The third title in Valiant’s comeback has been out less than a week, but Bloodshot is already making some waves with its explosive entry back into the comic book fray. But has the new first issue of this gun-toting title lived up to the hype, or is it just a bunch of overly spoken potential of anticipation and not so much the book’s content? Let me put it this way…
Bloodshot started off with a typical stage-setting round of dialogue, providing the reader with an idea of this highly regarded soldier by the name of Ray Garrison…wait, isn’t it Angelo Mortalli? The truth is, not even he knows what his true name is. Whether intended or not, Bloodshot seems to be strongly influenced by the ever popular sci-fi film Total Recall. Except in this case, it was no recreational visit that earned this super assassin his serious case of Sybil. He is a tool of the military and a very dangerous one at that. When his talents on the battlefield truly manifest themselves, the soldier known as Bloodshot is virtually unstoppable thanks to his enhanced abilities courtesy of the nanites that litter his body. Those increased attributes aren’t only his ability to lay waste with conventional firearms, but also the ability to recover from any injury or wound, no matter how severe.
Issue #1 comes to us written by Duane Swierczynski, whose numerous accolades include everything from editor of Men’s Health to writer of the novel Severance Package. He’s no stranger to comics though, as he’s penned the stories for many popular titles such as Marvel’s X-Men, Iron Fist and Moon Knight as well as DC’s Birds of Prey. There are a lot of blanks to fill in from this premier issue and one would assume they’ll be filled in all in good time. It was slightly head-scratching at times trying to keep up with the sudden jumps in action and story. Some may be put off by this, though I found the issue enticing enough to approach issue 2 when that hits store racks in another month or so.
The artwork is a mixed bag here, but only in a couple ways, and is dually contributed by Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi. It starts off with the typical and enjoyable hand-drawn appearance, only to switch to a very obvious computer-modified look. Graphics just become way too smooth and unrealistic in texture. Things tend to become grounded once again and it is actually only a few panels that come across too artificial, but the brief change in visual flavor is enough to cause an interruptive hiccup in the flow of art.
With a turn of the final page, I was ready for the follow-up issue. Despite the slight bit of confusion in story, I think it is far more preferrable over a story that unloads a salvo in its first issue and has trouble picking it up down the road. There’s definitely enough going on in Bloodshot #1 to make readers take a second look, but not so much where the plot is revealed prematurely. Kudos to the team for a job well done. Is it better than Harbinger‘s debut? Without a doubt. Is it better than that of X-O Manowar? It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other as that seemed to make development and background a higher priority in its first issue. On the other hand, Bloodshot offers more mystery and unclear though developing turmoil. Dropping $3.99 on this title is a no-brainer. Next up, Archer & Armstrong.