Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Mico Suayan, Lewis LaRosa, Brian Reber
Release Date: 20th September 2017
So how is Jeff Lemire going to top Bloodshot Reborn and Bloodshot USA? Bloodshot Salvation is the answer, a story spreading over three ‘books,’ the first being this one – The Book of Salvation. Valiant has been teasing this hard, as has Lewis La Rosa on Twitter. And, if you’re a Bloodshot fan, this couldn’t happen quick enough. So relax people, it’s here, and it’s an enticing start.
Time has passed since the events of Bloodshot USA and Bloodshot has been retired by Ray. He’s trying to live his life now (as Ray), with Magic, Bloodhound, and Jessie, their new baby daughter. What could go wrong, right? The picture postcard existence isn’t meant to last though, and Ray knows it. He feels it, and his fear is realised when he catches the tail end of a call between Magic and someone. Magic, clearly upset, tries to fob the call off as telemarketing, but Ray can’t shake it. With Magic in another room in the house he uses the nanites to return the call. By doing this Ray crosses a line, and when he finds out who is the other caller is, so has Magic. Ray has defied Magic by using Bloodshot again, and Magic is exposed in a lie she has told Ray. Magic, using Jessie, makes Ray promise never to use Bloodshot again, but we know it’s a promise Ray will break. This clever little moment is the catalyst that kind of starts this whole story.
With the addition of Jessie, Lemire has put Ray in an impossible position again. Salvation runs on two timelines – before Ray’s disappearance, and after Ray’s disappearance. Someone at Valiant noticed having two artists on two timelines worked well on Savage, and that logic is applied to here with two outstanding contributors from Mico Suayan and Lewis LaRosa. Lewis drawing the timeline before Ray goes missing, and Mico after with Magic and Jessie on the run. These are the two best Bloodshot artists in the Valiant roster. As a fan, it’s a bit of a wet dream having them work on one title at the same time, and they both deliver in spades here.
It’s fun comparing the two. There are two headshots, for example. Both are delicious in their execution, but in this case, I think Mico edges it. I love how Lewis plays with the duality of Ray and Bloodshot, he delivers with one of his double pose frames in this episode. Mico is a devil with the details, his precise hand works an excellent action sequence. Lewis is more relaxed in his work, but everything about his Bloodshot screams out repressed power (I love his Bloodhound). Having both artists coloured by another Bloodshot old hand – Brian Reber – is really cool for a comics fan. Using the same colour palette applied to different drawing styles in one volume is interesting. It showcases just how much line art can influence colour art. Uh, I think I’m geeking out a little too much now, so I’ll stop. Needless to say, I love this art team together on the same project.
It’s fair to say that this new start in the chronicles of Bloodshot does indeed feel like a new chapter, not simply a re-treading of old ground. It’s very much an evolution of the story. With Colorado, Ray was trying to come to terms with being Ray and mourning the loss of Bloodshot. At the beginning of this story Ray has reconciled with Bloodshot, but may have to use him to save his family, and by doing so breaks his promise to Magic. It’s the promise that humanises him, so the tragedy of this is that Ray will never have the normal life he craves. At least, that’s how it seems after reading issue one.
There is a definite familial theme in this new run, something that hadn’t been looked at before and I think it has legs. Oh, and if you’ve kept an eye on the solicitations, Bloodshot has a new big bad this time round – Rampage. He says hello in style. Honestly folks, it’s great to have Bloodshot back.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.