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Review: Bloodshot USA #4

bsusa_004_cover-a_braithwaiteA weaponized virus has turned New York into a war zone…and Bloodshot is about to make his last stand for the heart and soul of every man and woman brutalized by the effects of a nanite-enhanced plague! But just when his one-man invasion of the Big Apple seems lost, the hard-coded weapon of mass destruction called Deathmate will re-appear to save the day – and secure Project Rising Spirit’s spot as the saviors of New York! Will her programming win out…or will the woman inside the machine seek the vengeance for which she has long yearned? In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, a new war will soon be fought…and all of America is about to bear witness!

Usually, when Jeff Lemire concludes an arc of Bloodshot Reborn, he has already given you enough of a teaser for the next arc to have you already invested, or he’s already set it up. This has the effect of the arcs never quite feeling like they’re a single continuing story rather than individual stories that interconnect. It’s a style of storytelling that encourages you to stick with the series, and for good reason, because you’re quite invested in the characters and the story.

However, with the final part of Bloodshot USA upon us, I can honestly say that we have an actual conclusion (for now) on our hands; Lemire’s delivered a comic that wraps up the Bloodshot USA story in a really satisfying manner.

I’ve said before the miniseries is essentially Valiant telling a zombie story, and like all the very best zombie stories Lemire has been able to weave some brilliant introspective moments for the characters into this series already for many of the characters, but fittingly for the fourth and final issue, we get to know Bloodshot just a little bit more. Lemire’s take on the character has been great, and the writer has really elevated the character beyond the mindless killing machine he once was.

Bloodshot USA is one of the highlights of the Bloodshot story so far, and a large part of that is this conclusion.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Doug Braithwaite Colours: Brian Reber
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Bloodshot U.S.A. #4 (of 4)

BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #4 (of 4)

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Cover A by DOUG BRAITHWAITE (OCT161973)
Cover B by CLAYTON HENRY (OCT161974)
Cover C by DAVE JOHNSON (OCT161975)
Variant Cover by ADAM POLLINA (OCT161976)
Variant Cover by MICO SUAYAN (OCT161977)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale JANUARY 25 (FOC – 1/2/17)

Liberty and judgment for all!

A weaponized virus has turned New York into a war zone…and Bloodshot is about to make his last stand for the heart and soul of every man and woman brutalized by the effects of a nanite-enhanced plague! But just when his one-man invasion of the Big Apple seems lost, the hard-coded weapon of mass destruction called Deathmate will re-appear to save the day – and secure Project Rising Spirit’s spot as the saviors of New York! Will her programming win out…or will the woman inside the machine seek the vengeance for which she has long yearned? In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, a new war will soon be fought…and all of America is about to bear witness!

The game-changing finale to Valiant’s biggest standalone event yet gets ready to rewrite the history books when New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (Death of X, Moon Knight) and superstar artist Mico Suayan (Bloodshot Reborn) bring Bloodshot and Deathmate barreling down on the city that never sleeps!

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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

the-dregs-1-9Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman/TMNT Adventures # 3 (DC Comics/ IDW Publishing) – This comic just plainly rocks! It’s the best of both worlds. I love how well the creative team has captured the spirit and feel of Batman: The Animated Series as well as keeping the Turtles timeless in their incarnation. Very pumped for the Joker/ Shredder feud. This has just been radical!!

Detective Comics #949 (DC Comics) – One more issue to go until the big 950 celebration! This book has been on such a roll though, I’m not even noticing the mile stone. Such a stark contrast to the snooze fest going on over in the regular Batman monthly title. I am loving how Kate Kane is getting the spotlight here and I’m very much looking forward to this springboarding her into the new Batwoman title next month. Finally Bruce has an ally that feels like a true equal and not one of his students. Hey, who better than family right?

Reborn # 4 (Image Comics) – This tale between Millar and Capullo is just a breath of fun. Nothing groundbreaking in terms of story or newness but it entertaining as all get out. The art is stellar as always and I could see this as an animation property. Very cool take on the entire idea of reincarnation. This won’t have a long journey but I’m sure here for the ride.

 

Shay

Top Pick: The Dregs #1 (Black Mask Studios) – A comic tackling gentrification, homeless people confined in one area and what happens when a homeless man decides to help solve the mystery of the disappearing “invisible” population of a city divided. I’m here for it !

