When the Bloodshot movie starring Vin Diesel and Sam Heughan opened in theaters March 13, it was supposed to be the first piece of a carefully planned connection between the film and the comics that would have read beautifully. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Movie theaters closed and the film pivoted to digital, disrupting the next two pieces. The film would soon be available on demand as the studio pivoted to where the audience was in the early days of lockdown (namely, at home). In Valiant Comics' 2020 Free Comic Book Day special, fan favorite characters from the film KT (played by Eiza González) and Wilfred Wigans (Lamorne Morris) were officially introduced in a short story written by Tim Seeley and Jason Masters.
But there was no Free Comic Book Day event around the country, and comic shops' distribution model quickly became a mish-mash of curbside pick-up, online ordering, and anything in-between. Over the past few months, comic publishers have been slowly getting back to their revised 2020 schedules as shops reopen, and the Bloodshot film — which is still available on VOD and on Starz — is returning to theaters as they begin to re-open.
Now Valiant is finally bringing the big screen supporting cast of KT and Wigans into the present-day continuity of the comics in Bloodshot #10, set for release on January 13, 2021. The issue will also be the first installment in the final story arc for Seeley, with art by Brett Booth and Pedro Andreo.
"What doesn't work is that we couldn't control that the movie came out on the first weekend of lockdown," Seeley told SYFY WIRE. "It's part of history! It's crazy because it screwed up everything, but also forced us to do a reset and so I'm glad that the readers stuck with us, because they get it and understood, but us reaching out to this filmgoing audience is so scattered. Something you could have never predicted."
SYFY WIRE is debuting some exclusive preview pages of Bloodshot #10, still uncolored and lettered, but featuring the early appearances of both KT and Wigans:
Movie characters are often created to round out a film adaptation, but rarely are they brought into the comics and given new life. With everyone trying to manipulate and use Bloodshot, Seeley saw an oppurtunity to bring some permanent fixtures to Bloodshot's supporting cast, along with what should be a lot of buddy banter.
This current run on Bloodshot had the title character being pulled from several directions. There was Black Bar, the epitome of the conspiracy theory version of the deep state. The Burn, which is more like him, people literally burned by their governments, cast-out spies who wanted to use him as their tool for revenge. And then there was Eidolon, who Seeley describes as Bloodshot's perfect foil because she uses everybody, and her powers are to take bits of people and incorporate them into herself.
So how does Bloodshot go from lone wolf to signing up two sidekicks?
"Coming out of The Burn storyline, Bloodshot feels like he should finally leave himself in the darkness and not come back, but then, Wigans calls him and said he needs him," Seeley revealed to SYFY WIRE. "Every time he turns his back on humanity, he has another reason to come back to humanity."
"He's a lonely guy but he doesn't want to be, so he has to put up with some total jerks. We play Wigans as a neurotic jerk, Bloodshot needs him and Wigans needs Bloodshot. I love writing buddy stories, so I got a lot of mileage out of Wigans."
Seeley went on to say that Wigans is the brains and Bloodshot is the brawn. But the guy who knows things is useful and dangerous because Wigans can get Bloodshot into tons of trouble. "Wigans is a story generator and we get to tie his story back to the past with our villain, who I won't spoil for everybody," Seeley teased. "It's a nod back to some classic Bloodshot continuity by bringing back a new version of one of the bad guys."
In the movie, KT is part of the process of making these super soldiers, but Seeley tied the comic story to the combat unit called Chainsaw, which was part of the security for Project: Rising Spirit. "They were a group designed to kill Bloodshot, but they became a failed project, and she was going to be dumped out at sea like garbage."
"Bloodshot liberates that ship and she feels indebted to him, so they're stuck together and plus, she has nowhere else to go. It's tinged with recognition of their similarities, but a million miles apart in being any kind of romantic pairing." Seeley loves having Bloodshot in restrained relationships with tension because his desire is to have a normal life but he just can't have that.
As Seeley finishes his work on his final Bloodshot story (issues 10-12), he reflects on creating a 12-issue action story about a conflicted man trying to make up for the things that he's done but endangers the public at the same time. He's also proud to have been able to produce a book that fits into Valiant's consistent tone, a quality that he likened to the silver age of Marvel and DC.
"Adding to that is something I had a lot of fun doing. I feel proud we were able to do that within these implied but not imposed parameters," Seeley added. "We did exactly what we wanted to do, and had things worked out it would have been a perfect way for people who saw the movie and go to a comic store and find a book that felt like the movie but was its own thing, so I think it works."
Bloodshot #10 goes on sale January 13th, 2021.