Bloodshot Salvation #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Lewis LaRosa & Mico Suayan
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

A review by Nico Sprezzatura.

Having read multiple Bloodshot titles by now (like Bloodshot USA, which I reviewed here!), I often use the character as a barometer of how well the Valiant Universe acquits itself to casual readers like me. I know the broad strokes of his deal –retired mobster becomes host to a legion of nanites, transforms into the ultimate soldier– but I’m not a Bloodshot completist.

But hey, there’s a new Bloodshot #1 this week, which means another opportunity to check in on everybody’s favorite albino cyborg!

Bloodshot Salvation #1 is the latest entry in Jeff Lemire’s saga with the character, which started back in 2015 with Bloodshot Reborn. Picking up some time after the events of the aforementioned Bloodshot USA, Bloodshot –A.K.A. Ray Garrison– has settled down with his wife, Magic, and their newborn daughter Jessie. He’s done being a killer; Ray wants nothing more than to live a normal life with his family.

But this is an edgy superhero comic, so we know that won’t happen. When Magic’s estranged father –the leader of a cult she escaped as a teenager– comes back into the picture, Ray’s fortitude is tested. Does he keep his distance from the matter, or succumb to the nanites once again, so he can protect his family by any means necessary?

As we learn from bookending flashbacks to the near future, it seems the latter has happened. For reasons yet unknown to the reader, Ray is out of the picture, and Jessie has been infected with the same nanites that plagued her father for many years. With her mother in tow, Jessie soon falls into the clutches of a familiar –and sinister– face.

Like I said earlier, I’m not an obsessive follower of Bloodshot, but I’m familiar enough with the character to enjoy his various stories. Thanks in part to a recap page at the start, I felt all caught up with whatever I’ve missed in the interim since my last experience with him, allowing me to follow along without any confusion. This is why recap pages are useful, people! (I’m looking at you, DC.)

Even if you haven’t read any of Lemire’s Bloodshot up to this point, the story of Salvation (as presented here) leaves enough intrigue about Ray’s fate to keep you hooked for the next issue. And if you have been keeping up, it very much feels like the next episode in Lemire’s multi-year arc with the character.

Lewis LaRosa & Mico Suayan’s contrasting illustrations help to differentiate between the present and future timelines throughout this issue, and presumably the series moving forward. LaRosa’s sections, set in the present, are soft and expressive, while Suayan’s flash-forwards are stark and tense. It’s an effective solution to convey a sense of time to the reader without simply indicating “now” or “soon” at the top of each page.

Colorist Brian Reber is crucial in helping to strengthen the tones of LaRosa & Suayan’s art. While LaRosa’s rural-set scenes are bathed in warm, realistic colors, the opposite approach is taken with Suayan’s parts, opting for cool blues and deep reds befitting the snowy landscapes and urban streets. While LaRosa & Suayan establish that their contributions aren’t occurring at the same time in the story, it’s Reber’s job to make as much obvious at a glance.

The Verdict:
Buy it! 
 If you’re a fan of Bloodshot and/or the Valiant Universe, or even just a casual follower of the character, Bloodshot Salvation #1 is a no-brainer.

Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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