Justice League vs Suicide Squad #6 (DC Comics) – The end of this arc could have one team destroyed or they could join forces to create the super team that we all deserve .

Hulk #2 (Marvel) – Jen is still trying to sort it all out while returning to work and it’s getting harder to control the green beast of rage within.

Suicide Squad #10 (DC Comics) – A bonus epilogue to the JL v SS comic arc finds Amanda trying to break through and reconcile the wreckage of her dark secrets.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity III: Stalinverse #2 (Valiant) – I’m like a kid in a candy store with this series; I bloody love everything about this alternate history version of the Valiant universe. To be honest, I’ve already read the comic – and it’s good – but I’m looking forward to seeing the artwork on the printed page.

Bloodshot USA #4 (Valiant) – The conclusion to Valiant’s version of a zombie story with nanomachines infecting civilians. It’s been a surprisingly strong story so far, but the only thing keeping this from my top spot is Jeff Lemire’s tendency to set up the next arc midway through a concluding chapter. Sometimes I want a self contained story…

Hulk #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was easily the best Marvel comic I’ve read in a long time.

Savage #3 (Valiant) – I could just copy what I wrote about Divinity III #2 here with some slight adjustments, but that’d be lazy (almost as lazy as not writing anything else).

 

Brett

Top Pick: Dead Inside #2 (Dark Horse) – I’m a sucker for crime comics and this murder mystery within a prison has been fascinating so far. The art is solid, writing entertaining and engaging, it’s a complete package.

Animosity: The Rise (Aftershock) – The main series is solid about animals rising up against humanity. I really want to see where this fits into all of that. A great series under the radar.

The Circle #2 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – A different take on The Craft, the first issue caught me by surprise and the second issue is even better.

Inhumans vs. X-Men #3 (Marvel) – This has been an event series that’s worked so far. The action is solid and it’s balancing a lot going on really well.

The Kamandi Challenge #1 (DC Comics) – Tons of creators taking on a classic. The first issue kicks off this week with eleven more to go.

Preview: Bloodshot U.S.A. #3

BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #3 (of 4)

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Cover A by DOUG BRAITHWAITE (OCT161973)
Cover B by RYAN BODENHEIM (OCT161974)
Cover C by DAVE JOHNSON (OCT161975)
Variant Cover by JUAN JOSE RYP (OCT161977)
Variant Cover by MICO SUAYAN (OCT161978)
Valiant Cat Cosplay Cover Also Available (OCT161976)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale DECEMBER 21 (FOC – 11/28/16)

War for the home of the brave!

New York City is in flames. From the Bronx to Broadway, panic has taken hold…and Project Rising Spirit’s latest experiment – an airborne weapons test designed to turn eight million New Yorkers into nanite-infected killers – is already paying dividends. America’s politicians have demanded action…and you can bet your bottom dollar they’re going to get it when Bloodshot and Deathmate make a last stand to defuse NYC’s very own armageddon!

The explosive standalone comics event of the fall reaches a fever pitch as New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (BLOODSHOT REBORN, Moon Knight) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS, Justice) unleash the next barrage in Bloodshot’s borough-busting battle royale!

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Review: Bloodshot USA #3

bsusa_003_cat-cosplay-coverNew York City is in flames. From the Bronx to Broadway, panic has taken hold…and Project Rising Spirit’s latest experiment – an airborne weapons test designed to turn eight million New Yorkers into nanite-infected killers – is already paying dividends. America’s politicians have demanded action…and you can bet your bottom dollar they’re going to get it when Bloodshot and Deathmate make a last stand to defuse NYC’s very own armageddon!

Up until this point Bloodshot USA has been a relatively straight forward zombie-like story with the Valiant equivalent to the zombie virus confined (for now) to the island of Manhattan. I’ve been enjoying the series so far, quite a bit actually, but this is the issue that will divide fans (or not, I suppose) on the story as a whole.

Being the anti-spoiler person I am, I’m not going to say anything more specific about said divisive moment in this review (you can probably find it after a quick google search), but it does change the direction of the miniseries quiet a bit, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The shift in direction for the story wasn’t entirely unexpected (although it does raise questions that I’ll talk about at a later date), but I felt that the Jeff Lemire scripted comic was well done. At this point when I see Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber‘s names on a cover I expect a visually stunning comic, and I was not let down in that regard.

