“In Bloodshot we trust.”
Valiant, you are getting me in a lot of trouble at home. I was introduced to Bloodshot at the Baltimore, Maryland Comic-Con, and in the intervening two months I’ve bought every Jeff Lemire Bloodshot trade, their two big event trades (The Valiant and Book of Death) and now the first issue of the standalone event Bloodshot U.S.A. Jeff Lemire has really done something amazing with this unkillable character; he’s focused on humanizing an unstoppable killing machine and the results have been gripping. Throughout the first three trades (soon to be four), Lemire has given Bloodshot a new purpose and it has me hooked. I’m not going to spoil anything for you as the trades are truly worth buying, but the first several pages of Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 give you all the necessary backstory while continuing to move the plot forward. You don’t need to have read Bloodshot prior to this issue, but I strongly recommend it.
I saw the preview art and cover to the first issue at the Valiant panel at Baltimore Comic-Con, and I immediately called my local comic shop and added this to my pull box. The interior art is mesmerizing, as the art team of Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber just pulls you into the issue and keeps you invested. Braithwaite and Reber focus on making each character unique and fluid in their movements, making every scene realistic. They didn’t skip the backgrounds, even with all of the mayhem in Manhattan.Each Bloodshot looks menacing and deranged as well. Braithwaite and Reber really knock this issue out of the park, the characters look amazing, facial features are detailed, and the splash page at the end has me anxiously awaiting the next issue.
Thankfully, the plot is worthy of the art as Jeff Lemire wisely uses the first several pages getting the you caught up with the situation, and introducing Project Rising Spirit (the bad guys who made Bloodshot) and their latest nefarious plan, namely to introduce the nanites that make Bloodshot indestructible into Manhattan’s air and water supply. Project Rising Spirit will then be able to control the army of nanite-controlled Manhattanites and come in and save the day. It kind of sounds like a Bond villain’s plan until you see the execution. The scope of the plan turns the tables on the heroes and makes for an interesting opening issue with an awesome last page reveal. By the end of the first issue, Lemire has accomplished literally everything the marketing campaign has told us about this series, leaving the remaining three issues free for Lemire to expand Bloodshot’s world and keep us fans guessing. This is exactly what Lemire excels at, and this rollercoaster series isn’t close to slowing down.
I found myself reading the entire issue twice, to ensure I could enjoy both the plot and art in equal measures. For me, the most compelling part of the issue is seeing Lemire flesh out Bloodshot’s allies, as he gives each a distinct and compelling voice. It’s like picking right back up with a favorite book, you immediately get sucked back into that world. Now that the creative team has set the stage and whet our appetites, I expect things to get progressively crazier.
Buy this book. Seriously, buy this book. Fans of Bloodshot will love this book, and those new to Bloodshot will be hooked. I daresay you will follow my lead and buy every Lemire-related Bloodshot trade on the market. Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 is worthy on its own merits, but the writing and art are truly superb, and they are only going to get better. I could not put this issue down, and am anxiously awaiting the next issue. Let me know what you think below!
- Manhattan full of Bloodshots!
- World War II era Bloodshot!
- Three more issues of open-ended mayhem
- Plot sounds Bond-villainesque, but gets more complex as the issue rolls along
- Has one brief political reference which will unfortunately date the book