A comic book with only black panels is not just a short story. Though minimal, there is still artwork involved. That said Jeff Lemire’s seventh installment of ‘Bloodshot: Salvation’ while not earth-shattering, is an example of solid storytelling. Bloodshot is looking for a way to save his infant daughter Jessie. One major problem is that he’s blind while being in the Deadside. The Deadside in the Valiant universe isn’t the place you want to be when all your senses are not at their optimal capacity. Luckily, riding alongside him is the nanite riddled dog he first encountered on Bloodshot Island. Since helping the other bloodshots defeat the secret organization Project Rising Spirit, Hound has been protector to Jessie and partner to Bloodshot. Acting as his eyes they set out to find a cure for Jessie.
The recent ‘Bloodshot’ series is told in nonlinear fashion. Because of this, you may think that there is little tension. However by Lemire utilizing Bloodshot’s other senses, your interaction with the text is intensified. When it seems that someone’s drowning you’ll find yourself holding your breath. When Bloodshot is shooting wildly, you’re going to be counting the bullets to see how many there are left. At one point, to get a sense of the landscape Bloodshot touches what he believes to be the ground. Then you realize what the sensation under his boots truly are. It’s a well-told horror narrative that preys on your fears. Creeping into several panels, at certain points of the story there are slight television-like static disruptions. Bloodshot wills himself to see. One part of you will be cheering him on, the other may think it would be better to forge ahead blindly. Essentially, it takes a capable writer to meld genres. This experiment could easily have been a dud. But, Lemire uses shadow and the disorientation of someone who relies on his sight to be a badass warrior to pull the reader in. Those nanites coursing through Bloodshot, although they are healing him physically, they’re not helping him regain his eyesight. And for most of the comic he seldom follows Hound’s lead, causing him to nearly perish with his daughter several times.
How do you navigate a foreign space when you’re desperate? Even if Bloodshot regains his eyesight, it may not help him. In a place where nightmares are real, where damned, malevolent souls wonder, how is Bloodshot going to find a cure for his daughter? It seems that his life has always been in a state of chaos and unrest. Still, a father as formidable as Bloodshot is going to use every messed up aspect of his life to save Jessie. And if that doesn’t work, there is Hound, who’ll be sure to tear anyone’s throat out, living or dead.