Bloodshot #6: Continuing the Trend of Absurd Action and Antics
Written By Tim Seeley
Art by Brett Booth
Colors by Andrew Dalhouse
Published by Valiant Entertainment
The Long Shot Arc So Far:
After being recruited into The Burned, a secret and technologically advanced spy organization, Bloodshot is offered their vast array of resources to complete missions as he sees fit on the one condition that he is able to choose who his targets will be and how his missions play out. Bloodshot uses this opportunity to begin working to make sure others are not subject to the clandestine and unethical human experimentation he was subjected to at Project Rising Spirit. The kind of experimentation that leads to the creation of bio-weapons.
Upon infiltrating a Chinese cargo train he stumbles upon a Macro-Nite Spontaneous Bio-Generator who is being forced to spawn monsters from his own flesh by the People’s Liberation Army. Bloodshot takes the necessary measures to end this monstrosity’s suffering and point to a new direction for his future sorties namely: saving Eidolon, a psiot dubbed a “bio-path” who can speak to and control the cells within a person’s body, from a paramilitary group named Black Bar. Bloodshot then capitalizes on an opportunity to rescue her during a mandatory horror movie convention trip only to have Eidolon’s sister arrive with her cult-esque group Sons of the Last Flesh to whisk her away as well. This cliffhanger brings us to Bloodshot #6.
Bloodshot Issue #6 Spoilers Below!
One of the central issues I have had with this new Bloodshot run is its lack of attention or acknowledgement of the past story arcs of the character, namely the continuity established by Jeff Lemire. Just as Bloodshot has struggled to discover his own past, Tim Seeley struggles on how to best present this character with what has occurred in earlier volumes.This issue continues this trend, but where the narrative may lack ties to Bloodshot’s past, it makes up for this by presenting a few completely absurd action scenes and a bit of humor.
Part 3 of The Long Shot begins with a direct continuation of the previous issue’s plot with the Sons of the Last Flesh attempting to persuade Eidolon, Mina is her real name, to heal a member of their ranks. Unfortunately, a scene that is supposed to be heartfelt ultimately falls flat here and an attack ensues. The following set piece introduces us to some the bionically-enhanced Last Flesh and allude to some of experiments they have been doing that are certainly not ethically sound. In one scene, we even see the incubation chambers for the monsters they have been creating termed Hemoborgs. It is during this scene that we also get the only allusion to Bloodshot’s past in the playing a memory file by Eidolon’s sister that references the first issue of the VEI relaunch of Bloodshot, effective fan service for sure. We also learn that Mina has another sister Lucy who is a bat-like creature who has vampire-like tendencies.
This brings me to the first stumble of this issue. So far in 6 issues of this Bloodshot series we have been introduced to a large collection of new characters and organizations, so much so that we as readers are not given time to really care about these characters in any real fashion. We have the Black Bar, Eidolon’s regime, The Burned and now the Sons of the Last Flesh each with their own set of characters vying for narrative time. You can certainly see the problems that can arise from too many variables at play at the same time. However, what occurs after these first few moments of exposition can only be described as absurd.
The quote that has been reiterated time and again from the cover of the first issue rings true still in issue #6. “A gorgeous orchestra of mayhem and insanity..,” can be seen in full form in the action sequences of this issue. Not only does the kinetic energy stored up by Brett Booth’s art explode onto the page figuratively and literally (more on that in a bit); the action does not falter for almost the entirety of the rest of the book. We get scenes of Bloodshot being stabbed, shot and impaled on numerous occasions as well as the cybernetically augmented Sons’ bodies rejecting their enhancements and Eidolon facing down her vampiric sister. A few scenes of particular note involve Bloodshot punching out an agent from Black Bar mid-sentence. The dream of every fan who takes issue with villains who may have a little too much to say before going on the attack.
Another scene sees Bloodshot saving Eidolon from a spear thrown her way to have it impale him to a concrete pillar through the mouth! Then struggling to free himself for a couple of panels.
Lastly, to create a distraction for the Sons of the Flesh and the Black Bar Agents trying to kidnap, that term is used loosely if you know what has happened up to this point, Eidolon she causes Bloodshot’s skin cells to be rejected by his body, “like, at the speed of sound,” throwing skin and blood all over their adversaries. One agent even comments that she has skin in her mouth.
We find the resolution of this issue involving the quarry between Eidolon and her sister Lucy coming to an end with Mina pleading with her sister to leave by saying, “Live free and alone. Enjoy cool breezes and bright stars,” in another failed attempt to pull those heartstrings. The narrative framing works with this particular conflict, but it fails to make its mark. The last page of the issue depicts Bloodshot reflecting on whether he is a monster continuing his quest to find a purpose and some sort of redemption for the horrible acts he committed under Project Rising Spirit’s watch. Then the audience is treated to another absurd act with Eidolon kissing Bloodshot, and in my opinion, the issue’s conclusion is the perfect example of the type of absurdity you would not want to include in a book like this, and left me somewhat baffled as to Seeley’s point in its inclusion.
Bloodshot #6 does a lot right from the high-energy visuals and breakneck pace of the action to the complete absurdity of some of its scenes and humor. This is certainly a welcome change as past issues have struggled to find a consistent footing. The only missteps come in the form of somber scenes that miss their mark because of a lack of character development in past issues. Ultimately, if its pacing and off-the-wall antics can be maintained in future issues while avoiding the previously discussed pitfalls, Bloodshot and company will be able to keep the audience hooked, looking for that next piece of comic book, over-the-top absurdity.