Though Valiant Entertainment revived less than a year ago, their five core series (X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong, and Shadowman) have all received critical acclaim. With very affordable trade paperbacks now on the shelves for most of these series, I’ve started reading more of Valiant’s work. This week I decided to tackle the first volume of Bloodshot, a hardcore military action story. Did I agree with the positive reviews this series has received since its launch in Summer 2012?
Bloodshot Volume 1: Setting the World on Fire follows Bloodshot, an operative of the clandestine paramilitary organization known as Project Rising Spirit. Dispatched on deadly mission after deadly mission, Bloodshot survives grievous wounds thanks to the nanites implanted in his body which not only foster improved resistance to damage and a rapid healing factor, but also give him quick reflexes, strength, and keen eyes to make him a superb marksman. Project Rising Spirit, however, is merely using Bloodshot as a pawn, planting images in his head of multiple fake home lives in order to motivate him towards horrible things. Unsure of his purpose or past, Bloodshot rebels and hopes to find out the truth.
Writer Duane Swiercyznski brings Bloodshot to life. Honestly, the writing is a mixed bag. The dialogue ranges from good to mediocre. The plot, while interesting, sets up too many threads early on and none of them are resolved by the end of this volume; obviously, a good comic should have a large overall arc, but I wish Swiercyznski decided to focus on one or two instead of throwing so many out in the first four issues. There also is a moment of inconsistency I disliked, where a character whose powers ostensibly worked only on machines managed to use them on a normal human soldier. That said, the comic’s high octane action is lots of fun, and the story gets better as issues progress.
Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi comprise the pencilling team for Bloodshot. While the writing is a mixed bag, the art is great. The characters look realistic and even the background characters are given distinctly different appearances. As expected of a comic like this, the action scenes are totally over the top and amazing. The coloring and inking is fairly good as well, using bright shades to stand out among the shadows of this realistically-oriented palette.
Bloodshot Volume 1: Setting the World on Fire is honestly the weakest of the new Valiant titles I’ve checked out, but given the high quality of the others that’s not surprising. I still think this is a good comic, though still weaker than the likes of X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and Shadowman. If you like no-holds-barred military action with a touch of crazy technology, Bloodshot is for you.
-superb art: the humans look realistic and the battles are exciting
-technology behind Bloodshot’s abilities is unique in comics and explained fairly well
-story somewhat jumbled and little resolved in this volume
-one character’s power set is somewhat inconsistent
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. He wonders if Bloodshot, Deadshot, and Bullseye hang out and drink beer after work.
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