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Bloodshot Reborn, Vol. 1: Colorado & The Sandman, Vol 3: Dream Country


By Jeff Lemire (Author), Mico Suayan and Raul Allen (Illustrators) Valiant Entertainment (Publisher)

Who is Bloodshot? He’s the perfect killing machine, created by a secret government program to be a “Manchurian Candidate”-like weapon, fused with self-healing nanites and absent any independent thoughts or feelings. But that was before. Today, the man once known as Bloodshot is living as Ray Garrison in Colorado, trying to escape his haunted past, until a series of brutal public murders that all have one thing in common: the killer resembles Bloodshot. Now Ray must return to the dark past he had been trying desperately to run from. Bloodshot Reborn is one part sci-fi thriller, one part action horror, written with a sense of darkness by Jeff Lemire, who, as shown by his work on The Nobody, Sweet Tooth and Justice League Dark, is no stranger to unsettling stories. Pulling tragic events from the headlines and blending them with the rules of the Valiant Universe makes this book both disturbing and engaging. Helping Lemire is artist Mico Suayan, whose realistic yet atmospheric style adds even more danger, horror, and drama to a book already packed with it. The final chapter of the book is a treat, as Ray takes a trip through his subconscious in a surreal yet beautiful story with art by Raul Allen, whose simple line work and bold colors work as a wonderful contrast to the previous chapters. For anyone looking to try a smart action book with an edge, Bloodshot Reborn, Vol.1: Colorado is a book that will delight and disturb.


By Neil Gaiman (Author), Kelly Jones, Charles Vess and Malcolm Jones III (Illustrators) DC Comics/Vertigo (Publisher)

Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece, The Sandman, first appeared as a monthly comic book, in a 76-issue run published over six years. The overarching story of Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, was told in arcs, six- to nine-issue episodes, all of which have since been collected into graphic novels. But between episodes, like sorbet between courses at a great banquet, came the short stories. The done-in-one-issue short stories are polished gems, in context but out of the continuity, with the first four collected in Dream Country. In “Calliope,” a hack writer imprisons and abuses the titular muse. Forcing inspiration from her brings him fame and fortune. Calliope had, in her past, been the lover of Oneiros, the Shaper, through whose intervention the writer learns the horrors of too much inspiration. We learn whether cats dream when we meet the feline Dream Lord in “A Dream of a Thousand Cats.” Morpheus steps aside in “Façade,” a story featuring Dream’s sister, Death, perhaps the most popular of all the characters created by Gaiman. The treasure of this collection is “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” in which the young playwright William Shakespeare leads his company of players into the country for the premiere performance of his newest play before a most unusual audience. Auberon, Titania, Puck and other denizens of Faerie view themselves portrayed on stage in the play Morpheus has inspired. The story, beautifully illustrated by noted fantasy artist Charles Vess, wonderfully weaves together Shakespeare’s play, the reactions of the astonished players and the delight of an enthralled audience. And for those who know the Bard’s personal history, the story subtly discloses the terrible price of the Dream Lord’s inspiration. “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” won the 1991 World Fantasy Award. The Dream Country collection includes a bonus: Gaiman’s script for “Calliope,” annotated by the author and the artist, Malcolm Jones III.

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