Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Lewis Larosa, Mico Suayan
Colour by:Brian Reber
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Cover by: Kenneth Rocafort
Published by: Valiant Comics
About two and a half years ago, Jeff Lemire began a Herculean task- taking Valiant’s most “90’s cliche” hero, and turning him into something great. You can see the throughline with that task, starting with The Valiant, running through Bloodshot Reborn and Bloodshot USA, and now the next act is about to start with Bloodshot Salvation. I’ll tell you right now, in a single issue, this is a must-read series, and I’ll tell you why.
The plot of the first issue has already been spoiled by the press out there for issue. Ray Garrison, his wife (girlfriend?) Magic, and their newborn daughter Jessie are trying to settle into a normal life Bloodshot-free, when Magic’s cult-leader (or crime boss… or both) father re-enters their life. Meanwhile, about 8 years in the future, Jessie (now sporting her father’s trademark complexion and eye color) and Magic are on the run, and Ray is missing/assumed dead.
I’m saying this having only read a little bit of the seminal classic, but this issue reminds me of Preacher. I absolutely mean that as a compliment too. Even though Ray and Magic are settled, the Magic and Jesse portions of the issue give the story a road trip feel. Add Magic’s father, who just carries the wonderful creep factor of a 90’s Vertigo villain… it’s a wonderful combination.
Lemire gets his hooks in immediately. The dual timelines are a fun device that I hope carries through the series for a while. Ray’s growth continues to impress, here coming across as a blue collar man who just wants to do right by his family. The relationship between Magic and Ray is great too. There’s a great maturity, and Lemire doesn’t go for the cliched reactions and behavior when Ray makes a mistake.
The art team of Lewis Larosa on the present day sequence and Mico Suayan for the future set sequences really set it further apart. Valiant had a bit of a house style (which isn’t necessarily bad), but both of these artists have a bit more of a painted style, which sets apart from the rest of Valiant’s output. Brian Reber’s colors reinforce that, making both line artist’s work pop. Reber also helps set the two sequences apart, using a more dour palate on the future sequences.
In all, this is a damn near perfect package. Buy it when it’s out on 9/20. Between this and XO Manowar, Valiant is putting out some of the best books on the market right now.