Sunday, August 12, 2012

Advance Review: Bloodshot #2

Bloodshot #2
"Get Your Gun"
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artists: Manuel Garcia & Arturo Lozzi
August 15, 2012

What an insanely good issue. Sure, I was expecting to like Bloodshot, having read and enjoyed issues of the original series, but this reboot is a nanite-powered kick to the face, and my favourite new series in the Valiant universe.

Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi's art in this issue is exactly what it needs to be, fast, visceral, gory, and innovative, with a mixture of perspective throughout that always keeps the book as interesting visually as the story is mind-bending. The action flows seamlessly throughout this issue, without pause until we get two key scenes, one from Bloodshot's former masters at Project Rising Spirit, and another scene with the rebel factor of Dr. Kuretich that reveals some crucial information about the kind of secrets that Bloodshot is carrying around in his poor, messed-up head.

We learn a lot more about the needs and limitations of the nanites coursing through Bloodshot's veins in this issue, including what happens when the "Goldies," as they're called, get hungry. Perhaps more importantly, for readers concerned that Bloodshot was functionally immortal and could never be killed, therefore removing any sense of danger from the story, we learn that total decapitation and exhaustion from too much abuse on the nanite system might do the trick.

Bloodshot is a trained killer, and in this issue it really shows. He doesn't fuck around. He kills quickly and with brutal efficiency. This issue opens with a jaw-dropping fight scene where Bloodshot takes on a group of attackers while bare ass nude, and the scene emphasizes his combat training while also showing the character struggle against his own inhumanity. Bloodshot is seriously injured several times during the fight, but he keeps fighting on through the pain, egged on by false memories programmed to act as "psychic anaesthesia."

More so than in the original series, Bloodshot is a ghoulish science experiment wanting desperately to be a real person, and leaving nothing but utter carnage in his wake, making him much more of a sympathetic and tragic character. This is especially the case after it's revealed that he has unwittingly committed atrocities for Project Rising Spirit, including the slaughter of an entire city after PRS' experiments led to a disastrous "Grey Goo" incident, hinted at on the inside cover of the first issue.

Duane Swierczynski has managed to tell a story that seriously examines the psychological implications of being used as a immortal killing machine/meat shield by a government organization, without sacrificing any of the story's action for the sake of storytelling. I was hoping that this new take on the character would invest time in depicting exactly what it means to be a "person" like Bloodshot, and in that regard, this series has not disappointed so far.

For reasons that are unlike why I am also enjoying Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and even Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot is my favourite ongoing Valiant title. After just two issues in, this fast-paced series is shaping up to become one of my favorite monthly titles, period.

If you were unimpressed with the first issue of this series, or just wasn't sure about whether or not you wanted to read this book because of your impression of the character or the story, please give this title another look.

If all you remember about Bloodshot is that he was another bad-ass character from the 90s with "Blood" in his name like Youngblood, Bloodstrike, et al, forget everything you think you know about the character and read these first two issues.


  1. I never read the original Valiant series from the 90s, but from what I hear this relaunch has been great.

    By the wat, I'm talking about July's comic books here:

    Feel free to stop by and leave a comment.


  2. The Valiant relaunch has been FANTASTIC. Every month I get more and more excited for these books to come out and care less and less about what the Big 2 are offering.

    From the looks of your blog it seems we have similar taste in comics.

    Let me ask you a question, is Zak Penn's Hero Worship series related to Grant Morrison's Zenith for 2000AD? It sounds very similar, both in terms of the character's name as well as Zenith being a celebrity superhero (though if I can remember correctly, in Morrison's comic he was famous for being a rock star).

    Also, I've added your blog to our list on the sidebar.

    1. Yes, I know what you mean, in the past Marvel and DC had it all. Nowadays, though, you can easily find a lot of great comic books outside the big two.

      Avatar's Zenith is different from Morrison's Zenith, although besides the name there are a couple of things in common. And yes, in 2000AD Zenith was a very successful rock star.

  3. Hmm cool! I haven't picked up any Avatar titles in a while, but if I have some extra money in my budget I'll have to check it out.

  4. Very nice review. I remember as a kid seeing the Valiant comics and kind of turning my nose up at them. Still, glad to hear that the relaunch has been good. It's really a golden age for comics, with better writers who are getting more leeway than ever before.

    1. As far as quality goes, I'd agree that yes we're definitely living in good times, but I'd hesitate to call it a golden age given all the challenges facing the comic book industry at large.

      I think it's more accurate to call it a transition period, especially as the traditional distribution model of comics continues to move into the digital marketplace.

      I digress, these new Valiant comics are great and I'd definitely urge you to give these a try, at least for one or two issues. They've really started to hit their stride and the quality of the creative teams output has been improving steadily.