for this issue, and I didn’t feel like I should try and craftily rewrite the same thing.

One of the things I’ve noticed in Tim Seeley’s Bloodshot is that he’s shied away from making Bloodshot utterly unstoppable. He can be hurt, he can be slowed down, and he can be beaten. This had had the effect of adding a level of risk to the story that could easily be missing given how the character has evolved as the unstoppable killing machine. Like other aspects of the comic, it’s refreshing. Whether it’s just a device to show how strong the enemies have been in the series or is going to be slowly established as the new status quo for the character we’ll discover in the coming months.

Bloodshot isn’t the most original story. It won’t shake you to your core or have you asking yourself deeply introspective questions. But not every comic needs to do that. What Bloodshot does, it does very well. As a pure comic book, there’s a lot of enjoyment on offer here. Seeley, Booth, and co have been remarkably consistent issue to issue, and I can’t really find any fault in an issue that does exactly what it says on the tin (that may be an obscure reference for you – it’s from a UK add originating in the late 90’s from a company called Ronseal).

Bloodshot remains one of the series I look forward to reading each month. This wasn’t the best comic I’ve read this week, but it still comes with a big fat stamp of approval from me.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Brett Booth
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Rai #4

Rai #4

In Rai #4, Rai’s quest to rid the world of his nemesis puts him on a collision course with one of his closest allies: The Eternal Warrior!

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have. Although it follows on from Fallen World’s events Rai can be read entirely separate from the miniseries. The overarching plot has Rai and Raijin searching for Offspirng. It’s pieces of code or AI that when returned to Father will make him nigh unstoppable.

A hallmark of the series so far has been presenting a question within the story for readers. The first issue explored the evolution of machines and what it means to be human. The second issue asked us to rethink how we take for granted the limited AI devices in our lives and how they could work toward sentience. The third issue was full of allegories for online privacy. The fourth issue tells us to rethink how we treat others, and whether a machine is nothing but a tool. Dan Abnett also touches on the nature of evil; is it something you do or something you are? Do you deserve to be judged on what might happen or what will happen?

After an issue story that played heavily into online privacy and consent, with a comatose Rai being forced into a conversation with somebody who had hacked his operating system, you could expect Abnett to give you a bit of a break this issue. And he does. Kinda. If you don’t pay attention to the undertones of Rai #4. If you want to gloss over the unspoken questions then you’ll still find a fun comic. The depths add an interesting layer to a story that is the best thing I’ve read since the previous issue.

I will never make any secret of the fact I am a big fan of the Eternal Warrior. I always enjoy seeing him in the various time periods that Valiant has shown him in across the years. Seeing him teased in the pages of the previous issues had me anticipating how he’d end up returning. I’ve got to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the character’s return, and the verbal sparring between the Eternal Warrior and Rai only serves to underline what Abnett is asking in a very natural and organic conversation.

Rai #4 once again has Juan Jose Ryp providing the artwork with Andrew Dalhouse and Dave Sharpe on colors and letters respectively. It’s hard to talk about how great this book is without heaping praise on the artists that work on it, but truthfully the team met every expectation that I had for them once again. Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house so far in this book among other elements that we haven’t conceived of yet, and each and every page has been fresh and exciting.

There were a couple of minor blips for me this issue, primarily around the Eternal Warrior’s beard, but they’re so inconsequential in the long run that I’m not factoring them in with the overall visual experience. Especially since it’s something most of you probably won’t even be bothered by. No, honestly I have no objective complaints about either the art or the writing in this book.

At this point, if I could only read one comic a month, then it would be Rai.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Rai #4

RAI #4

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KAEL NGU
Cover B by SIMON BISLEY
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
Pre-Order Edition Cover by ADAM GORHAM
On sale FEBRUARY 12 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Rai’s quest to rid the world of his nemesis puts him on a collision course with one of his closest allies: The Eternal Warrior!

RAI #4

Preview: Bloodshot #6

BLOODSHOT #6

Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by BRETT BOOTH
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by DECLAN SHALVEY
Cover B by FRITZ CASS
Cover C by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
Pre-Order Edition Cover by HARVEY TOLIBAO
On sale FEBRUARY 12 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The mysterious Eidolon’s origin finally revealed!

This issue will change Bloodshot forever, and you’ll never guess how it ends!

BLOODSHOT #6

Review: Bloodshot #5

Bloodshot #5

Bloodshot goes on his scariest — and most personal — mission yet… at a horror movie convention?! A whole new era of Bloodshot is here in Bloodshot #5!

I’m not gonna lie to you. I don’t think I’ve had as much fun reading an action comic as I have Bloodshot in a long time. Yes, I’ve read some great books over the years, but there’s something fun about this book that you can’t ignore. Although the themes of freedom and enforced service are very present focal points in the comic, there’s a levity here. Bloodshot attending a horror convention and the scenes with him reacting to certain cosplayers and commenting on what he sees are a great balance to the darker sides of the comic.

What I found most impressive was how well Tim Seeley has geared the issue to new people. There’s enough exposition and background between the recap page and the dialogue to catch new readers up with what they have to know. It doesn’t give it all away should they decide to check out any of the collected editions of yore. Nor does it feel in any way forced or heavy-handed for long term readers.

Seeley is joined once again by artist Brett Booth, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. All of whom combine for an aesthetic that appeals enormously to me. The style gives me a sense of nostalgia for the comic art I read growing up; it’s dynamic, clean and yet full of life and vibrancy.

