Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bloodshot #0 (Classic Valiant)

The '90's comics industry had a serious problem when it came to #0 issues. More often than not, you'd have series' starting out in media res with little context, and you'd have to wait for the #0 issue to come out and discuss the main character's origin story. A serious case is Valint Comics' XO Man-O-War. Its #0 issue didn't come out until a year and a half after the series started, but the first issue just threw you into things as if you already read #0! Thankfully the case with today's comic is less annoying, as we already knew Valiant hero Bloodshot's origin from 'preceding' issues in his own series, as well as continuity plug Rai #0...

Angelo Mortalli is an up-and-coming member of the New York Mafia, and is going places ever since he married mob boss' daughter Diana Canelli, and seemingly successfully assassinated Gilad Abrams, a powerful enemy of the mafia. Unfortunately for Angelo, he's been cheating on Diana, and her enraged father orders him to be framed for a murder. After weeks on the run, Mortalli turns himself into the police, and makes a plea deal for witness-protection. He's eager to get going with his new life, but before he can, he's assaulted and kidnapped by a sinister organization for experimentation...

First of all, this whole issue feels pretty pointless, as we already know Bloodshot's origin, so a #0 issue detailing his origin is hardly exciting. It could be done well if it focused on fleshing out Angelo Mortalli's character, but this issue doesn't do that. It's one big montage, so we get no insight into Mortalli at all, and we keep time jumping ahead every few panels, never staying on one long enough to leave an impact.

This issue is narrated not by Bloodshot, but by his friend Gilad, the Eternal Warrior (another Valiant character). This isn't a great decision, as if anyone should be narrating in Bloodshot's origin story, it should be the man himself, but at least Gilad does have a connection with Bloodshot, so this isn't too bad. Ultimately, I wish this story had zero narration. I wish it just showed the life of Angelo Mortalli, from his youth possibly, to his rise and fall, and his kidnapping by Rising Spirit. As it stands, nearly half of this issue is devoted to a single fight scene between Angelo and Gilad. It's a total waste!

Most criminally is that in this origin story, we never truly see Bloodshot's origin. We see him waking up in the Rising Spirit facility, escaping, and stealing some weapons, but then the montage continues, cutting away. We never get to know how he feels about waking up in a strange laboratory with no memory and too much knowledge about killing.

Onto Gilad. He's pretty boring here, but worst of all is his narration, which keeps switching between past and present tense, which is sure to piss off readers, especially grammar junkies out there.

One aspect about Gilad that doesn't make sense is his vendetta with the mafia. One man alone can do little to stop organized crime forever, but a nigh invincible immortal who was around when the mafia first formed should easily be able to deal with the problem, whether it takes him twenty years, or four hundred.

The art here is decent, but there's some annoying and pointless crosshatching here and there.  The cover is mediocre, and due to it being a holofoil, or some gimmick like that, the cover of the Comixology version is washed out. The action the cover is showing really is bafflingly hilarious! It's doing that strobe-effect, that shows when someone is firing multiple gunshots by having all the gun flashes in the one panel in an arc. This can work out sometimes, depending on how it's handled, and here, it's not done well. Since Bloodshot's Liefeldian arms are drawn completely still, it looks like the outer shots are being fired from his knees! And his obscured pose is pretty stupid once you notice it.

Overall, this is a mediocre, somewhat boring issue, with a poor focus. It's not terrible, but it's not good either...

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