Gritty. Violent. Badass. Although the character has been around since the early ’90s, the mercenary known as Bloodshot has yet to reach the mainstream pop-culture zeitgeist. Armed with superhuman abilities thanks to the nanites coursing through his veins, Bloodshot nearly single-handedly put Valiant Comics on the map by selling millions of copies during the title’s initial run.

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Bloodshot is often compared to The Punisher and Wolverine, but Valiant's hero is far more than just another antihero out for revenge. With a live-action movie starring Vin Diesel in the works, there’s no better time to get up to speed on everything Bloodshot.

Here are ten essential facts to get you started.

10 He’s an experiment by Project Rising Spirit

Project Rising Spirit, or P.R.S, is a clandestine genetic research facility that conducts human experiments in an effort to create the perfect living weapon. Dating all the way back to 1850, the organization is often contracted by the US Military to send in their biologically-altered soldiers during times of war and crisis.

Bloodshot is arguably the most powerful (and successful) weapon developed by the group so far. He was employed to eliminate several terrorist threats around the world. It was only later that Bloodshot became aware of his reality and escaped Rising Spirit’s control, seeking answers elsewhere.

9 He has no memory of his past

In order to keep their soldiers under strict control, Rising Spirit wipes the memories of their test subjects and “reboots” them as an army of walking weapons. As clean slates, these operatives have a singular focus and never disobey an order, making them the perfect soldiers.

Similarly, Bloodshot had no recollection of his past during his first several missions with P.R.S. It was only after gaining awareness of himself that the mad mercenary broke free of Rising Spirit’s control and went rogue.

8 He’s a super-soldier

All other superhuman abilities aside, at his core, Bloodshot is a highly-trained super-soldier. He’s skilled in hand to hand combat and is an expert at military-grade ordinance weapons. Bloodshot is a master tactician; his prowess in the art of warfare makes him a powerful ally during stealth operations and an extremely difficult enemy to defeat.

Plus, he’s an expert marksman with the ability to weaponize any sharp object with ease. All these abilities are amplified by Bloodshot’s rage and thirst for vengeance, with a singular focus on unraveling the mysteries of his past.

7 He used to be a mobster

Before he was forced to become a human experiment for Project Rising Spirit, Bloodshot was living and thriving in a life of crime. His real name, or so it seems, is Angelo Mortalli - a ruthless killer and once-prominent figure in the criminal underworld. However, Mortalli’s ascent was short-lived when he is sold out by his crime family and framed for murder.

Mortalli enters witness protection, only to be betrayed by an FBI agent within the system, after which he is taken to Rising Spirit as a test subject for one of their new experiments called Project: Lazarus. In later iterations, Angelo Mortalli is a cover identity adopted by a DOA operative named Raymond Garrison, Bloodshot’s new true identity.

6 He has nanites in his blood

During Project: Lazarus, billions of nanites were injected into Angelo Mortalli’s bloodstream, turning him into the aptly named Bloodshot. These nanites feed on protein and essentially give Bloodshot his superhuman powers. They can create an instant camouflage by altering the pigmentation of Bloodshot’s skin, and they also allow him to communicate with other computerized electronics.

The nanites are able to adopt various personalities within Bloodshot’s memories, often giving him status updates on his health and surroundings when there’s a crisis by speaking in the voices of people Bloodshot recalls from his supposed past.

5 Regeneration & metamorphosis

Bloodshot has many powers ranging from sonic screeches that can damage the human ear, right up to neural synaptic discharges capable of disrupting psionic hacking. However, his most prominent powers are nanite-powered metamorphosis and total regeneration.

The nanites that inhabit his bloodstream make Bloodshot almost impervious to bodily damage. They allow him to survive almost any injury including gunshot wounds and missile fire, as well as subzero temperatures and even complete incineration. Long story short, killing him is almost impossible.

4 Most of his new memories are fake

As though Project Rising Spirit couldn’t get any worse, Bloodshot eventually finds out that all his memories are complete falsehoods. In an effort to motivate their soldiers, it’s not uncommon for Rising Spirit to implant false memories of past-lives in their soldiers’ minds.

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As such, the memories of Bloodshot’s family, his children, and even his former self are totally fabricated. In time, the antihero also realizes that he possesses various versions of what he thought was his past... meaning multiple families and multiple backstories. The revelation leaves Bloodshot angrier and more vicious than ever before.

3 The Mystery of Raymond Garrison?

Bloodshot starts out thinking he was formerly a US Marine named Raymond Garrison. The memory makes sense, considering Bloodshot’s abilities as a highly-skilled soldier. It was later revealed that Ray is nothing but another alternate reality created and implanted in Bloodshot’s mind by an ex-PRS scientist named Dr. Kuretich.

Or was he?

Although no longer under their control, the act of releasing Bloodshot’s brain from P.R.S also left behind the various personas and characters in Bloodshot’s subconscious, allowing them to vividly “speak” to him from time to time. As of right now, Bloodshot assumes Ray is his true self, and Angelo Mortalli was nothing but a character he cooked-up for a covert mission.

2 H.A.R.D Corps

Bloodshot will do anything to get his true identity back. After his capture at the hands of a Rising Spirit subgroup called H.A.R.D Corps during an event billed as "The Harbinger Wars," Bloodshot is instead offered the role of H.A.R.D Corps' leader by P.R.S CEO Morris Kozol! In exchange for his services, Bloodshot is offered the truth about his identity and his past.

1 He resembles another character named Rai

There are two timelines within the Valiant Comics universe - present and future. In the future timeline, a character named Rai bears a striking resemblance to Bloodshot. As it turns out, Rai was genetically designed by a character named Grandmother who was hoping to inspire the people of the future with their own version of Bloodshot.

By then, the legendary Bloodshot had died on the moon in 2028 during a battle with Harbinger Ax. Rai, looking very much like the old antihero, would serve as the spiritual successor to Bloodshot.

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