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Bloodshot’s day off #1 Review

Written by Elliot Rahal

Art by Khari Evans

Colours by Andrew Dalhouse

Letters by Dave Lanphear

Reviewed by Lorna Maltman (maltmanlorna@gmail.com)

Every so often I pick up a valiant book. One that I previously picked up and loved recently was Escape from Gulag 396 which Elliot Rahal also wrote, covering religion with sensitivity but also a powerful message. In Bloodshot’s day off, Rahal has done it again, but with a different topic.

Bloodshot’s day off follows two of the soldiers of the bloodshot program when they are allowed a day’s  leave- yes, I know one whole day. If you have not been closely following the Bloodshot series, like myself, do not worry, as Rahal summarises the events in the guise of a de-briefing. We then follow the two soldiers with their day and find out their backstory in the process. The first soldier that we follow – tank man/ Winston Green –  joined the program in world war two and on his day off he goes to a synagogue and then visits a grave, which we are shown is of a love he left to join the army. These scenes are juxtaposed with a touching letter that Winston sent to his lost love, Hannah.  These scenes are mirrored by what Viet man/ Dell (the other soldier in the program) does with his day off. Dell’s section of the issue starts with a flashback to when he enlisted for Vietnam, where his pacifist father trying to dissuade him. Presently though, we find Dell visiting a church to try and contact the pastor- his father- and he finds out he is in a hospital. This leads to an emotional reunion. The comic finishes with the two reuniting for a drink and poignant moment between soldiers which feels well earned.

Rahal does a brilliant job of giving these characters back stories without it feeling like an exposition dump, but rather a character exploration and analysis. The story itself is simple with each of them just visiting loved ones and reminiscing, but it is Rahal’s character work and dialogue that makes this comic a treat to read. Rahal treats the characters with such care and sensitivity especially with them being soldiers and the time of release coinciding wit the fourth of July.

Khari Evans art is a good house style but it was not outstanding, apart from the flashbacks scenes, especially the Vietnam ones, which, with Dalhouses’ colours, created a real sense of time and place.

Verdict:

Buy. Whether you are a valiant novice or not, this comic is a great exploration of two characters with emotional weight behind the dialogue.  Rahal knows how to make a great issue and, paired with the fine art, makes this a must get if you’re even remotely interested in valiant and/ or war stories.

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