Beginning with January's Bloodshot Reborn #10 in January, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Lewis Larosa will take readers into the future where the man-machine finds himself a relic amongst newer and even more dangerous technologies.
This new prestige format looks to not only deliver a new story for long-time fans, but also create another jumping on point for newer readers unfamiliar with the killing machine-gone hero in a story line that will feel familiar to fans of the post-apocalyptic worlds of Mad Max.
Newsarama talked to Jeff Lemire about this arc, and what prompted him to move his character in this direction with Bloodshot.
Newsarama: Jeff, you’ve mentioned that in spite of the “Analog Man” arc having a sort of Mad Max vibe to it, the story is actually more inspired from your trip to a monster truck rally. What was it about this rally that inspired “The Analog Man” story?
Jeff Lemire: Honestly, it’s not a very deep reason. I took my 6-year old to see the monster truck rally and he freaked out. He loved it so much. And it just sparked in my head…”Yeah, Bloodshot in a Monster Truck. That will work.”
From there, you start to build an actual story that not only furthers what I’ve already done in Bloodshot Reborn, but also new places I want to take the character. And of course Mad Max is a huge inspiration as well. Ironically I wrote the whole “Analog Man” story long before I’d seen Mad Max: Fury Road though.
Nrama: From preview pages of “The Analog Man” already released, the story does seem to indicate that the Valiant Universe is reverting back to an era of walled-off city states with vast wastelands stretching between. What sort of territory does this create for you as a storyteller?
Lemire: Anyone who read Sweet Tooth or Descender knows that I like telling stories with extreme settings that push characters to their limits, and I think “Analog Man” fits into this. It’s taking everything I built up in the “Colorado” storyline and then turning it up to 11.
Nrama: What are some of your favorite stories (any medium) that make use of similar landscapes? Is there any particular reason these these stand out to you as a writer?
Lemire: Mad Max was definitely in the back of my brain. I was also looking at “The Analog Man” as an opportunity to do Valiant’s version of Kingdom Come or Dark Knight Returns. It’s a chance to see a future version, not only of Bloodshot, but of the entire Valiant Universe. But I don’t just want to ape those stories, by any means. I want “The Analog Man” to be a story that is unique to Bloodshot and Valiant.
Nrama: As I understand it, there’s a new sort of nano-technology that leaves Bloodshot’s nanites in the dust. What does this new technology give to its users that Bloodshot does not have access to?
Lemire: Sorry, I can’t reveal that yet!
Nrama: Okay, fair enough. I had to ask though!
Within this bleak new world, Bloodshot is now known as the “Analog Man.” Where does he gain this new moniker?
Lemire: The story nor the characters actually refer to Bloodshot by that name. It’s just the arc title. But it refers to your previous question…Bloodshot was once the perfect melding of technology and man, and now he’s obsolete.
Nrama: For a killing machine, Bloodshot gains a new role in the future as a peaceful protector. But, course, we all know that Batman never stays retired, X-Men never achieve racial harmony, and anti-heroes like Bloodshot can never get the quiet happy ending. What can you tell us about the upcoming conflicts with this “Analog Man” story arc?
Lemire: Bloodshot is drawn into an adventure that pits him against the Shadowmen, a gang of monster truck driving mad men that have appropriated the likeness of Jack Boniface, Valiant’s Shadowman. But there is someone helping the Shadowmen, a puppet master, who’s secret identity will turn Bloodshot’s world inside-out.
Nrama: Lewis Larosa is illustrating this arc. What do you think he’s bringing to the series that will catch readers’ attention?
Lemire: It’s hard to put into words. Quite simply, it’s some of the most stunning artwork that has been in any comic I’ve ever worked on. It is absolutely stunning stuff. It will floor people.
Nrama: Now that you’re celebrating your one-year anniversary with Valiant, what’s next in the year ahead?
Lemire: I’ll give you three huge teasers for what’s to come in Bloodshot: Island, War, Sleepaway Camp.