Synopsis:¬†The bloodshot virus continues to rip Manhattan apart. As the body count rises, America final defenders are all but beaten. All hope seems lost, but all is going according to plan for Kozol¬†(the mastermind behind the mayhem) and Rising Spirit. Bloodshot realizes that he cannot save the day. The only hope to stop the virus is Deathmate; however, how will she do what needs to be done with her memories still fragmented, and what will it cost her?
Review:¬†The final issue of Bloodshot U.S.A.¬†delivers on multiple fronts. Lemire gives the reader both ultra violence and strong emotional beats. The love triangle between Bloodshot, Deathmate, the former Geomancer and ward of Bloodshot, and Magic feels credible.¬†These people have been through terrible ordeals, and it is no wonder that they would gravitate towards each other. Each woman represents the past and future for Bloodshot. His decision to choose Magic shows the character’s resolve to past the horrors that marred him. Interestingly, the resolution cannot come from Bloodshot. Deathmate is the one that ens the plague. A plague that really a metaphor for embracing the trauma that has blighted one’s life and literally rising above it. A fitting end to a book that was equal parts bloodbath and personal growth.
With this event being what it was, the art had to be flexible. Pages would go from brutal fight scenes to interpersonal confrontations reminiscent of Dawson’s Creek.¬†Both the first and last few panels really drive home the emotional torment these characters find themselves in. This is a powerful way to bookend this story, and the pencils and colors enrich the moment dramatically. Also,¬†how Braithwaite draws Deathmate ending the virus is positively gorgeous. High marks are deserved.
On the surface, Bloodshot may have appeared to be the standard knockout event, but it was able to give so much more than anticipated. With the right balance of character development and carnage, Valiant’s latest event shows that major event book can also be heartfelt and leave a character transformed without using gimmicks or ordinary plot devices. Kudos to the creative team. Bloodshot U.S.A.¬†was a captivating departure from the norm, and it will stand as a solid story for years to come.