Was Bloodshot USA #3 the finest issue in the miniseries so far? In a nutshell, yes it absolutely is. It’s a page turner from start to finish, and it’s not bloody long enough.

I need more!

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Doug Braithwaite Colours: Brian Reber
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Bloodshot USA #2

bsusa_002_cover-a_braithwaiteThere are more than eight million people in New York City. And every single one of them just became Bloodshot.

With the flip of a switch, Project Rising Spirit has just infected every man, woman, and child in New York City with a designer “nanite virus,” instantly transforming them into hard-coded killing machines. Now, block by block, the citizens of America’s greatest metropolis are falling prey to their own destructive urges…and Bloodshot is the only soldier tough enough to go head-to-head with the entire Big Apple gone bad! With the humanity of an entire city on the line, Bloodshot is waging a one-man assault on Manhattan to root out the source of this machine-made infection before it hits the heartland… but will bullets and brute force be enough to stop the spread of a pandemic deadlier than anything in human history?

Let’s call a spade a spade, and get this out the way at the beginning; this miniseries can be easily summed up in three words – Valiant Does Zombies. It’s an oversimplification of the story, and the build up that begun way back in Bloodshot Reborn #1, but at the core the nanite-zombie outbreak, and the fight for a cure, is the premise behind the comic.

Last issue saw the infection of one Valiant’s more popular characters, and the immediate impact from that is felt early in the comic with a violently frantic fight scene that spells out the danger of nanite infection better than any text heavy narration box. Once we’re past that, with a reminder of one possible way the nanite infection could be dealt with, we’re treated to a wryly humorous sequence that isn’t quite laugh out loud funny, but should elicit a smile at the very least. The sequence is a nice breather from the End Of The World vibe that the story has had up until that moment.

Jeff Lemire continues to impress with his run across the multiple Bloodshot series and stories, and while the scope of this miniseries feels huge, it’s the little moments that make this standout, and it those same moments that will have you coming back for the next issue.

Bloodshot USA #2 wasn’t a perfect issue, but it was good enough for me to tune out the world for twenty minutes, and that’s all I ever wanted in a comic.

Story: Jeff Lemire Artist: Doug Braithwaite Colours: Brian Reber
Story: 8.5 Art:9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Around the Tubes

tt_cv1_dsIt’s a new week and we’ve got lots of interviews, reviews, and more coming up! Plus, there’s Doctor Strange opening this coming weekend! While you await all of that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

CBR – Correction: Fandom is Broken – Agree? Disagree?

Vancouver Sun – Police recover stolen comic books including the rare Fantastic Four: Issue No. 1 – Good to hear these have been recovered.

The Washington Post – Online bullying may have cost the comic-book industry its next great female voice – And someone who could bring in prose readers.

France 24 – Paris attacks survivor recounts night of horror in ‘My Bataclan’ graphic novel – Didn’t know about this one at all. Could be an interesting read.

CBR – 15 Stereotype-Inspired Comic Book Characters And How They Were “Fixed” – Some interesting comic history.

ICv2 – Hot Topic Acquires Her Universe – Not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Fusion – How Doctor Strange went from being a racist Asian caricature to a magical white savior – Some good comic history.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Bloodshot U.S.A. #1

Talking Comics – Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1

Atomic Junk Shop – Don’t Look

Comic Atack – The Few and Cursed #1

Talking Comics – Serenity: No Power in the Verse #1

Talking Comics – The Skeptics #1

Talking Comics – Teen Titans #1

Talking Comics – Unleash #1

Review: Bloodshot USA #1

bsusa_001_cover-b_braithwaiteProject Rising Spirit – America’s greatest exporter of classified weapons technology – has achieved a breakthrough: a contagious, airborne nanite dispersion prototype that can turn the population of any city into an army of indestructible soldiers. A doomsday virus capable of destroying an enemy nation from the inside out.

A machine-made pathogen that can completely rewrite human physiology…and hardcode every man, woman, and child with the same cutting-edge technology that created their greatest weapon: Bloodshot.

