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Bloodshot, Volume 1: Setting The World On Fire Paperback – March 12, 2013
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This trade begins with our hero seemingly on a rescue mission for the military into Afghanistan… except for the small fact that everything he was told about this mission is a lie. Not only that, but everything he believes about himself… also a lie. And after a glimpse of the truth is revealed to Bloodshot, well, let’s just say his real employers are none too anxious to have him out of their control, and resolve to bring him back in pieces if need be. The ultimate soldier is about to become the ultimate quarry.
This is, by far, the most brutal books of the Valiant line. There is no fear here in showing the amount of violence that Bloodshot can withstand… something that truly sets this comic apart from others on the stands. The character is a walking engine of destruction, and Valiant is pulling no punches here. They have done an expert job of mixing in characters, themes, and plot devices from the previous two incarnations of Bloodshot, but that is where the similarities end. As with all their comics, Valiant is playing the long game. Do not expect a tidy resolution to the story at the end of this tpb, rather, expect to get sucked into an ongoing story that will continue into the next couple of tpbs and expand into other Valiant comics, as well. Here’s a little tip... do yourself a favor and pickup Valiant’s Harbinger series alongside Bloodshot. It will become obvious in due time…
Like my other reviews, let's do a little backstory. My first experience with bloodshot was the Rai #0 issue from Nov. 1992, however I didn't get to read it until the Rai TPB which reprinted it. Here we see an unnamed man on life support being released by a young boy from a facility that he has snuck into, this man awakes and kills his captors and escapes the facility. An interesting, albeit unoriginal beginning, however what did differ was this boy was a Geomancer, and this man called Bloodshot has tiny machines in his blood, nanomachines to be precise that can control computers, heal him and control his physiology to allow him to perform superhuman feats of skill and strength. Also in this issue you see that this man was a lynchpin to the Valiant universe from the time in the present to the year 4001. A few months later in Feb 1993, this mystery man known as bloodshot would debut in his own self-titled book to great acclaim and prominence in the valiant universe and become one of the most recognized and favorite characters from the young comics company. He is also one of the few characters to come out of the Birthquake shake up of the original valiant run with the same writer and two of the best artists in the industry at the time, the only problem with the book was the ending which was a cliffhanger, but which had a story that was quite convoluted with a nano-virus and nano-infants, the less said the better.
Now to the 2012 reboot of the character, we find Bloodshot in similar situation as we originally encoutered him being originally. Only this time no Geomancer, and this is no story about him being the lynchpin (as of yet) to this new universe. This brings us back to the title of the review, this Bloodshot seems to be a man who doesn't know who he is and for good reason as he's brain has been tampered with and reprogramed many times over, so it's no surprise he doesn't know who he is. One thing to note, this isn't the old Bloodshot, this one contains scenes of violence a bit more graphic than the original book (which I am re-reading right now) which was quite graphic for its time as well. But don't let that be a deterrant as this is actually a very well crafted story, which is quite the page turner as well.
The creative team of Duane Swierczynski the author with Manuel Garcia & Arturo Lozzi on art duties make for a good combination of talent, while I am unfamiliar with their past work, they do a more than serviceable job with the title moving the story along, crafting very graphic scenes of violence and mayhem, but not gratiously. With this new change in the title since Bloodshot himself gets seriously wounded (walking away from a crash) and getting shot up quite often and seeing the limits of his powers to re-constitute himself from even the most greivous injuries and that the nanites in his blood are different too, not the innoculous little machines that did their job in the original book, now they are an actual character and speak to him in various forms. The small supporting cast is made up of two female characters one a EMT who happens to be a war veteran (and pretty good with a gun too) and the other a helpless girl controlled by the same forces that want to control Bloodshot (and shockingly has a past with him too). He actually has two parties out for him that want to use him as a weapon or destroy him so no one can have him and are tied pretty heavy into the lore as well.
While not a cannot-put-down page turner like Harbinger Vol. 1, I did read it in two or three sessions. Bloodshot Vol. 1 is a very strong entry into the new Valiant Universe, and like Archer & Armstrong makes me want to see what's coming next. While I will be missing some of the touches that Kevin Van Hook and Don Perlin did with the original run from 1993, and also will miss the relationships Bloodshot had in that book (with Gilead, Ninjak, Neville and MI 6) it will be interesting to see where this book goes and the cast of characters this Bloodshot will interact with. The new Bloodshot succeeds very well without those things and I beleive will work just as well on concept alone with a brand new story to back it up.
I give it four stars of out five as another strong entry into the new VEI line and look forward to seeing where the creators go next with this man who is just trying to figure out who he is. Give it a shot, you'll have a great ride. More to come, with X-O Manowar Vol. 2, Valiant Masters Bloodshot (reading now) and the just released Shadowman Vol. 1 (coming soon).
This version of Bloodshot has most of the same abilities/powers and the version created by Valiant back in the early '90's, but his one has some pretty severe mental issues. First and foremost of these is that he doesn't know who he is or which of his memories are real and which ones are fake. Sound a little familiar? well, if it worked for Wolverine, it's probably going to work for other characters, too, right?
This Bloodshot is a secret operative of the US government, but that is all about to change. How many times can one man's mind and body be shredded and put back together before he either goes crazy or stops trusting anyone? You're about to find out!
With loads of action, good artwork and some decent story-telling, this book is off to a promising start!
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And here I thought Harbinger was dark. This is probably the darkest Valiant comic I've read. What a concept.Read more