Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices – this week, the poll featured Bloodshot, Ninjak, Punk Mambo, and Quantum & Woody. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways and more.
This week’s winner, perhaps unsurprisingly, was…
Who is he? A dead man brought back to life with billions of tiny machines in his blood that grant him enhanced strength, stamina and an incredible ability to heal from anything. This dude makes Deadpool look frail. Bloodshot is also the only Valiant character to be featured in a major motion picture with Sony’s Bloodshot released just before North America began to shut down due to the pandemic. You can find it digitally now if you didn’t see it in theaters, and because of that, I won’t go too much into his background because the movie does a pretty solid job of capturing the essence of the character.
What should you read?
Bloodshot Reborn: Colorado. Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Mico Suayan, this is the beginning of one of my favorite runs in comics that stretches through Reborn, USA and Salvation. Picking up just after Bloodshot has regained his humanity after being freed of his nanites, the former super-soldier finds himself a shadow of what he was. So why does he feel so guilty about a string of murders he has no connection to? You’ve really got to read this to appreciate how well Lemire toys with your emotional connection to the character – and Suayan’s art has to be seen to be believed. This is a great starting point for a different kind of superhero story that’s more horror noir than capes and cowls, and it doesn’t require you to learn an extensive history about the character if you don’t want to. But if you do, then this won’t ruin any of the previous stories the character has featured in other than part of The Valiant‘s climax.
Bloodshot: Definitive Edition. This book contains the first baker’s dozen plus a zero issue of the 2012 Bloodshot series. With all but the zero issue being written by Duane Swierczynski (Matt Kindt handles the zero issue), this is the place to go if you want to learn more about the Bloodshot you’ve seen in the movies. The Definitive Edition takes Bloodshot from the character’s first appearance in the relaunched Valiant universe and fleshes out a lot more of the character, with much of the movie being inspired by what you’ll read here. There are other stories in the list I’ve enjoyed more, but none give you as clear a starting point to the character as this one.
The Valiant written by Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire isn’t strictly a Bloodshot story, but the character does feature prominently in the book. You’ll probably see this book featured in a couple different character’s reading lists over the coming weeks because the book does feature a lot of the major Valiant heroes.As an introduction to the Valiant universe as a whole, this is brilliant, but it’s also the bridge between Bloodshot and Bloodshot Reborn and is a pretty key moment in Bloodshot’s story as it transitions between series. The premise is centered around a loose group of allies headed by the Eternal Warrior trying to stop the Immortal Enemy from murdering the Geomancer, the person who speaks for the planet. For over ten thousand years, the Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth and her chosen voice from countless threats. He has failed only three times at the hands of the Immortal Enemy, with each failure ushering in a dark period in humanity. With the Immortal Enemy returning once again, the Eternal Warrior has gathered the heroes of the Valiant Universe to protect the Geomancer.
Bloodshot: Book One Contrary to what you might be expecting, this is actually one of the newest books that Valiant have released as it collects the first three issues of the 2019 Bloodshot as well as the Bloodshot Free Comic Book Day Special from the same year. This book is a frantic, fast paced story that will give you barely half a second to breath throughout the duration. We find a fresh take on the character here courtesy of Tim Seeley that doesn’t wipe away the previous work other writers have done on the character, but it also doesn’t rely on said work. If you’re new to the character then this one of the best places to start that isn’t the beginning (which you can find in The Definitive Edition), and it’s especially ideal if you want an action comic that’s pure fun. There’s less substance here than in some of the above books, but this is the one to read if you want to turn your brain off and just enjoy the comics.
It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better value, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts).
The above options are all good starting points for you if you’re wanting to learn more about Valiant’s unstoppable killing machine.
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