Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review - Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 (@ValiantComics)


"...I think we can replicate what happened in Colorado and make our own Bloodshot virus."

Bloodshot is a hero whether he believes it or not. He was created as an experiment before going rogue in an effort to find out more about himself. Project Rising Spirit is far from the most philanthropic organizations and they believe that more experiments like Bloodshot are better than fewer. They take that to the extreme in Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 from Valiant Comics. The issue is written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Doug Braithwaite, colored by Brian Reber and lettered by Dave Lanphear.

Project Rising Spirit – America’s greatest exporter of classified weapons technology – has achieved a breakthrough: a contagious, airborne nanite dispersion prototype that can turn the population of any city into an army of indestructible soldiers. A doomsday virus capable of destroying an enemy nation from the inside out. But now Project Rising Spirit’s top-secret contagion has been released onto the streets of America’s greatest metropolis: New York City. As mayhem engulfs Manhattan, Bloodshot must lead the most dangerous invasion ever waged on American soil and keep a runaway pandemic from toppling armies and governments and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Lemire is of the mindset that multiple Bloodshots is better than one Bloodshot in Bloodshot U.S.A. #1. Most of the issue is actually giving the reader a primer on Bloodshot and the nanites within him and Lemire does this with aplomb. The issue moves from setting up the next stage of conflict for Bloodshot to introducing an ally for him to raising the stakes pretty high by the end of the issue. Bloodshot as a character is written with a sense of gravity by Lemire, helping to infuse the book with some depressed emotion in the face of an overwhelming opponent. The premise of the book is actually quite devious as well and Lemire ensures that Project Rising Spirit is depicted as a truly diabolical entity who will stop at nothing in the name of "science."

Braithwaite's take on numerous Bloodshots is amusing at times and terrifying at others. Each of the different Bloodshot versions look sufficiently imposing when contrasted against the normal citizens. The main Bloodshot has a very distinct personality and Braithwaite does a great job of showcasing the disparate personalities based on the appearances of the other Bloodshots. Many of the panels are rife with chaos and Braithwaite effectively captures that madness of a viral outbreak as it spreads from one person to the next. Reber's colors vary from muted to bold and are used quite brilliantly to demonstrate the ebb and flow of the madness.

Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 is a pretty frenetic first issue that capitalizes on the entity that is Bloodshot as a plight as opposed to a savior. Bloodshot is squaring off against an opponent that is extremely familiar to both himself and those around him. Lemire's narrative is engaging and entertaining, throwing together cool concepts and giving Bloodshot a very good challenge. Braithwaite's illustrations are overwhelming in a way that mirrors the chaos of the world. Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 is a lot of fun and ends on a pretty bold and crazy note that's setting the tone for the remainder of the series.

Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 is in stores now.

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