“Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities.”
― The Prophet Jeremiah, Lamentations 5:7
Late in 2014, writer Jeff Lemire was afforded the opportunity to re-create Valiant Entertainment’s Bloodshot from the ground up. This effort began with received mini-series The Valiant #1 through #4, where (three year old spoiler alert!) Bloodshot lost his powers. This creative decision allowed Lemire the chance to focus on developing Ray Garrison (the man who is Bloodshot) in Bloodshot Reborn #1 through #18 from 2015 to 2016 to forge a more relatable connection to his character. Lemire’s vision led to the Bloodshot U.S.A. #1 through #4 mini-series in 2016 to 2017, and was followed by Bloodshot Reborn #0, and a one shot, Bloodshot’s Day Off #1.
Bloodshot Salvation #1 commences the next phase of the Bloodshot mythos. (NOTE: Lemire also wrote the one-shot 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot #1 in 2016 that, aside from being a phenomenal book, teased significant events in Bloodshot’s future for the next several hundred, maybe thousand years. Lemire did not forget these events; they are unfolding in greater detail with each issue, and are moving forward with Bloodshot Salvation). For those familiar with Lemire’s work, he likes to think far ahead and allow his creative vision to unfold over time spanning multiple issues. Since taking creative control of Bloodshot in 2015, he has offered up some of the absolute finest and most consistent plot and character development the title has seen. Ever. There is no question that Bloodshot Salvation continues this tradition of excellence.
To tell this story, Lemire could not have a better artistic team than the pairing of Mico Suayan and Lewis LaRosa. Friends, rivals, and colleagues; Suayan and LaRosa have each created some of the most iconic and significant artwork that Valiant Entertainment has published to date. Pairing these two artists together is sort of like having both a Hennessey Venom GT and a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in your car garage: you not only feel as though you have something special in front of your eyes, but you actually do.
Suayan’s artwork depicts events that occur in the near future. He brilliantly employs a traditional artistic approach with clean, sharp lines and both hatching and cross hatching to create contour and depth. His proportions, anatomy, backgrounds, vehicles, and pretty much everything are surgically precise and natural. His faces are consistent, and depict the appropriate emotion and mood for events that occur. Suayan media changes slightly when he introduced (spoiler) Rampage, where he uses Copic Markers to create a wet and muscular physique with extreme contrast for Rampage’s white hair.
The result is a menacing and superhuman villain that literally comes to lie on the page directly in front of the reader’s eyes. Suayan has worked with Valiant since the 2012 re-launch, and was behind some of the most iconic covers with Archer & Armstrong #1, Bloodshot #1, and Harbinger #1.
It is important tot note that (to date) only two Valiant artists have received “Director’s Cut” special editions for their raw, uncolored artwork: Mico Suayan with Bloodshot Reborn #14, and Lewis LaRosa with Bloodshot Reborn #10. This alone speaks volumes on the artistic ability that these two giants share.
For events that occur in the present, artist Lewis LaRosa uses his signature Copic Markers to great effect. Each of LaRosa’s pages and panels are rich and textured with an almost dream-like quality to them. LaRosa and Suayan have long taken different paths in how they choose to depict Ray Garrison (Bloodshot). LaRosa. Suayan draws Bloodshot as a super soldier at or about 200 lbs and life-like muscular anatomy, whereas LaRosa draws Bloodshot as a monstrous brawler and war machine at or about 260 lbs with superhuman muscular anatomy. Both are equally amazing, while clearly contrasting in style. LaRosa’s artwork is full of depth, contour, and emotion. His work is similar to legendary artist Alex Ross.
Colorist Brian Reber is always the best choice to work with artists of this caliber. Reber possess the skill and experience to work with two of the best artists in the game, and actually make their work shine brighter! The three of these artists on one book is an absolute dream team!
Bloodshot Salvation #1 is an artistic masterpiece by three of the finest artists in comic books today! It is a brilliant story that continues a tradition of excellence as only Jeff Lemire can create. Not to be missed, and guaranteed to be enjoyed; Bloodshot Salvation is a total win!