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Review: Bloodshot USA #1

bsusa_001_cover-b_braithwaiteProject Rising Spirit – America’s greatest exporter of classified weapons technology – has achieved a breakthrough: a contagious, airborne nanite dispersion prototype that can turn the population of any city into an army of indestructible soldiers. A doomsday virus capable of destroying an enemy nation from the inside out.

A machine-made pathogen that can completely rewrite human physiology…and hardcode every man, woman, and child with the same cutting-edge technology that created their greatest weapon: Bloodshot.

But now…Project Rising Spirit’s top-secret contagion has been released onto the streets of America’s greatest metropolis: New York City. As mayhem engulfs Manhattan, Bloodshot must lead the most dangerous invasion ever waged on American soil and keep a runaway pandemic from toppling armies and governments…and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Bloodshot USA #1 could easily have simply been Bloodshot Reborn #19, as the four-issue miniseries spins directly from the recently concluded Bloodshot Island (which is probably one of my favourite Bloodshot arcs of recent times), but it’s well known that generally a first issue tends to sell better than a 19th issue, so why not launch a four-issue miniseries that places what essentially amounts to a zombie outbreak in Manhattan?

It’s ultimately not a bad idea; zombies are big business these days, so why not place the near unkillable Bloodshot into the midst of one?

Artistically, Bloodshot USA #1 is full of individual panels and full page that could easily be translated into a poster; the first appearance of Ninjak is able to convey that despite how deadly the group of Bloodshots are, the British ninja would have no qualms about facing off against all of them at once. There’s a slightly different aesthetic to the art than in previous issues, with Doug Braithwaite and Brian Reber taking the reigns for the miniseries, which helps to distance the comic from the series it spawned from.

Jeff Lemire builds upon a lot of the groundwork laid over the 18 issues of Bloodshot Reborn, but he also provides a decent amount of exposition split between the recap page and the opening of the comic for those new to the character – something that I genuinely enjoy as a first issue should be accessible for new readers, and this one is. That being said, with this comic Lemire is very much moving his pieces into place on the board, setting up the field of play for the remaining chapters in the story; whether he’d have felt the need to do this if the arc wasn’t a miniseries is largely irrelevant – the pacing of the comic  never feels like it’s bogged down, and I’ve no doubt the story will be  stronger for it.

Bloodshot USA #1 isn’t about balls-to-the-wall action, but rather getting the reader engrossed in a zombie-style story as only Valiant can do – and that it does exceedingly well. If the publisher’s track record is anything to go by, you’ll want to pick this series up. It’s going to be bloody, brilliant, and well worth the read.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Doug Braithwaite Colours: Brian Reber
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I also purchased a copy.

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