Valiant Comics is on a roll with their re-launch of Bloodshot #1, written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by the team of Arturo Lozzi, Manuel Garcia, and Stefano Gaudiano.
Each title in the re-launch of Valiant has been exceptional by finding fresh takes on their old characters and making them relevant to the times. Bloodshot continues that trend by taking the concept of nanotechnology and the ability to alter someone’s mind into scientifically plausible territory.
Unsure of how Bloodshot’s origin would be re-imagined, it was a pleasant surprise to see Swierczynski toy with the reader in the opening part of the story by portraying Bloodshot as a man with a family and a life. Just as the reader thinks they have the story figured out, Swierczynski turns the story on its head by showing that Bloodshot has had his memories manipulated via his nanites being re-programmed. If you’re going to run a plot twist on the reader, this is how you do it.
With that twist, Swierczynski makes Bloodshot a sympathetic character right off the bat with the potential for a huge emotional arc for the reader to ride as they follow his story of trying to make sense of reality. He has dozens of memories that have been planted in his mind.
Mr. Kuretitch, a man the reader can assume was involved in Bloodshot’s creation, has been downloading all of Bloodshot’s memories to use in a war against his former employers. In a cruel, but necessary act, Kuretitch shows Bloodshot that his whole existence is just a lie planted in his mind by Project Rising Spirit, a sinister government organization (Hey! Which one isn’t?). They actually sound like an interesting antagonist to Bloodshot. The group will actually play a pretty big role in the Valiant universe with other characters, so it’s clear that Swierczynski and Valiant have a large plan at work for how Bloodshot will be connected with other Valiant characters.
Swierczynski really shows his craft in storytelling by developing a bulletproof plot that has interesting characters, believable situations and dialogue given the nature of the story, and a hook to keep readers coming back as this story only looks to get better by the issue.
Lozzi, Garcia, and Gaudiano work seamlessly as the art team, creating magnificent sequences of action while showing a deftness in characterization that brings a nuanced approach to making Bloodshot retain very human emotions. A writer is lucky to get one talented artist to work with on a title. Swierczynski gets three exceptional talents to flesh out this amazing story.
Ian Hannin’s colors on this issue is the icing on the cake. The colors really pop, making a nice contrast between the real and unreal aspects of the story. One only has to look at the opening and ending parts of the story to see what a technician Hannin is.
Again, Valiant Comics continues to impress with their compelling and engaging re-launch of their classic titles. Overall, I grade Swierczynski’s writing, dialogue and plot a solid A. There isn’t anything more needed to make this story better. The art team of Lozzi, Garcia, and Gaudiano, with Hannin’s colors, gets and A+ for a visually arresting and dazzling debut.