REVIEW: Bloodshot Salvation #6

Bloodshot Salvation #6 is promoted as an opportune time to get onboard with the ongoing series penned by Jeff Lemire who has quickly become ubiquitous in the world of comics. Lemire writes or has written for every major comic book platform including Marvel, DC, Image and Valiant.

Valiant’s recent slate of revamped ongoing superhero titles has been impressive by almost any standard. They have organized their superhero universe in an imaginative way and continue to deliver great looking books with smartly written stories. Bloodshot Salvation is one of the flagship reiterations of Valiant’s classic character – the nanite infused super-soldier, Bloodshot.

Bloodshot Salvation #6 continues to operate within the series’ split timeline – loosely divided between “now” and “soon.” Throughout the first story arc – issues #1-#5 – the bifurcated timeline is easy enough to follow but somehow in this new arc the dual timelines become more confusing. Maybe this is intentional, but readers will probably need to read the first arc to appreciate the subtleties of the “now” vs. “soon” distinction and to be able to make sense of why Ray/Bloodshot finds himself in his current predicament. In other words this is not an issue that functions well as an onboard point for the series.

This issue features Ninjak and Shadowman so fans of these characters, who each have or will have their own ongoing monthly series at Valiant, will appreciate their seamless integration into Bloodshot’s storyline. Like most of Jeff Lemire’s critically acclaimed writing, Bloodshot Salvation is at its best when Lemire probes the jagged grain of complex familial relationships. The first arc explores the lengths that Ray/Bloodshot will go to in order to exact revenge from Magic’s father who isn’t really her father but some kind of sadistic cult leader. In the current arc, it seems that readers will find out just how far Bloodshot is willing to go in order to save the life of his daughter.

This journey takes him to the “Deadside.” Renato Guedes takes over as the visual artist in this issue. Given the mortal otherworldliness that the “Deadside” invokes, Guedes’ art aptly captures this storyline’s more morbid feel. But fans of Mico Suayan’s brilliant work on the first five issues may be disappointed in the dramatic change in the style of art in this issue. For example Suayan’s Rampage – an important foil and enemy of Bloodshot is indelible; Guedes’ isn’t. But Guedes’ rendering of Shadowman is the best we seen in the history of that character.

Even with the timeline confusion and the shift in artistic style, Bloodshot #6 is a necessary transition in one of Valiant’s most popular superhero properties. It is certainly worth a read on its own, but obviously benefits from the story world that Lemire has established for these characters. 3/5

Written by JEFF LEMIRE

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