It really is incredibly hard to disagree with DC’s CCO Geoff Johns when he says that the Justice League, and probably the whole of the Silver Age of comics (kicking off in the early 60s) really begins with the “reboot” of the classic heroes Flash and Green Lantern.
Flash and Green Lantern, CSI forensic scientist and ace test pilot, really were the unbidden leap of early Boomers era ambition—the dreams of the beyond, and our collective (as a species) claim to that, the very birth of our ambition.
But the Boomers generation wasn’t the first chapter in the book. And what made the first wave of Marvel properties so engaging, the Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, was the fact that each in their own way, they dealt with the fallout from earlier generations.
Spidey was about pulling us free from the noir-ridden past of the 30s and 40s, and, simultaneously, pulling us free from the inane and insipid response to hyper-visible noir that came with the self-censorship of the 50s. And Hulk… Hulk was just magic. It was the first comicbook of the Silver Age to deal with the corporatization of the military (the birth of the so-called military-industrial complex), at the crossroads of questioning the price of science-fueled ambition.
The questions for Hulk were always and equally, do we really want General Ross hunting down the Hulk, if the creature was birthed on his watch, and what were we doing in the Nevada desert anyway, if things like the Hulk can appear in the world?
It’s not so great a leap from Hulk to James Cameron’s Terminator (and for the purposes of this argument, to the sublime T2: Judgment Day), and from there on to Chris Carter’s X-Files. In very credible ways, Terminator and its sequel extends the concerns first referenced by Hulk into a post-Reaganomics private sector. How much of that post-apocalyptic future is really the result of the manufacturing sector being reshaped in the way Michael Moore is always so eloquent in articulating? And those early X-Files (seasons one and two) are probably the clearest example of how themes from early Hulk are protracted. “Can we trust the government”, those episodes seem to ask, “it’s clear enough that there is a conspiracy to conceal extraterrestrial life on Earth, but is the government itself involved?”.
What’s beautiful in these past six issues of Bloodshot, and this creative trend show no indication of abating, is how Bloodshot extends those same themes first glimpsed at in those original Hulk books, beyond even their second-gen meditations in Terminator and X-Files. Beyond the action and beneath it, Bloodshot is a title awash in dealing with the corporatization of the defense budget, and the monsters birthed by our own uncurbed ambition.
And if you need any evidence of that, just look at Gamma on the last page this sneak peek at Wednesday’s Bloodshot #6.