'Bloodshot' Movie: Who is Bloodshot? The Comic Book Origin Story of the Vin Diesel Superhero

Vin Diesel is about to make his debut as the Valiant Comics character Bloodshot in a movie set for U.S. release on March 13 (after releases across the world earlier in the week). The character made his debut in 1992, but has been rebooted multiple times since then, with his origin story changing slightly each time.

Who is Bloodshot?

In his original incarnation, which ran from 1993 to 1996, Bloodshot was Angelo Mortalli, a member of the mob who is framed for murder, put into witness protection and is then betrayed by the FBI.

They made him part of Project Rising Spirit, which saw his body pumped full of miniscule robots calls nanites which gave him powers like ultrafast healing, superstrength and control of electronic devices among other abilities. This procedure, however, also had the drawback of erasing his memories, leaving the newly-named Bloodshot angry at an unspecified cause and trying to discover his past.

The idea of Bloodshot being a superhero (or perhaps more accurately, anti-hero) infused with nanites is central to all versions of the comic book character, but the origin story has developed over the years since his first incarnation.

bloodshot vin diesel movie
Vin Diesel in 'Bloodshot' Sony Pictures

In the so-called "Volume Two" incarnation of Bloodshot, which ran in 1997 and 1998, the origin gets more complicated. The superhero is still a result of a scientific experiment he entered into against his will, but this time there is more of a backstory before he becomes Bloodshot, as he realizes he may have been someone else before he became Mortalli called Raymond Garrison.

Notably, Vin Diesel is labelled in the IMDB credits as Garrison rather than Mortalli, suggesting the movie is playing down the mob elements of the original story, or switching the history around so that he was Mortalli before he was Garrison rather than the other way round.

According to the trailer, much of the plot of the Bloodshot film is taken from the 2012 to 2014 "Volume Three" of the character. In this version, the character is the result of a military experiment to create the perfect nanite-enhanced soldier — one who is given false memories of his targets killing his family in order to make him a more effective assassin.

In the promo for the movie, we see Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) rebooting Garrison after a kill and giving him a new backstory before setting him out for another "revenge" killing, until Bloodshot begins to suspect something may be wrong.

Asked by Deadline whether the transition to movies would change his character, Bloodshot co-creator Bob Layton said, "Of course! We're translating something that was an iconic comics creation into pure movie magic. Comics and film are two, separate art forms and they generally don't directly translate from the comic-book reader to a filmgoing audience. So, yes, it will differ. But I'm a big believer that as long as a film adaptation is true to the spirit of the character, that's all we should be concerned with. It seems that every character that goes from a comic book to a movie winds up with a black leather suit anyway, so what's the difference?"

Bloodshot is in cinemas from Friday, March 13.