Review by From the Booth‘s own Ken
Ever since Valiant Comics got resurrected from a decade in obscurity, I have loved their new stuff and have gone in search of their old stuff. My ’92 X-O Manowar review details Valiant’s long and complicated history but in short, all of their old titles are back with a fresh coat of paint.
Duane Swiercynski is best known for his crime novels but has also worked in the comic industry since 2007. His credits include Cable, single issues of Moon Knight and Punisher and many X-titles. Both Garcia and Lozzi are both virtual unknowns.
Bloodshot was one of the most popular of Valiant’s characters back in the ‘90s and has been reimagined in his self titled book. Bloodshot is best described as Punisher with a little bit of Hulk mixed in. A member of the US Special Forces, Bloodshot believes himself to be Angelo Mortalli, Raymond Garrison, or any of a number of other identities. As a super soldier whose body is packed with nanites that allows him to recover from wounds that would kill anyone else, he has been brainwashed to believe he is always fighting a last battle so he can finally go home to a family that doesn’t exist.
The story opens with Bloodshot being dropped into a war zone and taking out a base where he believes his brother is being held. During the raid, his brain is hacked by a defector from Project Lazarus, the organization that created him. Now flooded by a sea of contradicting synthetic memories, he runs from the government that turned him into a weapon of mass destruction.
The storytelling in this book is fantastic and uses the novel device of having the nanites move the narrative along by having conversations with Bloodshot in the form of his nonexistent wives and children. The art treads that thin line between photo-realism and cartoony that works remarkably well here. Facial expressions seem to be carefully crafted and effective at conveying the dark mood of the story.
While I’ve been loudly telling anyone who would listen about how awesome X-O Manowar is, I think Bloodshot might even be better. This is definitely a book for people who are fans of the MAX universe, war comics or science fiction. The genres seem to blend together into a cohesive and believable whole in a way few books can pull off in the first four issues.