Bloodshot’s Day Off
Writer: Eliot Rahel
Art: Khari Evans
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Tank Man and Viet Man take a day off in a rich, poignant character issue.
What You Need To Know:
Project Rising Spirit has created the ultimate soldiers; the Bloodshots. The issue focuses in on Tank Man and Viet Man, two soldiers with very different backgrounds, who’ve accumulated over 20,000 hours of uninterrupted active military duty. It’s time they had a day off!
You don’t need any background knowledge to pick this book up. It’s a character piece that explores their backstories in a fascinating way.
What You’ll Find Out
The book opens with a quick summary of what Bloodshots are, but from there it dives into the histories of both Tank Man and Viet Man. Its focus is simple; what does it cost to be a soldier?
For Tank Man, the issue explores a ‘man out of time’ vibe that will be familiar to any fans of Captain America, revealing a personal side to his story that’s pretty touching. Where he was a willing recruit, though, Viet Man is very different. He returns to his family, who believe he died during the Vietnam War, and arrives just in time for his father’s death.
What Just Happened?
The issue is fascinating and poignant, exploring both characters’ backstories in fascinating ways. Take Tank Man; at first glance he feels like a riff on Captain America, but the note of tragedy is a little bit more poignant. Eliot Rahel dives into a backstory that’s full of emotional power, exploring how love of his fiancée led Tank Man to become a Bloodshot, even though he knew he could never see her again.
Rahel puts together an arc with a beautiful sense of ‘man out of time,’ exploring themes of loss and regret in touching ways. There’s a conversation with what Tank Man takes to be a familiar face, and a graveyard scene that really tugs on the heartstrings.
Viet Man is very different. He’s a man who wouldn’t back down and run from the draft, and so wound up in the Vietnam War. In contrast to Tank Man, he never chose this, and the dynamic is so very different. There’s a touching reunion with Viet Man’s dying father, but you really feel a sense of loss when he leaves, realising he doesn’t recognise anyone else there after all these years.
This is a character issue, celebrating 25 years of Bloodshot comics. It’s tremendously well done, and the closing scenes are surprisingly powerful. Rahel’s script effectively explores the characters, while the artistic team works hard to lend each scene with real emotion. They’re generally successful, although there are a couple of minor off-notes.
When a character issue is done well, it has the power to tug on the heartstrings like nothing else. This is one of those comics.