Ah, the inevitable zero issue where there’s a break from the main story in order to give the origin of the title character. It’s Bloodshot’s turn this month and we finally get some answers as to who and what he is. Major Spoilers has your review after the jump.
Provoking scientific ideas
The art rocks
Tired use of killing kids and women
Some story points unclear
Previously in Bloodshot: Project Rising Spirit created the perfect killing machine with Bloodshot. A man full of nanites able to kill, regenerate and do just about anything they want him to. Now he has gone rogue, learning his memories are false and wanting to know just who or what he is.
YOU CAN TELL HE’S MEAN, HE SHOT A KID IN THE FACE
Bloodshot has always been a violent book from the start. Almost every issue has someone getting shot, dismembered or blown to pieces including Bloodshot himself. This issue shows Bloodshot has been doing his duty for quite a while. It starts in 1992 as Bloodshot extracts a doctor from the Middle East. Of course, being the ruthless killing machine he is, anyone unlucky enough to stand in his way is murdered. This includes women and children. A scientist is brought in to give Bloodshot a conscience in order to reduce the “collateral damage” which morphs into the scientist wanting to give Bloodshot a soul.
While I have no problem with extreme violence in comics, I have become frustrated with the use of killing innocent women and children to demonstrate how evil a character is. Bloodshot, on panel, shoots a woman and her young (and I mean young) son because there must be no witnesses. There are other images of elderly women and children lying dead on a beach. This all felt unnecessary as we’ve seen Bloodshot’s ruthlessness before and there was no need to bring it to this level. It’s a tired character trait and extremely excessive for this issue and I expected a writer like Kindt to do better.
The issue really shines with the scientific ideas presented. Matt Kindt is no stranger to the use of implanted memories and thoughts and it’s used here as Bloodshot is given ones of dead soldiers. The scene where the narrator kills a wounded man with nanites while measuring his weight to prove that the soul exists was provoking and unsettling at the same time. Kindt does a great job of slowly showing the metamorphosis to the scientist’s ultimate result and a man of science proving the existence of the supernatural was a wonderful touch. By the end, we get a glimpse of the Bloodshot we currently know, though whether it was a success is unclear. With our current lead, it appears so since he feels guilty and angry for being a puppet. Some aspects are still unclear such as whether the body being used for Bloodshot has been the same all along. His appearance only slightly differs from each period and a new soldier is used in the end but until that point, the answer is extremely vague. Overall, Kindt created a compelling origin for the character with more grace than others might have but aspects of the execution were lacking.
CHUNKY PARTS EVERYWHERE
ChrisCross (whose name I won’t even begin to touch but is listed as such in the credits) does excellent artwork. Each panel is filled with detail and the action scenes look as if they’re straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster. The extreme violence is done so well that when the blood and chunkiness start flying, it’s almost sickening. This works in its favor as to give a real world sense to the events and showing just how violent the results of war are. My main problem lies in the appearance of Bloodshot’s face. Each version looks the same, which only added to the confusion with that element of the story. Other than that, I have nothing negative to say and his work is definitely one of the best things about the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: STRONG WITH SOME MISFIRES
Bloodshot #0 is a good, strong book but some of the storytelling elements are problematic. The overuse of violence toward women and children is unnecessary and excessive. Matt Kindt provides compelling ideas of whether a soul scientifically exists and if it can be recreated. ChrisCross, including having a great name, gives fantastic artwork, making it look like an action movie. While not quite living up to the quality the Bloodshot title has provided in the past, Bloodshot #0 earns a respectable 3 out of 5 stars.