“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”
― Orson Welles
Valiant Entertainment’s Bloodshot U.S.A. #3 is a complete success both visually and in writing. Writer Jeff Lemire brilliantly incorporates plot styles and elements from his work on 2014’s The Valiant mini-series to drive forward character development and interaction. There is a psychological focus to this story, though there’s no shortage of action. Lemire creates a story where (presently) it appears that there may not be a positive outcome where good triumphs over evil, but rather one where characters are faced with only bad choices for the (debatably) best outcome. Lemire also adds a new (complicated) layer to Bloodshot’s relationship(s) that is unlikely to end without creating new baggage or emotional problems. These elements blend together to create a strong story, that is both visually stunning and an enjoyable read.
Artist Doug Braithwaite demonstrates in no uncertain terms why he is one of the best artists working with Valiant Entertainment today. Braithwaite is both detailed and consistent when drawing characters, and is able to capture the nuanced masculine and feminine physical differences. He also depicts characters at multiple ages and levels of physical development, which is often a difficult task for many artists. Action panels flow well, and character emotion is depicted appropriate to the story and scene. Colors are provided by Brian Reber, who is on Valiant’s A-List of creators and artists. Characters are colored with a minimum of three shades to provide dimension and life-like appearances. Backgrounds are vibrant with color gradation providing depth to each panel with smoke, fire, and computer blue hues all in the correct places.
Bloodshot U.S.A. is Bloodshot Reborn. It is the next chapter in Lemire’s epic that is no where close to finished, and promises so much more in the future. After rebuilding the Bloodshot character in The Valiant, Lemire has consistently given fans and readers a relatable and respectable protagonist, who has been rendered by some of the very best artists Valiant has to offer. Artists Doug Braithwaite, Lewis LaRosa, and Mico Suayan each have given their version of Bloodshot, and each has knocked it out of the park without even once disappointing. Obviously there are differences with each artists’s interpretations of how each character should look; however, there can be no debate about the quality of each. Braithwaite’s version of former Special Agent Diane Festival is (arguably) the best of of the series (to include Bloodshot: Reborn).
If you are looking for a well-crafted, multi-layered story with quality artwork depicting ninjas, zombies, and giant robots fighting in New York with a backdrop of impending romantic doom, well, you need to be reading Bloodshot U.S.A.