Publisher: Valiant | Writer: Duane Swierczynski | Pencils: Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi | Inks: Stefano Gaudiano | Colors: Ian Hannin | Letters: Rob Steen
Valiant comics has made a memorable splash with their self-proclaimed Summer of Valiant, and so far I love what I see. Valiant was a strong comics publisher in the 1990s, but after being purchased by the soon-to-be bankrupt Acclaim, the characters and stories found themselves languishing in intellectual property purgatory. Eventually a pair of Valiant super-fans purchased the ashes of the company and in 2005 they began the long process of hatching the phoenix that is the modern Valiant.
Bloodshot is one of those forged-in-fire titles that is poised to be among my must-have monthly books. Bloodshot tells the story of a soldier whose blood swarms with nanites. These microscopic robots transform Bloodshot into a Jason Bourne-like super agent with rapid healing abilities and embedded audio and visual communication links to his handlers. As Bloodshot #1 opens, we find our main character being brought back into a clandestine military unit – one which he presumes to have left – for one last mission rescuing an old friend.
We won’t give away the plot, but we find out early on that Project Rising Spirit has been leveraging false memories to compel Bloodshot to do their bidding, relying on the strong emotional connections from those implanted memories to drive Bloodshot to success. Things go wrong on that rescue mission, and we see the first death of Bloodshot when he is hit by a missile. The man is basically bacon when brought back to the enemy’s base, where see his first nanite-fueled regeneration. The story takes an exciting twist and we feel the confusion as Bloodshot’s world falls apart.
The artwork in Bloodshot is fantastic, and the writing feels like the perfect modernization of the legacy storyline. We give issues 1 and 2 of Bloodshot a 5 out of 5.