Title: Bloodshot Salvation
Publisher: Valiant
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Jeff Lemire with Renato Guedes
Letters: Simon Bowland
Publication Date: March 7, 2018

Publisher’s Summary: “Master storyteller Jeff Lemire takes the helm for the year’s most terrifying, most memorable special issue – told entirely in PITCH-BLACK DARKNESS!

“Deployed into the demonic realm called Deadside in search of a cure for his ailing infant daughter, Bloodshot has lost the one sense he needs most to navigate the land of the dead: his sight. Blinded with only his four-legged ally, Bloodhound, to aid him, Ray Garrison must fight onward as one man against the darkness – even as he is beset from all sides by a horde of inhuman entities that crave only death, suffering, and slaughter…

“Told in total darkness from Bloodshot’s point of view, “THE BOOK OF THE DEAD” enters uncharted territory with a seminal experiment in storytelling written and staged by Eisner Award-winning visionary Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer, Animal Man)!”

Story:

Blind and essentially powerless, Ray Garrison steps into the Deadside with the slimmest hope that he might be able to save his daughter. He does not know what else to do. He is out of options and she is doomed if he fails. Wracked with guilt and unconcerned for his own safety he has no choice but to move forward regardless of hazards or of outcome.

Writing:

In Bloodshot Salvation #7 it is Jeff Lemire’s words alone that tell the story. He sets the scene and paints a picture with only descriptions and dialogue with those that cannot reply. Yet somehow the horrors of Deadside are as vibrant and unlimited as imagination can be. Lemire is making the reader see with their own mind’s eye, face their own phantoms and get drawn into a truly remarkable experience.

Artwork:

Space, movement, the passage of time, emotion, and peril, among other things, must be portrayed in the art of a comic book. It is amazing however, that in this book these things are accomplished without any conventional drawings. With just words, frames and limitless darkness, Lemire conveys all the necessary components to produce abject terror. We are compelled through the story by the arrangement of panels. We are isolated by the manipulation of negative space. Ultimately, we are forced to suffer in the horrific dreamscapes of our own imagination and the result is astounding. I am absolutely blown away. I have never seen anything like this.

The Bottom Line:

You would think that a story told in near complete darkness would have the strongest tools of a visual medium taken away, but not here. This is an amazing story told with unbelievable skill. Bloodshot Salvation #7 is a masterclass on how to pull readers into a story and force them to use their imagination. This is an unprecedented effort that succeeds in the best possible way, and it is well deserving of the highest possible score.