The aftermath of the very epic HARBINGER WARS has set Bloodshot on a brand new path and it begins with #14 of his series (which will then make a title change from BLOODSHOT to BLOODSHOT AND H.A.R.D. CORPS). His new journey will be written by Christos Gage (co-written by Joshua Dysart, too) and illustrated by Emanuela Lupacchino. Now the powerful soldier will join forces with the Harbinger Active Resistance Division aka H.A.R.D. Corps. So, what does this new chapter mean for Valiant's deadly character? We had the opportunity to talk with Gage about the upcoming story!
Comic Vine: More and more people are deciding to jump on the Valiant train and rightfully so. Does your first issue serve as a good jumping on point or is reading Harbinger Wars first required?
Christos Gage: While I definitely recommend Harbinger Wars – and, for that matter, Duane Swierczynski's previous issues of Bloodshot – to anyone who likes smart, high-octane action stories, the first issue from me, Josh and Emanuela is perfectly accessible to new readers. Anything you need to know to follow the story is provided as we go, and there are a number of new characters introduced for the first time. It’s a great jumping on point.
CV: Aside from the plot, will this new direction for the character also bring a big change to the book's vibe or will it remain similar to Duane's?
CG: I love what Duane did, and I feel that trying to slavishly copy or imitate that would do a disservice to him as well as fans of his run. So there will definitely be a change to some degree, as well as the addition of an ensemble to what had previously been a solo book. But I absolutely want to keep the vibe Duane established of explosive but intelligent action that grabs you by the throat and never lets up. And while we are taking pains to be new reader friendly, what has come before will absolutely continue to inform where we go.
CV: What's the most challenging part of writing Bloodshot? And the most fun?
CG: It’s actually one and the same: making sure you live up to his well established status as an unstoppable mayhem machine while presenting him with credible threats and keeping the action smart, not just mindless bloodshed.
CV: For the new readers: who are the H.A.R.D. Corps and why do they deserve to share the spotlight with Bloodshot?
CG: They are a unit of normal humans who have implants in their brains that allow them to “download” a variety of superhuman powers, though they can’t use more than one at a time. But since their bodies aren’t made to accommodate these abilities, there is a cost to using them. Time is not kind to members of H.A.R.D. Corps…but not to worry, they’re unlikely to live that long.
CV: Also for the new readers: why is Bloodshot a character worth checking out? What makes him more than just a soldier with a healing factor?
CG: Bloodshot’s blood is full of nanites, and yes, they do repair damage to his body, but they do a lot of other cool stuff. They can talk to machines, allow limited shape-changing, and a variety of other abilities that lend themselves to stealth and espionage…as well as a more, shall we say, direct approach. Also, Bloodshot has no idea who he really is. He was given a different identity and fake set of memories for every mission, and is involved in an ongoing struggle to determine who he is and who he’s going to be. The character provides opportunities for very interesting explorations of themes like self-determination, free will and nature vs. nurture…liberally seeded with explosions and flying bullets, of course.
CV: Will we continue to see other characters from the Valiant universe appear in the title?
CG: Harada and his Harbinger Foundation are the Big Bad for our first arc. Aside from that, there won’t be any more Valiant Universe characters for a bit…but eventually, that would be a lot of fun, wouldn’t it?
CV: Speaking of other characters: Ninjak vs. Bloodshot. Everyone wants it, so is there any chance of this happening? Pretty please?
CG: Ninjak is appearing in the new team book, Unity…though that hardly rules out a confrontation with Bloodshot. But due to big events happening in Unity, it won’t happen right away.
CV: One of my favorite parts of Duane's run (aside from the action, of course) was seeing Bloodshot utilize his abilities in new and tactical ways. Can we expect to see him discover more abilities and make great use of the ones we have already seen?
CG: Actually, as we start our new arc, Harada has done some pretty nasty stuff to Bloodshot that not only reduces his powers but threatens his very life. So he will have to use his abilities in a smarter way to get back what has been taken from him. But I have a feeling he’ll be as deadly as ever.
CV: If you had to describe the book in 5 words or less, what would they be?
CG: I want to stress that in no way am I copying other companies’ titles or characters. The fun of this book is getting to do things you can only do in the Valiant Universe. But I am a gigantic nerd, and that’s my frame of reference. So: imagine Wolverine leading the Suicide Squad. That was six words, but I’m a maverick like that.
CV: Thanks, Christos!
You can follow Christos Gage on Twitter @Christosgage
BLOODSHOT AND H.A.R.D. CORPS #14 goes on sale 9/18. Here's a preview if you want even more Bloodshot goodness.