Bloodshot Salvation #12
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
The final issue of Bloodshot: Salvation comes to a close with heavy violence and a problematic message. It is to be expected that a Bloodshot title would end in a bloody graphic showdown. Bloodshot, when created, was after all meant to be a Punisher anti-hero for the Valiant universe. There is plenty of violence and showdowns, but oddly it feels as if the focus is on the wrong ones.
Rampage is the deadly villain of series. He is the basic Bloodshot-except-for-evil trope. The series’ previous issues did some service by giving Rampage an interesting backstory. His powers are still basic and rely on his strength and guns to kill whoever is in his way. I expected a bit of a showdown between Bloodshot and Rampage. There is a brief fight but only a few panels long.
Instead Punk Mambo, a character that has guest-starred frequently in the series comes in to handle Rampage. That in itself would be an interesting fight since she is a Voodoo sorceress, but that fight happens off-panel! It was a bit of a letdown for me.
The main plot of Ray (Bloodshot) and his wife, Magic, getting their daughter back is the focus of the book. The plot ends nicely and leaves the book in a way that would be easy to pick up for another series. The state of the other plots feel a bit more hit and miss. The major misfire for me was the message of the book. Throughout the series, Ray had made some decisions that had some heavy consequences.
Magic’s father became aware of Jessie’s existence and tried to steal her after Bloodshot went looking for him. Bloodshot had to make a deal with Baron Samedi that led to him having to kill an innocent man. The story ends with the idea that you can do horrible things if it means protecting yourself and your family. The message is understandable. Anyone with a family probably feels they would do anything for them. To me, it felt like Ray should learn that his solutions only lead to more violence. I think the book tried to tell me that Bloodshot is a man that only knows how to solve problems with violence. The problem is that message was a little lost until I really tried to come up with a theme on my own.
I wish there had been a bit more of Bloodshot 4000 A.D. since he was a pretty interesting concept. The character nicely bookends the series. I wish we got to explore his character more. It felt like the title wanted to save him for later stories and that is understandable.
The art is not my favorite of the series, but I did enjoy the team more than the last issue. Some work could still be done with facial expressions. The art could also have a more cinematic look that would give you a better idea of what is going on. I did enjoy some of the panels, though. The pacing felt good for a concluding issue. There are some panels with Bloodhound possessed in 4000 that felt chilling.
This issue is a satisfying but underwhelming conclusion to a series that had some ups and downs. It is important to remember the series started before Valiant was bought out by a Chinese company so they could market to a new audience. It is possible that altered the path of the series. I would pass on this issue. There are not enough high points to give it a full recommendation.
Bloodshot Salvation #12
The Salvation series ends with a satisfying but underwhelming conclusion. There is an interesting story here, but the team lost focus. The ending confuses the book's message and does an average job trying to tell that message. The change in management halfway through the series might have derailed the strong momentum started at the beginning.