Comic Book Review: Bloodshot #1 (2012)
· Duane Swierczynski
· Manuel Garcia
· Arturo Lozzi
· Ian Hannin
by Chris Delloiacono
Published: July 10, 2012
To this point the Valiant relaunch has been flawlessly executed. I’m hooked after two issues each of Harbinger and X-O Manowar. Besides the second issue of Harby this week, we are finally reintroduced to Bloodshot. I have anticipated this arrival for quite some time, since the original series was my favorite from the old Valiant. If you haven’t read the classic comics Harbinger and X-O Manowar have recreated many of the old story beats for a modern audience, but Bloodshot has taken only the base idea and drastically reimagined it. Amazingly, both methods have worked out thus far.
The New Bloodshot
In the old comic, the title character was a former mob hit man imbued with nanites that leant him rapid healing, uncanny strength, and the ability to control computers. This time writer Duane Swizerynski has gone the route of Bloodshot being a military experiment, not necessarily gone wrong. Then again, perhaps he’s gone wrong. There’s actually some mystery to Bloodshot’s true background which should lend for a nifty character arc of him trying to find out his true origins. It’s a basic comic book trope that was similarly followed in the old story as well.
Duane Swierczynski's Birds of Prey has been the most consistent title in DC’s New 52. They haven’t all been great, but each issue has seemed worthy of an expenditure of $2.99 and that’s saying a lot with the New 52. There’s not enough story crammed into comic books anymore, but between BoP and now Bloodshot I’d say Swiz is currently giving readers value for their comic dollar.
Swiz’s dialogue is solid and his storytelling offers plenty of background information as well as forward momentum. He throws a nifty swerve of mystery so we’re not sure if certain aspects of the story are true. The basic background is laid out and the quest is presented for us to follow in the coming months. Origin hunts can get tedious, but this one appears like it’s going to be enjoyable. It could have gone further, but there’s enough story that it doesn’t feel decompressed.
The writing is solid but the artwork is utterly brilliant. The penciling by Manuel Garcia with Arturo Lozzi captures the sheer brutality of the military aspects of the character. Their artwork is so arresting the violence is more poignant because of the beauty of the embellishments. The conveyance of rage when Bloodshot learns of his probable deception is expertly rendered. The duality of the loving family man at the start of the story and the transformation to a Frankenstein-like freak sent to destroy the enemy is stark and powerful. The usage of inset panels with larger images is well done and adds a depth of detail to the work. Stefano Gaudiano’s inks and Ian Hannin’s color tie the entire package together and bring us elite artistic expression that must be experienced!
There are only five comics released so far from the new Valiant, but I can’t stress just how excellent every one of them has been. Each of the titular concepts has been explained completely in the initial chapters and there seems to be a clear path in which they are all heading. The New 52 has been mostly a fizzle from my perspective since nothing seems to be happening anywhere. Sure, it’s all interconnected, but there’s no real future plan other than crossovers and “events.” I’m sure Valiant has many of the same goals in mind, but the story they’re telling is far more compelling. Valiant’s three titles have spring boarded ahead of nearly every Marvel and DC book I’m reading. You should get on board too.
Duane Swierczynski - Writer
Manuel Garcia with Arturo Lozzi - Pencils
Stefano Gaudiano - Inks
Ian Hannin - Colors