Your name is Angelo Mortalli. Your brother is trapped behind enemy lines and on the verge of — no. That’s not right. Your name is Raymond Garrison. You’ve retired from the dangers of the field, but a desperate plea from your oldest friend plunges you into a vicious firefight that — no. That’s not right, either. You are Bloodshot. You are the shade of gray that freedom requires. The perfect confluence of military necessity and cutting-edge technology. A walking WikiLeaks that is a reservoir of dirty secrets that could set the world on fire. And you’ve just been captured.
All eyes are on the new Bloodshot live-action film featuring Vin Diesel and if you ask anyone the first comics to dive into to see why there is such a surge in global popularity for the character, Bloodshot #1 from 2012 will undoubtedly be the answer. After just one issue it’s easy to see why the series inspired a feature film and cemented itself as one of the best stories in the acclaimed relaunch of Valiant that same year.
It’s damn good.
The concept is actually quite simple. Project Rising Spirit with the use of Nanites, have created Bloodshot and control his every memory, molding him into a near-perfect soldier who can be memory-wiped for a clean slate for each new mission. Valiant and the entire creative team is smart to provide a strong foundation in this first issue, laying out everything from his new origins to even an info-graphic detailing the Advanced Nanite Capability Overview which describes medical and military applications, possible dangers and more. It’s everything you need all packed into one issue to get a fundamental understand of who this character is and the struggles that lie ahead.
The emotional and physical manipulation that Bloodshot, now named Ray Garrison, endures pulls you into the story immediately. It’s one thing to have a strong concept, but it’s something else entirely to execute well and Bloodshot #1 pulls it off remarkably well. From the first few pages setting up the bold faced lie that is his entire life to the brutal and explosive rollercoaster that Bloodshot is caught up in hunting targets inserted into his memories, it’s an issue that is both tragic and thrilling. In this sincerity, the issue allows everything else to succeed.
Treating Bloodshot as a big-budget action flick is a surefire way to pull out a lot of great elements in the character. Travelling to multiple international locations, violent firefights and of course, explosions, naturally work well. But this puts a lot of weight on the artwork to pull off such a stunning scope with every issue. In Bloodshot #1 it’s difficult to not be impressed with the visuals. There are great moments of dialogue and action, but seeing Bloodshot literally blown to pieces and ripped apart by machine guns will stick with you. It’s the exact type of iconic imagery that inspires badass live-action movies in Hollywood.
Bloodshot #1 is an example of taking the action-superhero genre in comics to the absolute extreme. It’s what you want out of a first issue and it came at a time that arguably couldn’t have been more important for Valiant in 2012, fresh off the new line-wide reboot. It helped to set the trend of accessibility with a strong connection to the larger universe and a bar of excellence that is difficult to top.
As we look to the future for Valiant and the rise of their cinematic presence, it’s fitting that Bloodshot will be leading the charge. It’s an exciting time to be a Valiant fan and while there are sure to be a lot of people watching the new movie, Bloodshot #1 undeniably stands as a testament to the power that high-quality storytelling holds.
Bloodshot #1 is an example of a series taking the action-superhero genre in comics to the absolute extreme. It's exactly what you want out of a first issue!
SUNDAY CLASSICS: Bloodshot #1 (2012): No Ordinary Soldier
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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