Review - Bloodshot Salvation #1 (@ValiantComics)

When it comes to government-sponsored killing machines, few are as effective as Bloodshot. The nanite-infused soldier has handled his fair share of combat and missions, leaving him tired of it all and read for something new. Despite his best intentions in Bloodshot Salvation #1 from Valiant Comics though, external forces always seem to be conspiring as to how to get him back in the game. The issue is written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Lewis LaRosa and Mico Suayan, colored by Brian Reber and lettered by Simon Bowland.

A bloody and vengeful new beginning for Jeff Lemire’s Eisner Award-nominated Bloodshot saga begins this September as Ray Garrison escapes his violent past to build the one thing he never thought he’d earn: a family. But when a hateful secret from his true love’s past threatens their fragile peace, Bloodshot will be forced to run headlong into a barrage of blood, bullets, and broken bones for a revenge-fueled assault that will have crushing consequences for those he holds most dear. Now: In the arms of his beloved girlfriend Magic, Bloodshot has finally found hope for the future…in the form of the couple’s unborn child. But when Magic’s estranged family – a cruel and sadistic clan of homegrown criminals – re-emerge to lay claim to their lost daughter, Bloodshot will be pushed back to the brink of madness, mayhem, and warfare. Soon: Eight years from today, Bloodshot’s daughter has inherited her father’s incredible abilities. Hunted by a high-tech kill squad called Omen, Jessie must hone her powers…and learn how to survive before the world is swallowed whole by the darkness that now pervades America…

Bloodshot as a character has always thrived when on the run and Lemire is looking to get him in that position again in Bloodshot Salvation #1. Bloodshot here is victorious in a way, having escaped Project Rising Spirit and living a calmer life that he feels he's always deserved. Lemire knows that Bloodshot can't leave things well enough along though and his decisions in the issue are completely in line with his character. Bloodshot is confident in his abilities and doesn't like when people he cares about are being threatened. Much of the dialogue in the issue is presented by Lemire in a very calm manner that very much sets the issue up as a calm before the storm.

The artwork by LaRosa and Suayan is tremendously refined in its approach. Seeing Bloodshot without his nanite-look is somewhat jarring, but reminds the reader that even as a "normal" person he's still very intimidating. LaRosa and Suayan have also given the book something of an artistic quality because of the somewhat photorealistic approach to the artwork. The way the panels are laid out is very emphatic and reinforces the notion that people in Bloodshot's orbit are often just as fierce as he is. Reber's colors are top-notch throughout as they imbue the book with great contrasts in certain settings; for instance, the bright red blood set against the pure white snow of Minnesota offers a great reminder of the violence Bloodshot encounters almost daily.

Bloodshot Salvation #1 is a very strong first issue in its approach to a character trying to get out of the game. Bloodshot is content with his new life as a family man, but there always seem to be forces conspiring to bring him back into the fold. Lemire's script is clean and straightforward as it catches the reader up to where Bloodshot is and where he's likely going. The artwork by LaaRosa and Suayan fits perfectly with the tone of the story and its approach. Bloodshot Salvation #1 bears all the traits that make it a Bloodshot story as well as offering up some new intriguing elements as well.

Bloodshot Salvation #1 is available September 27.