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Deadpool and Bloodshot: Long Lost Members of the Same Tribe?

The Bloodshot comic book character from Valiant Entertainment

Did you hear about that Deadpool / Jason Bourne crossover? It came out 24 years ago and it’s called Bloodshot.

There’s no getting around the similarities that Bloodshot shares with Deadpool. If un-killable mercenaries were vegetables, these would be two peas in a pod. The latter first graced the pages of a comic book in early 1991, with the former not following suit until nearly two years later, so it’s fair to speculate that Bloodshot’s creators, Kevin VanHook and Yvel Guichet, drew some serious inspiration from Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza’s Deadpool character.

Bloodshot is also very much like Robert Ludlum’s fictional assassin Jason Bourne, in that both men are highly trained killers who have a hard time remembering how they got that way. Aside from a few incidentals, that’s pretty much where the similarities between Bloodshot and Bourne come to an end. As for Bloodshot and Deadpool, though, we’re just getting started…

Both Deadpool (Wade Wilson) and Bloodshot (Angel Mortalli) served in the military as young adults, choosing afterward to become mercenaries – Wilson as a “taking out the trash for the highest bidder” kind of guy, and Mortalli a contract killer for the mafia.

We can imagine that neither foresaw what fate would bring about in their lives, turning them into the unwitting victims of genetic experimentation (who isn’t, these days?) at the hands of manic villains (who else?), villains who just happened to share the common goal of creating “ultimate killing machines” (are there shockingly few villainous schemes at work in the criminal world, or is it just me?).

That’s Not That Similar, Right?

Image: Marvel Comics

Image: Marvel Comics

Did I say we’re done yet? Nope, not even close. As it happens, both characters were disfigured by the experimentation they underwent, but also gained some awesome abilities – namely, the power to heal themselves from literally any injury. (Maybe they were given blood transfusions from one of these crazy amphibians that can re-grow all of its body parts.)

They also both have a big thing for guns and – yup, you guessed it – swords. Of course, neither one minds mixing it up close combat style either, since both are excellent hand-to-hand fighters (naturally).There are some other commonalities I could bring up, but I think explaining how they’re both disfigured, invincible,  gun-and-sword-toting mercenaries with shadowy pasts and a chip on their shoulders pretty much gets my point across.

Bloodshot comic book character

Image: Valiant Entertainment

Now, you might think that Bloodshot is an example of pastiche, or possibly even plagiarism, seeing as how he’s almost more similar to Deadpool than he is different. Maybe he is, I don’t know. Then again, according to his creators, Deadpool himself is a character heavily influenced by two other famous comic book superheroes: Spider-Man and Wolverine.

And really, what comic book character isn’t heavily influenced by those that came before? It can even be downright annoying how unoriginal some characters -and storylines – seem (which is why it’s great we have so many comics to choose from). If Deadpool and Bloodshot just seem too similar, chalk it up to the multi-verse, or something like that.

After all, Bloodshot isn’t a Marvel Comics character, so he and Deadpool effectively don’t know that one another exist (it could make a great crossover, though). Beyond that, they aren’t carbon copies; there’s a uniqueness to each character that makes them both fun to follow as they go about their individual murderous lives.

How Are Bloodshot and Deadpool Different – And Who Would Win in a Fight?

First of all, Deadpool has the singular distinction of being the “merc with a mouth,” a title Bloodshot really isn’t in the running for. Granted, he’s intelligent and witty, but he’s no comedian, and he seems pretty content to stay on his side of the so-called “fourth wall”.

Deadpool also has frequent use of a device that allows him to teleport, something Bloodshot isn’t privileged with. As it turns out, he doesn’t really need to teleport to get the job done (neither does Deadpool – he tends to leave the teleportation device at home because it makes his job “too easy”).

Meanwhile, Bloodshot does have some other stuff going on. Basically, his bloodstream is carting around billions of microscopic “nanites,” which not only are responsible for his healing/regeneration powers, but also give him a chameleon-esque ability to camouflage himself by changing his skin color. It works so well that it effectively renders him invisible to the naked eye…pretty sweet, right?

Image from the WildStar comic miniseries

WildStar: The Best Miniseries You Probably Missed From 20 Years Ago

I discovered the WildStar comic miniseries when I was about 18, and it was a total accident. The truth is, if I had seen WildStar on a rack at the local comic shop (and coming from rural Georgia, when I say “local comic shop,” I naturally mean county flea market) I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at it. That was back before I understood that if you see great penciling, inking, and coloring (like Al Gordon and Jerry Ordway did for WildStar, which, incidentally, was their creation), then chances are you have a good story on your hands as well. Anyway, as chance would have it [Click here to read more…]

Somehow or another, he can also use the nanites to create a sonic scream, which he doesn’t use very often (presumably because he’s embarrassed by having such a lame ability, or maybe because it hurts his own ears). To top it off, his essentially-cybernetic body is able to instantly commandeer and control anything digital in his environment. Oh yeah, and what would nanites be good for if they didn’t also enhance your strength, speed, and agility?

As far as who would win in a fight, uh…did you miss the whole “invincible” part? On the other hand, if by “win,” you mean “chop the other one into pieces faster and run away before they heal themselves,” well, then, your guess is as good as mine.

Seriously, Though, Bloodshot is a Great Comic.

Despite being somewhat of a copycat character, Bloodshot is, in quite a few instances, just as good of a read as any Deadpool comic, and sometimes better. You don’t even have to take my word for it. Bloodshot #1 got the distinguished Diamond Distributors award for “Best Comic” when it came out back in 1992, and a more recent Bloodshot series was listed among the “Top Ten of 2012” by Nerdage.

It’s such a fun comic to read that I’m actually hoping it won’t get made into a movie, despite current plans for that to happen. (Regardless, the character already has a home on screen in Valiant Entertainment’s upcoming web series Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe.) Can’t the comic books keep one for themselves every once in a while? But seriously, who am I kidding? I’d watch that movie, as long as they promise to leave the sonic screaming out.

Featured Image: Valiant Entertainment

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for the great article. It’s a fun read and I’m thankful that there’s interest in something I was involved with all those years ago. I do need to point out that even as of today, I’ve never read a Deadpool comic book. I LOVED the movie and I consider myself friends with both Fabian and Rob, I just never read that particular character. So, you can imagine my surprise to read the article saying that probably drew serious influence from it. My influences came from Mike Grell’s gritty Jon Sable on the Action side and my love of science in general and things like Terminator on the Science-Fiction aspect. It’s an interesting theory, but Scout’s Honor– I never read a Deadpool comic book and didn’t even know it came out in ’91 until I just read the article.

    1. Ryan

      No, Kevin, thank YOU for reading and commenting!

      I’ve only read a handful of Deadpool comics myself (but every one of the original Bloodshot run at least three times) and I never thought about how similar the characters were until I started looking for an angle to approach this article with. I’m glad to know a little more backstory now, and I’m grateful to SciFi Addicts for giving me this opportunity to write about a lesser-known comic that I really enjoyed reading!

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