But now…Project Rising Spirit’s top-secret contagion has been released onto the streets of America’s greatest metropolis: New York City. As mayhem engulfs Manhattan, Bloodshot must lead the most dangerous invasion ever waged on American soil and keep a runaway pandemic from toppling armies and governments…and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Bloodshot USA #1 could easily have simply been Bloodshot Reborn #19, as the four-issue miniseries spins directly from the recently concluded Bloodshot Island (which is probably one of my favourite Bloodshot arcs of recent times), but it’s well known that generally a first issue tends to sell better than a 19th issue, so why not launch a four-issue miniseries that places what essentially amounts to a zombie outbreak in Manhattan?

It’s ultimately not a bad idea; zombies are big business these days, so why not place the near unkillable Bloodshot into the midst of one?

Artistically, Bloodshot USA #1 is full of individual panels and full page that could easily be translated into a poster; the first appearance of Ninjak is able to convey that despite how deadly the group of Bloodshots are, the British ninja would have no qualms about facing off against all of them at once. There’s a slightly different aesthetic to the art than in previous issues, with Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber taking the reigns for the miniseries, which helps to distance the comic from the series it spawned from.

Jeff Lemire builds upon a lot of the groundwork laid over the 18 issues of Bloodshot Reborn, but he also provides a decent amount of exposition split between the recap page and the opening of the comic for those new to the character – something that I genuinely enjoy as a first issue should be accessible for new readers, and this one is. That being said, with this comic Lemire is very much moving his pieces into place on the board, setting up the field of play for the remaining chapters in the story; whether he’d have felt the need to do this if the arc wasn’t a miniseries is largely irrelevant – the pacing of the comic  never feels like it’s bogged down, and I’ve no doubt the story will be  stronger for it.

Bloodshot USA #1 isn’t about balls-to-the-wall action, but rather getting the reader engrossed in a zombie-style story as only Valiant can do – and that it does exceedingly well. If the publisher’s track record is anything to go by, you’ll want to pick this series up. It’s going to be bloody, brilliant, and well worth the read.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Doug Braithwaite Colours: Brian Reber
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I also purchased a copy.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

vision__12Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: The Vision #12 (Marvel) – All good things come to an end, and so bad things. The Vision isn’t a bad book, it’s a phenomenal one, but it does contain a lot of bad things. Heartbreaking things. Tom King has been a machine on this book to use that pun, and has written a fantastic modern day Shakespearean tragedy. This series was something truly special at Marvel, and everyone should see how this ends.

Seven To Eternity #2 (Image Comics) – I loved the first issue of this dark fantasy story by Remender and Opena. It set a high bar for the series and really got me excited to see where it will go next, especially with Remender’s usual gut punches and twists that he does better than anyone in the business.

Saga #39 (Image Comics) – It’s Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples creating one of the best epics we’ve seen in years.  I love this book, and it’s always at the top of my read pile. Even when there is sad moments, the series does a good job of giving you hope. You should be reading this book.

Detective Comics #943 (DC Comics) – Now that the Night of the Monster Men is over, we can get back to the focused awesome stories this book has been telling. Tynion has been so good on this book, and we still have some unanswered questions from the issue before monster men, but I doubt we get answers just yet. Either way, I love this book and what they’ve been doing with the other members of the bat family.

Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special (DC Comics) – A large sized comic with a bunch of different writers and artists dedicated to Wonder Woman? Yes please! I’ve loved the different takes on Wonder Woman and especially what Greg Rucka is doing with the character, but it is always great to get different perspectives on such an icon.

 

Alex

bsusa_001_cover-b_braithwaiteTop Pick: Bloodshot USA #1 (Valiant) – Are we surprised that I’m looking forward to a Valiant comic? We shouldn’t be. Nanite infested plague of killers? Check. A gang of Bloodshots from across the last 70 years? Check. Ninjak? Check. It’s going to be awesome.

Conan The Slayer #4 (Dark Horse) – If you’ve ever read any of Robert E. Howard’s original novels, then you’ll find a sense of familiarity in Cullen Bunn’s narrative. The art is also beautiful, atmospheric and brutal.

Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #3 (Titan Comics) – We’ve all got our mental picture of Sherlock Holmes as a brilliant, yet  socially awkward fellow. Imagine, then, what an equally brilliant and less socially awkward Holmes would be like (hint: awesome).

Moebius Library: The World Of Edena (Dark Horse) – Be prepared to experience some of the best sequential art you’re ever likely to read.

