Bloodshot Salvation #11 - Review. Something's gotta be done about your kid!
Bloodshot Salvation #11
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Simon Bowland
It’s remarkable to me that Lemire has now been doing Bloodshot for three years. In a world where most comic book readers fall into either the DC camp or the Marvel camp, I’ve had a special relationship with my Valiant books for some time. But they’ve also been the ones that I have taken the longest time to come back to since re-engaging with reading single issues this year. After a long time off and away only reading trades, it's nice to come back home. I don’t know that Lemire was ever supposed to write Bloodshot. I think I remember the original deal being a weird happenstance of fate and one of those instances of a creator deliberately choosing to do the thing that no one thought they would do. But here it is three years hence, and Lemire has not only recreated Bloodshot, but probably done so about two or three times.
Bloodshot Salvation is an admittedly trippy tale of Bloodshot heading off, whether deliberately or by way of becoming unintentionally trapped, into the future in an effort to prevent the death of his child and find his way back home to his family. Lemire has a wonderful way of constructing these plot-lines that, by all accounts should never be mentioned in the same breath as “Bloodshot”, and building out tethers to a story-line world that sink themselves in deeper and with greater tonal strength than most more naturally expected, more organic to the nature of the starring character, plots in comic books. If any character was modeled after the Rambo’s or other ultra-violent characters of the 1980s, it’s this guy, and so to see him juxtaposed against the notions of family requires great strength in writing; Lemire brings that in spades. Nothing is more powerful in these pages, or I’d argue in the pages of 90% of the other comics in production today, than the choice Bloodshot has to make on whether to put his own family’s value and worth up against that of another father’s. At the end of the day, however, while the writing in here is perfect, and I love the family angle in a soldier’s story, the thing that isn’t working for me is the time travel piece. I’ve just had enough of it this year, and am looking for something a bit more grounded.
Braithwaite’s kung-fu is damned strong and, c’mon, let’s just say it: Jordie Bellaire just makes everyone’s art look better. And then you put her on a book that has red, I mean, deep deep reds, as its central thematic color and what could possibly go wrong? Plus Lemire gives his art team, and Bellaire especially, plenty of explosions; I mean...damn. You’re pretty much writing yourself into a winner right there. But it is, in fact, the panels that are drawn without Bloodshot on screen that are some of the most powerful. Particularly the opening sequence with his daughter, and in the end of that fight sequence, how her skin color and eyes are contrasted so much against her mother’s. In the days since I first read this issue, I’ve gone back several times to re-look at those first three pages solely to marvel at the artwork. Good panel arrangements overall, although I’d like maybe a full-page portrait or a landscape page or just a bit more push for the exceptional here. More than anything, I tip my hat to Braithwaite’s fight choreography. Doing martial arts and melee characters is never easy, doing it when one of the combatants is half the size of some of the goons she fights and nailing that without error? You go, bro.
SCORE: 7.5 / 10
OK. So this review ran much longer than I had planned. A testament to the creative team, because this review basically wrote itself. Again, my one knock is I’m having a hard time swallowing the whole time-travel piece of the setup, and I am hoping that we do not spend a ton of time here. I’m ready to have Bloodshot back on terra firma...or terra...presenta. Or whatever. That all being said, Bloodshot has been in great hands for the last three years. My drop-in checkup on maybe my second-favorite Valiant character tells me that there’s no risk of that changing as long as Lemire stays on the job. Nice stuff.