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Bloodshot USA #1 Review

Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Doug Braithwaite
Color: Brian Reber
Letters:  Dave Lanphear
Publisher: Valiant Comics

“Bloodshot, long time no see.  Looks as though you’ve made some friends.”

bloodshot-usa-1

There’s a lot of hype surrounding Bloodshot USA #1, as superstar writer Jeff Lemire continues his work on one of Valiant’s flagship heroes.  A paramilitary organization called Project Rising Spirit has an insidious plan to pivot itself as America’s protector.  P.R.S. releases the Bloodshot virus into Manhattan, allowing for “an appropriate amount of panic,” in order to appear as saviors when the time is right.  It’s up to Bloodshot and various other Valiant superheroes to minimize the damage.

Lemire (Bloodshot RebornExtraordinary X-Men) is no stranger to writing complex superhero team-up stories.  Bloodshot USA #1 is no different.  Though the story is clever and multi-layered, Lemire doesn’t bog readers down with showing off his writing wares.  The story is effortless enough to bring new readers under its wing while giving the appropriate amount of combat and character interaction that familiar readers crave.  It’s really refreshing to read a first issue that dives into action while providing character vignettes.  That’s a tough balance to strike, and one that you don’t often see in The Big Two’s premier issues.

Artist Doug Braithwaite (Armor HuntersJustice) is neither hyper-detailed nor overly simplistic.  It’s hard to tell if this is merely Braithwaite’s style, or if this is a calculation to appeal to mass amounts of readership.  The penciling is particularly strong, as pencil lines distinctly mark muscle tone and facial features.  Important characters are presented in a way that lets new readers know, ‘This character is important.’  GIN_GR’s character design is a shining moment in this issue.  The images of this massive, powerful robot attempting to maintain order in an overwhelmed Manhattan are awe-inspiring.

Verdict:  Check it out.  It’s hard to tell a superhero story that hasn’t be tread upon a dozen times.  Lemire, Braithwaite and company do a sterling job of taking something familiar and giving it a unique twist.  If you’ve enjoyed V for Vendetta (either the graphic novel or the film) then you’ll recognize P.R.S.’s ends-justify-the-means motives here, and therefore the need for a hero like Bloodshot.  This is a good starting place for new readers, but Bloodshot USA #1 also has appeal for seasoned fans.

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