This annual was something that I never expected. If you think Bloodshot Reborn and look at the introduction page, the reader immediately thinks that it is an issue filled with previously classified missions of a serious nature. This annual is far from that and we get to see Bloodshot unlike we ever have before.
This 64 page annual contains four stories, each with their own writer and artist. These stories have nothing to do with the current Bloodshot Reborn Storyline. In the first story, we are treated to a Freddy vs Jason-like spectacle and Bloodshot finds himself going head to head with the Silver Lake Slayer Jacob. Jacob has been responsible for the deaths of many children at the Silver Lake camp site and as a result, Project Rising Sun has asked Bloodshot to take care of the threat. However, all is not as it seems. Look out for the epic “Breaking Bat” moment!
Story two is Valiant’s attempt at doing something Deadpool-like by introducing Bloodsquirt. This is a brightly coloured fun-filled adventure that stars a Chibi-like version of Bloodshot. He looks like a mixture of a Pip-Boy and an Archie character. Nevertheless, he is a killing machine, however, he has come face to face with another archetype mash-up character… The Anti-Beyonditor, a creature that consumes worlds. It is like Galactus and the Anti-Monitor had a love child or something. After being swallowed by The Anti-Beyonditor, Bloodsquirt finds out about his origins, that he is from an alternate Earth that was run by the Squirt. Expect lots of references and cameos, even from the writers themselves!
The Third Story focuses on Jacob – yes, the Jacob that was the enemy in the first issue. We get to learn more about him and the tortures that he suffers in his daily life. The art in this one is very hazy and abstract giving a feeling of horror – the horror of being lost to the world. This is a different and challenging story. It has a serious tone and it creates a strong contrast to the other stories in this book, making it a memorable read.
The final story is focused on Bloodshot once more as he deals with a cult obsessed with his Nanites. You are taken on a trip down memory lane as this book looks like the Bloodshot of the 90’s, thanks to its art and colouring. This is a techo-trip filled with psychedelic colours that give it a real sci-fi feel. This is definitely something different if you are new to the character and his latest Valiant re-incarnation.
All in all, the annual is a solid offering, but it is not what one is expecting to receive. It has a great look and showcases lots of talent but some of us want to see what Bloodshot does best; some of us miss the days where Bloodshot was a stone cold killing machine, the type of monster that the Boogeyman looks under his bed for. An annual with some serious and violent missions would have been great to read as well. Prepare for the unexpected when grabbing this title.