Any long time reader of this series would have had deja vu with this issue, and for good reason. But when you reflect on exactly why, it works to the story’s advantage in the penultimate issue of Jeff Lemire’s Bloodshot run.
Lemire, Doug Braithwaite, Jordie Bellaire, and Simon Bowland are all putting in their best work as the web that’s been woven all comes together here in Bloodshot Salvation #11. This issue puts all the pieces together for a conclusion that feels earned in all the best ways. All the elements of Lemire’s run to date, starting back with Bloodshot Reborn #1, are brought back into play in some way, and that’s great.
In the present day, Omen is coming for Magic and Jesse. Rampage is able to track them down, and is stopped by the past Bloodshots. Meanwhile in 4002 AD, Ray is led to his target. It’s an ordinary sanitation worker. The dark spirit that’s possessed Bloodhound tells him that the man will one day become a magical being that will challenge Baron Samedi. Ray finds himself face to face with the nanite being that he eventually evolves into, as well as Jesse and Magic, thanks to Punk Mambo, leading him to a heartbreaking decision…
Lemire gives us an absolutely wonderful story here. With Magic and Jesse, he calls back to the first few issues of the series (with some scenes lifted directly from those issues). It ties the series together wonderfully. He writes the relationship between them so well as well. Jesse feels like a real little girl, a mark which too many are unable to really hit well.
Meanwhile, Ray’s predicament is just fantastic. He’s given a classic moral quandary, and it’s depicted so well. Everything about the situation gives him pause, until he finds himself face to face with the woman he loves and misses so dearly. When Ray makes up his mind about what he’ll do, Lemire gives us an excellent twist that made me gasp. It sets up a perfect conflict for the conclusion of the series, which I’m on pins and needles for.
Braithwaite is such a great character artist. He breathes such life into each figure. Ray’s storyline is almost entirely devoid of action, but the entire moral debate in his head is made so tense and riveting. It’s cinematic in a much different way than the phrase is usually used in comics- more like a well paced thriller than a bombastic action movie.
Meanwhile for Jesse and Magic, it IS a bombastic action movie. Jesse takes out a squad of Omen troopers nearly single handedly, and it looks AMAZING. The fight with Rampage is equally exciting, and in very different ways.
It’s clear why Jordie is considered one of the best color artists in the biz. She takes the action up to a whole new level. Each scene is given so much more depth and life thanks to her.
This is such a great run of comics that you should be reading, and the climax of it all is out next month. You shouldn’t miss it.
Bloodshot Salvation #11 is currently in shops from Valiant Entertainment.