 

Brett

VIGILANTE_Cvr_colors-BTop Pick: Vigilante: Southland #1 (DC Comics) – The Vigilante is updated with a new name behind the mask and this one looks to take on some of today’s social issues. I’ve really been looking forward to this one since it was announced as it hopefully gives us a more relevant take on the classic character.

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 (Marvel) – Marvel is pushing Doctor Strange with a bunch of series now and pushing the character and the magic aspect of the Marvel Universe into its own special corner. I’m intrigued in seeing how this series stands out and what comes out of it.

The Skeptics #1 (Black Mask Studios) – It’s the 60s and the Russians have the A-bomb, the H-bomb, and a pair of superpowered young people. The US needs a weapon and get their own, except it’s all a trick. The concept sounds amazing. It’s the Cold War in DC, how can I not dig it?

Teen Titans #1 (DC Comics) – Damian leading the Teen Titans? The concept just sounds like fun in a watching a trainwreck sort of way. His attitude plus what I’d consider the Teen Titans’ positive attitude should make for some fun times. Out of all of the Rebirth titles, this one has me really excited to check out.

Transformers: Revolution #1 (IDW Publishing) – I love me some Transformers and to see them brought into a world with so many other properties is really cool. But, I want to see how their bigger world and story folds in and hopefully none of it loses momentum.

Valiant Announces Lots During Their 2016 Valiant Summit

From the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York City, Valiant Entertainment had a slew of announcements during their 2016 Valiant Summit!

After a description of Valiant’s history they company revealed the “future of Valiant” which takes place in 2016 with seven new series.

First up Jody Houser to discuss the Faith new ongoing series. The series spins out of the limited series which saw five reprintings for the first issue and received global recognition for the break through character. The series is the lead book in the initiative and that’s not a coincidence. The Valiant team feels the comic defines what the company and their line of comics is about, entertainment that you can’t get anywhere else. The first issue arrives in July!

Fred Van Lente was up next to discuss an ongoing Generation Zero series beginning in August. Francis Portella will provide art for the series. The team has been raised as weapons, so this series focuses on their figuring out what to do now they’re on their own.

The series is a new one for Valiant as it’s a team book with teen characters, led by a teen girl of color.

Writer Peter Milligan and artist Juan Jose Ryp tackle a brand new series and character in Britannia which is about “the worlds first detective.” He’s the first psychologist and detective in ancient times.

The series will take place in a world that existed by with a supernatural spin. It comes out in September.

britanniaIn October, the “biggest, brashest” series, Bloodshot USA is by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Doug Braithwaite. They see it as a treatise on violence and why we’re so obsessed with violence as a culture. The story has Project Rising Spirit dispersing nanites on the street of New York City. It features Bloodshot teaming up with a team to stop the virus from spreading and stop Project Rising Spirit who are war profiteers.

It’s a stand alone event similar to last year’s The Valiant where new readers can jump in and not need to know what has come before.

B. Clay Moore and Clayton Henry and Lewis Larosa bring a new character Savage to the Valiant Universe in November. The series starts 15 years ago as a Football player and his model wife’s airplane crashes. Now, it’s the present, and is this character their child? The series sounds like a new spin on Tarzan.

Savage Savage_1The series is about a teenager living on his own on an island.

Harbinger Renegades was announced, written by Rafer Roberts with art by Darick Robertson. It’s two years after the end of the previous series. Chris, who was sent to jail, is out and trying to put her past behind her. Peter is off to who knows where and is trying to get his mind right after the last conflict. Torque is part of the establishment and on a reality tv show. Faith is doing her thing. They come back together realizing the world is in a worse place due to their actions and now they’re trying to right things and help people.

The series will feature the four main characters from the previous team, but also a new member, Jay, who they didn’t say much about. “Mind” was mentioned as a villain they will face.

They described the main character Pete Stanchek as “Jack Kirby’s Trainspotting.” Harbinger Renegades is out in November.

In December Valiant will be releasing a new series from Matt Kindt, Divinity III: Stalinverse. The series features art by Trevor Hairsine and features the Valiant Universe if the Russians had won the Cold War. It will include “Russian” versions of the characters of the Valiant world. What longer impact will the Stalinverse have on the Valiant Universe? We’ll find out, but Kindt says there’ll be a “real impact.”

divinity_III_#3_artThe Future of Valiant begins in July.

Zeismic