Comic Name: Bloodshot (Volume 1)
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Writer: Kevin Vanhook
Artist: Don Perlin/Andrew Wendel/Ted Halsted
# of Issues: 8
Release Date: 2012
Reprints Bloodshot (1) #1-8 (February 1993-September 1993). Bloodshot is a man without a past. Suddenly finding himself brimming with nanites in his bloodstream, Bloodshot finds that the computers within him can heal and help him as a mercenary. Seeking out his past, Bloodshot must track down his own identity and may not like what he discovers.
Written by Kevin Vanhook and with illustrations by Don Perlin, Andrew Wendel, and Ted Halsted, Valiant Masters—Bloodshot 1: Blood of the Machine collects the original Bloodshot series published by Valiant beginning in 1993. The hardcover edition is part of the 2012 Valiant relaunch of the comic line.
In 1993, Bloodshot did little to interest me. The Punisher and Deathstroke were big at the time and everyone seemed to have the “mercenary for hire” character. Valiant was the young upstart that got immediate buzz with X-O Manowar and Magnus Robot Fighter leading the way to tons of other series…Bloodshot was just another one of them. When the Valiant line relaunch in 2012, Marvel and DC were struggling with tedious plotlines and constant relaunches and something in the Valiant line connected with me. As a result I went back and read a lot of the 1990s Valiants and found them better than most ’90s comics.
I’m not going to pretend that these issues of Bloodshot are perfect. They are loaded with tons of ’90s mentality with style and art over substance (including the foil cover of Bloodshot (1) #1 (February 1993) which was a big deal). The story is rather typical with the amnesiac Bloodshot seeking out his past which turns out to be bad and then on a bit of a quest to recreate himself.
The second half of the storyline features a crossover with Valiant’s equivalent of Vandal Savage (but good) with appearances by the Eternal Warrior and a time spanning story that connects Bloodshot so the future’s Rai (which also has ties to Magnus). It also serves to introduce Ninjak who went off onto his own Valiant series. Though less of a coherent plot, I do prefer the second half of this collection to the first part which features the origin issues.
In this volume, Bloodshot has a lot of untapped potential. It is obvious that he is meant to be a bit of a combination of the Punisher (guns blazing killer) and Wolverine (superhuman healing ability). The modern take on the character is far more interesting, and readers of the new Bloodshot might find this throwback a bit lacking in character development. I like some of the things introduced in the collection, but like many ’90s books, the writing falls somewhat flat or the writers try to cram in too much background in small spaces to open up the book for more action sequences. Still with prices rising on Valiant back issues, Valiant Masters—Bloodshot 1: Blood of the Machine might be worth picking up for fans of the character.
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