By Jeff Lemire, Doug Braithwaite, Brian Reber
Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 is a dynamic beginning to this four-part event series. Heart pounding action and jaw dropping excitement will have readers burning through the pages.
Bloodshot U.S.A. is a standalone event series springing out of the Bloodshot Reborn title. The Bloodshot posse is in the mix, but this event incorporates heroes from the larger universe. It’s big – both in threat and in scope. Parts of the story may remind readers of Unity, but there’s more at play here. Writer Jeff Lemire does a fantastic job of creating an engaging story that builds in tension and excitement with each panel.
If you thought the events in Bloodshot Reborn’s “Colorado” arc were gnarly, this book will leave you breathless. This has to be one of the most exhilarating stories in the Valiant Universe, on the scale of the dramatic “Armor Wars” event. As teased in the previews, the “Bloodshot nanites” have been purposefully seeded across NYC – creating the opportunity to turn anyone and everyone into a raging Bloodshot – but without all of those pesky moral compasses. With Project Rising Spirit at the controls, what could possibly go wrong? Plenty, one can imagine, if PRS’s previous attempts to control Bloodshot are any indicator.
Lemire’s sense of timing and drama make this a fun read. He starts at an even pace, filling in the holes in of our knowledge regarding Deathmate and PRS’s awareness of Bloodshot’s activities. We’re privy to the maneuvering within PRS itself, then are treated to a bit of a surprise regarding the Bloodshot posse. Fortunately Lemire avoids the horror movie trope of showing the contagion slowly spreading. The buildup to the initial contamination isn’t shown nor is it necessary once we discover how it is spread. Instead, he thrusts us into the thick of it, making for a far more thrilling read. PRS is not done by a long shot, however, and it will make for fun reading to see how this drama plays out. The final page is a shocker and will have you demanding more.
Valiant-exclusive artist Doug Braithwaite takes on artistic duties for the story. Braithwaite’s work should be familiar to Valiant fans. He launched both Unity and Imperium and seems to be a premiere go-to for events and new launches. And for good reason. Braithwaite does an outstanding job visually telling the story, excelling in creating emotion in large crowd scenes while keeping the chaos controlled for easy understanding. His work is easily identifiable with his distinctive line work and character facial planes. The book has a strong penciled look. The lines appear to not be inked, just heavily penciled, giving them a more organic feel.
Colorist Brian Reber, also a Valiant exclusive, is a good match for Braithwaite’s talents. This is a beautifully colored book. His colors match the emotion and situation of each scene, from the coldness and detachment of a science lab to the heat and panic of chaos. Attention is paid to detail, making the panels seem more realistic. For example, the light and gradient colors of window reflections juxtaposed with the more solid colors of people and the semi-transparency of heat and flame – all are elements within one panel, and he gives each its own treatment. With Braithwaite’s penciled outlines and shading, Reber’s colors sometimes appear to be done by hand with colored pencil rather than digitally.
Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 is a thrill-ride that will make you beg for more. This should be first on your reading list this week. Don’t discount this event as filler or being done for shock value. As with all of Lemire’s work, there is more depth here than just an action-adventure story. Fans of Bloodshot and of the larger Valiant Universe will enjoy this engrossing tale.