No matter what incarnation Bloodshot is, the center of his traumas will always be Project Spirit Rising. Created in 1992, Ray Garrison is a living weapon implanted with false memories. Now Bloodshot is on assignment to take out one of PSR’s alien weapons gone horribly wrong and meets up with X-O Manowar. Also known as Aric of Dacia, X-O has a sentient space suit bonded to him. In ancient times he was abducted by the Vine, aliens who enslaved him. He led a revolt in which he found the suit, who chose him and has been arrogantly finding his own way in the world since winning his freedom. Apparently, this joint assignment consists of a bogeyman of the Vine’s in a town forsaken and filled with false hope.
The nanites in Ray’s body makes him nearly indestructible, but it doesn’t prevent him from listening to Aric’s nagging or having conversations with the sentient suit Shanhara. Although he’s a soldier, Ray’s objective always seems to go against his PSR programming. There’s always someone to save, something to salvage. Whereas Aric is a traditionalist, create scorch earth to eliminate the threat.
Written by Deniz Camp it seems that all of Aric’s pomposity is undercut by Jon Davis-Hunt et Al’s artwork with that blonde man-bun where it’s hard to take him seriously. Perhaps that’s why Ray’s humanity is undermined from Aric is when he is in full Manowar armor. That helmet acts as a false reflection of what it means to be human. Aric is so far removed from people that he in a sense is bonded to his alien symbiote in mind and body and takes point in directing how to get rid of the alien menace by sacrificing Ray’s body. But the nanites in Ray’s blood work within him to keep him alive. It’s shown in the panels when both Ray and Aric are thrown into a pit. Aric uses his armor, meanwhile, Ray is being torn apart and brings himself back together.
In a town called Faithful Ray is reminded of his wife Magic as he’s sung to by what may be a holographic image, or a PSR control, that’s some form of artificial intelligence that seems to be programmed, but to what end? It’s only seen by Ray and as the reader we see the subtleties of the holograms fuzzy imaging that only Ray believes exists. Still, what brings this story together is the fanaticism of false hope and the choices made by the main principles in this comic. Aric medically cuts while Ray remains thoughtful. He considers what makes him human, knowing hunger, feeling lost, remembering happiness. He listens to the hologram sing him a lullaby, comforting him. Essentially, Ray’s journey continues to remind us all that what makes you human, in part is questioning.
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