Review: 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot #1

This one-shot is not a direct tie-in to the 4001 A.D. event. The connection to Rai’s space catastrophe is tenuous and exists only as a brief mention and an excuse to glimpse the fate of Raymond Garrison and the life he chose. Through what appears to be an act of programming, this story effectively examines the aftermath of a character’s life while celebrating the work ahead of his successor. The action beats are decent, brief, and always in service of expressing Bloodshot's dual nature. He is a colony of machines enacting their directives. And he a legacy of multiple lifetimes, only really exerting volition upon discovering his nature. Though the acts of the man he was have passed into memory, Bloodshot’s sentimentality shows evidence that the soul of the remains. Bloodshot’s dispassionate manner of dispatching foes is an excuse for some violence in an otherwise quiet tale. It is a bit gratuitous, but I guess something has to pose as an obstacle. The book’s pacing is brisk, leaving behind much of the unnecessary exposition you might expect. That’s not to say there isn’t a ton of exposition. Bloodshot spends most of 4001-BLOOD_001_COVER-B_CAFUthe story working through identity issues using robotic, mildly child-like reasoning. His behavior keeps you at a distance, wondering what goes on in his mind. In the end, we’re left wondering how Bloodshot will define and motivate himself going forward from these future events.

Braithwaite’s art is utilitarian. He isn’t given much to work with visually. The book is mostly driven by inner monologue. Everything else is simply happening around Blooshot. He comes across as a passenger in this story more than a participant -- a product of someone else’s emotions. So he doesn’t emote at all. That may be a writing problem and not an art problem, though.

It all adds up to what feels like a very complete, generally satisfying science fiction story. However, as a tie-in to this year’s Valiant event, 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot is inessential.

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4001 A.D.: Bloodshot #1 Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist: Doug Braithwaite Colorist: Brian Reber Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/8/16 Format: One-shot; Print/Digital