Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #3

Variant Cover by RYAN BODENHEIM
Pre-Order Edition Cover by KEN LASHLEY

Bloodshot is a character that speaks through violence. He’s kind of like an eighties action hero, using guns as a platform to talk about why bad guys need to die. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando (1985), where his retired special forces character, John Matrix, goes after a South American dictator for kidnapping his daughter. Gun, meet bad guy.

Valiant’s nanite-infused hero embodies this idea but is more generous with its variety of bad guy. Kevin Grevioux, Ken Lashley, Oliver Borges, and Ryan Winn are fully aware of this as they approach Bloodshot’s origin story, especially in terms of how the memory of violence shapes the morality of a hero. It’s all constructed one bloody confrontation at a time.

This third entry into the Rising Spirit arc delves into the process behind Project: Rising Spirit. We see how the project indulges in memory implants in the service of manipulating Bloodshot into becoming a living weapon for shadowy organizations. The bad people here take the form of government higher-ups practicing unethical science.

Taking these people out is how Bloodshot will eventually address the question of righteous killing, which allows Grevioux, Lashley, Borges, and Winn to have some fun with Bloodshot’s action-packed memory sequences. They are conveyed with a kinetic force that barely requires the accompanying text. They move the story forward with carefully orchestrated set piece battles that lay bare the villains’ intent. There’s not a single moment lost to mindless action.

One fast-paced run through a fake memory sees Bloodshot’s history of violence stretching back to the sinking of the USS Maine in 1898 (which sparked a war between Spain and the United States). The scene plays out like a spy thriller that starts stealthily but then transitions into an insightful encounter with death and destruction. Project: Rising Spirit seems to have a clear view as to what it hopes to achieve with Bloodshot, mainly in regards to how he can be used to spark world-altering events.

The story feels self-contained and doesn’t necessarily require reading up on a couple of years’ worth of Bloodshot comics. Grevioux’s script keeps things moving forward without gratuitously relying on callbacks to previous arcs. Having said that, it doesn’t hurt to look back at the Jeff Lemire run to get a better sense of how the character tries to live outside the sphere of influence of others.

Bloodshot shares a sense of tragedy with characters like The Punisher given he’s usually going after people that have kept him from having a life beyond killing. Also much like Punisher, Bloodshot’s tragedy regenerates. Lemire managed to give his violence meaning, and Grevioux is doing a good job of nurturing that part of the character.

Rising Spirit #3 keeps Bloodshot’s origin story moving at a calculated pace with a simplicity that is deceiving. The plot is not entirely unique, but it is well-executed. It adds new layers to the character without cutting back on the action. Bloodshot is violence with a purpose. Rising Spirit #3 delivers on that with the promise of much more to come.

Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #3 is slated for release on January 30th, 2019.

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