Friday, July 4, 2014

Bloodshot #1 (Acclaim Comics)

About a year ago, I read an article on Valiant Comics, and I liked it quite a bit, as at that point, I'd read next to no Valiant books. But since then, I began to, and I realized this article was riddled with multiple inaccuracies (making it pretty clear the the article's author doesn't know a damn thing about what he's writing about), and worse, it gives Valiant a massive, massive reviewer blowjob! It's intolerable!

One particularly infuriating thing this guy does is trash Acclaim Comics (which remade the Valiant series'), saying that it dumbed down everything into derivative and formulaic messes...What?! WHAT?! It did the opposite, dumbass! For example, Acclaim's Bloodshot is way more intelligent and original than Valiant's ever was. There are many who hate Acclaim for tossing all the Valiant continuity out the window as soon as they got the rights to the characters (in 1994), and restarting everything from scratch. Bullshit! Many of the titles had more issues released under Acclaim's run than they did prior. In 1996, Acclaim remade everything from the bottom up, and who can blame them. XO Man-O-War had ran for a total of 72 issues, Solar 60, Magnus 67+, Bloodshot 54, etc. Remaking the lines would be fine at that point, and a wiser decision, given people reading comics after the industry crash would be drawn more to new series' than ones nearly 100 issues in.

One example of the article's inaccuracy is when it starts talking about the 'fantastic' themes in the various series'-It says Solar contains heavy themes about God and his relation with Science (those themes were heavy in Acclaim Solar), Bloodshot focused on identity and the human soul (No, Acclaim Bloodshot did), and that XO Man-O-War 'probed the idea of personal evolution and how it can alienate those most important to you' (Yes, it did...for all of one issue out of 72).

I suppose you're wondering why I've been rambling on about this for three paragraphs instead of reviewing today's comic. I wanted to get it off my chest, and clear up the misconception some people on the internet (TV Tropes included) have about Acclaim's treatment of the Valiant stable of characters, as a prelude to my review for Acclaim's Bloodshot Issue #1...

A man wakes up in a vat of goo in a top-secret government facility, with no memories, and a body warped beyond recognition. He's told his name is Raymond Garrison, but he can't shake the feeling that he isn't, and escapes the facility with the name Angelo Mortalli in his head. The experiment that seemingly brought this man from the dead endowed him with several powers, such as the ability to talk to and understand machines, learn vast amounts of information in seconds, move much faster than normal humans, regenerative powers, and a general higher tolerance to damage. As he's hunted by the shady government agency, the man searches for information on Angelo Mortalli from the mafia...

This is a fantastic opener! It's well written (albeit a little pretentious in the Vitruvian Bloodshot 2-page spread), introducing both the title character and the setting well, and it kicks off the start of an intriguing mystery! I'm genuinely curious, who is Angelo Mortalli? And who is Raymond Garrison? The mystery in this series is very well handled, especially when compared to the Valiant Bloodshot series, which started in media res, in an annoyingly lazy, poorly written fashion.

This is the first issue and Bloodshot's only just woken up, so he doesn't really have much character to him yet, which isn't a problem, as at this stage, the intrigue of his dangerous search is enough of an impetus for one to care about the story before his character develops.

Bloodshot narrates kinda like a computer, given the nanites (tiny computers) in his body letting him analyse everything he sees perfectly and completely, and it works sometimes, but other times it's a bit confusing and overspoken. His healing powers are very different to his original incarnation, as he's not just an invincible Mary-Sue. In Valiant, Bloodshot instantly regenerated like he's super-Wolverine, which made him pretty boring. Here, on the other hand, Bloodshot needs raw materials to aid with his body's reconstruction.

The series' main villains are the D.O.A. (Domestic Operations Authority) and their leader, Simon Oreck. We don't know much about him at this stage, but he's interesting enough.

The artwork is pretty good, but it can be a little cluttered at times, making it hard to see what you're looking at. The cover is ok. The background is pretty nifty, but the foreground picture of Bloodshot is pretty stock standard. One odd thing about the comic is the chapter numberings, which feel pointless. Also on the subject of page structure, Acclaim actually bothers to have numbered pages, unlike so many other companies! Nice!

Acclaim's Bloodshot has its problems, but it's a very good read, and the ending to this issue really had me hooked! I definitely recommend it. It's the best version of Bloodshot I've read so far, although it hardly has much competition...

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