Bloodshot Salvation #12 Answers The Question: Salvation Or Damnation?

by Tony Thornley

Bloodshot has been through a year of absolute hell. Now, in this final issue, the title becomes clear. Can the hero find Salvation or will he be damned by his actions?

One of the most fascinating things about limited run series is how the limited space can give a story more weight. It’s something Jeff Lemire has done so well with his Bloodshot Salvation run. There’s been a goal and the story hasn’t meandered to get there, and this series is better for it. In this final issue, Lemire, Doug Braithwaite, Jordge Bellaire and Simon Bowland bring this chapter of Bloodshot’s life to a close.
[**Spoilers below!]
Ray is still standing over the body of the man he’s murdered in 4002 as the story opens. He confronts his future self about the actions he’s taken as Baron Samedi’s magic returns him home. Meanwhile the past Bloodshots and Magic have loaded up to face down Omen and rescue Jesse.
Rampage begins to tear them apart when Punk Mambo teleports Ray into the middle of the fight. Ray and Magic find Jesse, who has used her abilities to free herself and kill her captors. The family issues an ultimatum to the head of Omen- follow them and die.

Lemire is able to make an all-action issue emotionally satisfying as well. The past Bloodshots are given heroic send offs (but because they’re a Bloodshot, they survive). Ray, Magic and Jesse are reunited. Omen is still present as a threat, but is effectively neutered. Everything we’ve needed to see since #1 is here, but it’s paid off in an incredibly satisfying way.
Braithwaite and Bellaire remain in perfect lockstep. The issue is full of brilliant action. One thing Doug does so well is depict how cold Jesse is. She’s absolutely chilling, but she maintains her childlike innocence and demeanor.
The action is also great. It’s brutal and realistic violence. Yes, it’s heightened by the situation, but it’s also incredibly real.
Jordie is a crucial part of the team here. She brings the fantastic into the story, where Doug grounds it. She plays with effects and palettes to elevate the story as a whole.
And in the end, the team leaves Bloodshot profoundly changed by this experience. I often say Bloodshot started existence as a 90’s cliche. Lemire has shattered that and built the character back from the ground up.
In the end after about three years, Bloodshot is a well-rounded character. He started as a killing machine who was a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Instead of answering all the questions, Lemire realized they weren’t important. He didn’t give Ray a back story. He gave him a future and a legacy.
He has a family now, and a network of friends. He’s not a mysterious loner, or a solitary gunman. He has something to lose, which makes him so much more interesting than he ever was before.
Now that this epic is done, I’m going to go back and read it from the beginning. This is one of the best runs of superhero comics in the past decade, and is simply great.

So does Bloodshot find salvation or damnation? He actually finds both… and he’s okay with that.
Bloodshot Salvation #12 is currently available from Valiant Entertainment.

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