By Patrick Wolf
Some of the best stories I’ve ever read had incredibly boring intros. Examples that come to mind are Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Sakaki’s Scrapped Princess, and Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. While it’s too early to tell if Bloodshot Salvation belongs in the same category as these titans, one thing is clear: its first issue is definitely skimpy on the action.
Bloodshot Salvation takes place during Ray’s (Bloodshot’s) retirement from vigilantism. Unfortunately, his days of living the simple life are about to take a turn when his wife suddenly receives a sinister phone call from her long-lost uncle. The uncle claims he’s going to take the family back at any cost—even if it means Ray has to be taken out of the picture. Will Ray be able to stave off the bloodshot persona, or will he be forced to return to his old ways and become the Bloodshot once more?
Have you ever gone to a carnival and waited in line for a ride only to discover the wait was not worth the payoff? Years ago, my wife and I waited nearly an hour to get on a Farris wheel. After that, we waited another twenty minutes for everyone to get strapped-in, and then finally another twenty until everyone was unbuckled. I can tell you this with an absolute certainty: the five minutes of spinning around was definitely not worth the hour and forty minutes of waiting. Reading Bloodshot Salvation was kind of a micro version of this experience.
While the story’s not as tedious as waiting in line for an hour, it definitely doesn’t live up to predecessors. The installment was basically just a long setup followed by a short burst of action. Most of the issue consists of showing us Ray’s new family life with a few flash-forwards in between. Now, while I’m no storytelling wiz, I do know successful stories try to start as close to the action as possible. I get it that the writing staff first wants to show us ‘the hero in his normal life’ before moving on to the inciting incident, but you’ve really got to time it well—otherwise, you’ll get an issue like, well, this.
Besides having a slow start, the rest of the issues’ elements are solid enough. LaRosa and Suayan’s artwork is spot-on, and Reber’s colors are perfectly rendered. The writing is also done very well. The only nitpick I have is that some of the thugs spoke a little too grammatically correct. I would’ve preferred them saying things like ‘get outta here’ than ‘get out of here’, but it’s not really a big deal. Overall, Bloodshot Salvation isn’t terrible, it’s just not action-packed enough for me to rave about its excellence. I’ll need to see a few more issues before I can make a better judgment. Until then, be warned.
Bloodshot Salvation #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Lewis LaRosa & Mico Suayan
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Valiant Comics