Tim Seeley’s Bloodshot is a story about redemption for a man trying to atone for wrongs he had little choice in making. Watching the writer explore Bloodshot’s psyche and reintroduce him as a slightly more straightforward hero with a deeply troubled past is interesting because it feels like a natural evolution after what we’ve seen him go through over the previous series from Valiant – most recently Jeff Lemire’s acclaimed run.

I said last week that you really can’t go wrong with the series if you’re looking for a fun action-based comic – and I stand by that. This isn’t a revolutionary book, and there are arguably deeper comics out there – some even from the same publisher – but there are very few books on the racks that are as much fun as this one.

Bloodshot comes highly recommended from me.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Brett Booth
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I’ve also got a copy set aside to pick up tomorrow.

Review: Rai #3

Rai #3

The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace in Rai #3! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved 80% of the five issues of Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have.

The series overarching plot has Rai and Raijin search for more pieces of Father. Father’s the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. You can read about in the 4001 A.D. miniseries. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely. It’s a situation that holds a level of menace in the background. It’s just out of sight for the most part, but always within reach, as you read.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a mere backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines, and what it means to be human. The second issue saw Rai and Raijin continue their hunt for an Offspring. That took them through a sector of New Japan that fell to Earth. It bore a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. It was here the duo came across an idyllic looking model home that felt like an incredibly advanced Alexa or Google Home.

The first two issues have been stellar comics. It’s also worth praising each issue for the different angle that they take. The series has touched upon how reliant we’re becoming on technology and whether we’re losing sight of who we are without it.

Rai #3, somehow, lived up to my expectations.

We find Rai effectively comatose with no explanation. Raijin’s trying to make sense of why his companion is nonresponsive to any stimuli. Without wanting to get into spoiler territory, it’s difficult to explain why this comic met my expectations. Doing so in any great detail will probably reveal far more than I’d like to regarding the story. Suffice to say that the comic made me think about personal security in the digital age. This may also be in part because of my day job and the training I’ve been doing at work. As seems to be the case, I’ll probably touch more on this in the review for the next issue.

Dan Abnett has woven a compelling story. It features some real-world commentary that has never been more relevant nor timeless when it comes to the use of technology. But my love of the between-the-lines story isn’t at the expense of the comic itself; Abnett has delivered an incredible story in every way.

Rai #3 is rounded out by one of the finest artists in comics in Juan Jose Ryp along with the versatility of colorist Andrew Dalhouse. The futuristic visual style in the comic must be somewhere between a dream and a nightmare for an artist; depending on the comic, Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house. To say that I have yet to be tired or bored by the art would be an understatement because I can’t remember a time when I have been as excited as I have been to scroll down in the review copy just to see the art. And then when reading it again in print to see the art without a watermark.

Usually when you get writing or artwork of this caliber then the other tends to be a little overshadowed, but that’s not the case here. The comic is as visually exciting as the story is deep.

As a series, Rai has transcended any expectation I had for it; this is a gem of science fiction storytelling and a damn fine comic. Please, don’t miss this series.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.7 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Rai #3

RAI #3

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by RAÚL ALLÉN
Cover B by MICHAEL WALSH
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
On sale JANUARY 15 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?

RAI #3

Advance Review: Rai #3

Rai #3

The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace in Rai #3! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved 80% of the five issues of Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have.

The series overarching plot has Rai and Raijin search for more pieces of Father. Father’s the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. You can read about in the 4001 A.D. miniseries. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely. It’s a situation that holds a level of menace in the background. It’s just out of sight for the most part, but always within reach, as you read.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a mere backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines, and what it means to be human. The second issue saw Rai and Raijin continue their hunt for an Offspring. That took them through a sector of New Japan that fell to Earth. It bore a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. It was here the duo came across an idyllic looking model home that felt like an incredibly advanced Alexa or Google Home.

The first two issues have been stellar comics. It’s also worth praising each issue for the different angle that they take. The series has touched upon how reliant we’re becoming on technology and whether we’re losing sight of who we are without it.

Rai #3, somehow, lived up to my expectations.

We find Rai effectively comatose with no explanation. Raijin’s trying to make sense of why his companion is nonresponsive to any stimuli. Without wanting to get into spoiler territory, it’s difficult to explain why this comic met my expectations. Doing so in any great detail will probably reveal far more than I’d like to regarding the story. Suffice to say that the comic made me think about personal security in the digital age. This may also be in part because of my day job and the training I’ve been doing at work. As seems to be the case, I’ll probably touch more on this in the review for the next issue.

Dan Abnett has woven a compelling story. It features some real-world commentary that has never been more relevant nor timeless when it comes to the use of technology. But my love of the between-the-lines story isn’t at the expense of the comic itself; Abnett has delivered an incredible story in every way.

Rai #3 is rounded out by one of the finest artists in comics in Juan Jose Ryp along with the versatility of colorist Andrew Dalhouse. The futuristic visual style in the comic must be somewhere between a dream and a nightmare for an artist; depending on the comic, Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house. To say that I have yet to be tired or bored by the art would be an understatement because I can’t remember a time when I have been as excited as I have been to scroll down in the review copy just to see the art. And then when reading it again in print to see the art without a watermark.

Usually when you get writing or artwork of this caliber then the other tends to be a little overshadowed, but that’s not the case here. The comic is as visually exciting as the story is deep.

As a series, Rai has transcended any expectation I had for it; this is a gem of science fiction storytelling and a damn fine comic. Please, don’t miss this series.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.7 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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