Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bloodshot Yearbook #1 (Classic Valiant)

Throughout its 53 issue run, Valiant action series Bloodshot had a couple of one-shots. I'll look at the other at another time, and today talk about the Bloodshot Yearbook....

Superhuman MI6 agent Bloodshot is on assignment in New York, supervising a drug deal sting operation. It goes south drastically, and all the feds involved are killed, while Bloodshot is injured in an explosion when pursuing the only surviving culprit. He's retrieved by Anna Trebecci, the wife of a notorious criminal. She's attracted to him, and the feeling is mutual. Things are complicated, however, when they start an affair, and her husband needs to be safely brought back to the country...

As a special yearbook (I'm not sure Valiant knows what that word means) issue, does it focus on something interesting, such as the sinister Iwatsu/Rising Spirit corporation (who gave Bloodshot his powers) plotting some dastardly plan in Japan? Could it be another epic tale for the ages? Nope, it's just some story about Bloodshot meeting a gal, mistaking the need to bang for love, and realizing she's a materialistic bitch and ditching her.

At 41 pages, this story completely squanders the added length with padding, and lead-up to an uninteresting climax and a story that just stops. It also takes nearly the length of a whole regular issue just for Bloodshot to watch a drug deal sting gone bad and resolve the situation!

The story is dull, poorly written in numerous ways, and its 'romance' has very poor chemistry. It also starts and ends too abruptly. Another problem is the 'makes it easy' aspect that the head assassin from the sting-gone-wrong just so happens to be one of Vincenzo Trebecci's would be assassins, otherwise the story would actually have to have Bloodshot doing something aside from lounge about a mansion cooking eggs!

Bloodshot is usually a boring character, and he is here, as well as an unlikeable murderous jerk, but he's also terribly cliched! His attitude is cliched in such a '90's way that it'd be funny if this wasn't meant to be taken seriously! It's a surprise he never says 'Take back the night'! He also never shuts up about his internal clock, despite such a body mechanic of his never having been mentioned before now. And of course, given his mastery over machines, he could just switch it off if it irks him that much.

There are many dumb things about his character this story, such as his feelings of dread concerning New York. He's defused a nuclear bomb with only seconds to spare, fallen 30,000 feet out of a plane, easily survived sniper rounds to the skull, yet a New York alley is enough to make his skin crawl? That's another annoying aspect to this issue-How much it trash talks NYC.

Another dumb moment is also at the start, when Bloodshot realizes that the sting a set-up, but does nothing to save the DEA agents, even though he's got a machine gun! And later on, he 'freezes' for a dumb reason and fails to save another life! And finally, it's idiotic that Bloodshot never calls his boss Neville for ages, claiming he needs to recuperate more. If you're doing one-legged push-ups, then you're healed enough to call your boss on the phone and tell him you're not dead, asshole!

The narration here is both over-abundant, poorly written, and pretentious. And not the fun knowing kind of pretentious like the Acclaim Bloodshot series. Worse is the really unsubtle ending imagery.

The art in this issue is dreadful! Everything looks filthy, scratchy, and gritty, while fight choreography and action posing is wretched! And then there's a typo where someone gasp's so hard, they do it with two P's!

There are other problems, such as the size of Bloodshot's uzi, which looks as big as a damn rifle! It's absurd! Then there's his outfit. His vest melds right onto his skin like it's greasepaint! The titular meathead repeatedly strikes stupid poses, which takes you out of the story a lot!

There's a poorly coloured scene where an assassin in a green shirt shoots a guy in a red one, but when the latter falls over dead, he's wearing an identical green shirt (right down to the folded sleeves), and the assassin's shirt is suddenly purple! What the hell?! Who got shot?!

Backgrounds are frequently negligible, ranging from black and purple negative zone spirals, to looking like the sun's exploded, or a magic eye. One even has Bloodshot striking a pose in front of the Scary Door from Futurama!

Finally, the cover. It sucks! All it is is Bloodshot standing in front of a nothing background, which bafflingly only goes through the middle, leaving both sides as black bordering. As for the art, it's not all that great. First of all, Bloodshot's waist compared to the rest of his body looks unnaturally thin compared to the rest of his body, like he's one of those people who go to bed each night wearing a corset, and second, his legs are both too long, and standing in an awkward position.

To finish, if you feel you could live your life without the mental image of Valiant hero Bloodshot cooking bacon in the buff and getting his man-tackle burnt, then you'll do good to avoid this boring one-shot...

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