Bloodshot is returning for an all-new series that is redefining the classic Valiant character. The gun-toting former assassin is back in the spotlight as a reformed family man. In BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1, writer Jeff Lemire teams up with artists Lewis Rosa and Mico Suayan for a first issue that magnificently upends everything we have come to love from Bloodshot comics.

Image courtesy of Valiant.

A Family Guy

Valiant’s premier nanite-powered rage killer has retired from the murdering game and settled down with his wife, Magic, and baby, Jessie. However, their domestic bliss is rattled by a specter from Magic’s past. It is a treat to see such a violent, brooding badass shackled by the tedium of suburban life.

Lemire’s new arc is so interesting because it presents not a physical challenge, but an emotional one for the title character. Bloodshot can riddle any enemy he has with bullets. However, he cannot shoot his way out of being a reluctant father. Overall, the idea of the hulking badass taking care of small children is not new — as Schwarzenneger’s large film catalog will prove — but here, Lemire chooses a less cartoony approach.

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Overall, Lemire keeps it interesting by adding in a number of other story elements, including a dive into an apocalyptic future. The constant volleying back and forth between stories keeps the pacing of the comic tight. There is no dead air in BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1.

Image courtesy of Valiant.

Little Girl, Big Violence

Lemire’s take on Bloodshot mirrors this year’s hit film LOGAN in many ways. As KICK-ASS and LOGAN have shown, people love young superhero daughters engaging in tremendous violence. BLOODSHOT #1 is no exception. Like LOGAN, this comic also has a lot of heart and tells a compelling story from the point of view of a father and daughter, each raging against their own nature.

Half of the issue occurs in the near future, where Magic and Jessie are running from a despotic futuristic regime where they must evade dangerous assassins. Luckily, Jessie has inherited her father’s superpowers. The majority of this comic is a montage of violent, on-the-run action where a child is pushed to the brink. Although we don’t see much of the villains or even any other characters in this book, the two leads are compelling enough to carry the story.

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In BLOODSHOT SALVATION#1, Lemire balances both halves of Jessie’s nature in order to form her into a fresh and compelling protagonist. Although she is the spitting image of her father — complete with his powers — she does not share the same penchant towards mayhem. Overall, Lemire provides a nice dichotomy between her two sides. By shifting the timeline back and forth, this book allows the audience to see how different father and daughter are. While they may look the same, they handle violence very differently.

Image courtesy of Valiant.

Looking Ahead and Behind

By far, the most interesting aspect of this book is the changing art styles. This comic is split between the futuristic world of adolescent Jessie, drawn by Suayan, and the present time, drawn by LaRosa. Just like Lemire’s story structure, these shifting art styles serve to really juxtapose the differences between father and daughter.

First, Suayan’s art style is gritty, dark, and realistic. Every image contains a huge amount of detail which envelops the reader. Suayan steeps every object and figure in texture and patterns which swarm around the page. There is an etched, chaotic feel that makes this futuristic hellscape feel disjointed and ragged.

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Unlike Suayan’s art, LaRosa’s style is light and airy. In order to depict the more idyllic present, LaRose utilizes thick brushstrokes and a cloudy, painted style. As a result, there is a Norman Rockwellian, Middle American vibe to these scenes. As LaRosa embraces warm, fuzzy outlines the reader comes to feel at home and safe in this portion of the book.

Together, these two visual pallets feed off of each other and hammer in just how much the Bloodshot family’s life has been shaken up by recent events. The squeaky clean family imagery is constantly being undercut by the savage, futuristic wastelands. Furthermore, this contrast makes for an engaging read that constantly keeps you on your toes.

Image courtesy of Valiant.

Final Thoughts on BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1

Overall, BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 is refreshing both in its story structure and visuals. There is a beautiful symmetry to this issue. Hopefully, Valiant will be able to continue this artful ping-ponging in future installments and add even more disparate elements in. Ultimately, experimentation is what will set this series apart from its more standard contemporaries.

BlOODSHOT SALVATION #1 will be available September 20th, 2017. You can pre-order it here!

BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 by Jeff Lemire, Lewis Rosa, and Mico Suayan
BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 is a visually and narratively experimental take on a classic character that succeeds in both respects.
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Father-Daughter Dance

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