If you've been following the series, you'll immediately be able to tell this book is heading in an all-new direction -- and truthfully, that's a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I've been digging BLOODSHOT quite a lot, but this narrative switch-up is a very exciting change of pace.
Prior to this issue, Bloodshot has been the key focus of the story and understandably so. There's been a lot of shooting, a lot of cool powers, and some well-written mystery and intrigue thrown into the mix. However, now that the H.A.R.D. Corps are sharing the spotlight, co-writers Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart wisely dedicate the vast majority of this issue to introducing us to pretty much everyone but Bloodshot. The new cast gets an uneven amount of focus, but it's understandable seeing as juggling each of them equally in just one issue would soak up too much time. Instead, we're given an adequate amount of basic information on each and only a handful receive greater insight. Granite's story really isn't anything new, but the co-writers still executed her scenes in a touching manner and definitely created an emotional link to the character. Based on that, I'm really looking forward to seeing them flesh out the other two.
I know it sounds like Bloodshot doesn't get a lot of love, but fear not, Harada talks about him in great detail and to be fair, his reason for not having the spotlight is 100% justified. Additionally, it's more than clear that'll change in the upcoming issues.
I'm really digging the visuals, too. Emanuela Lupacchino's pencils are animated yet detailed, giving the book the tone it requires. It's lively -- really benefiting some of the craziness over at Project Rising Spirit -- yet also gritty, making the violent moments with Bloodshot and an operation particularly painful to observe. There's two colorists, Brian Reber and Ian Hannin, yet the issue provides a consistently solid look. The colors never overpower Lupacchino's penciling and compliment it very well, making it feel more layered and dynamic. In a book which is sure to be filled with vibrant powers, interesting characters and a whole lot of violence, this is absolutely a good visual team for the job.
Seeing as this is a jumping on point and introducing a whole new cast of characters, there's a lot of exposition. It's a tight script, but this issue's primary objective is to go down the list of characters and familiarize us with everyone and it definitely shows.
I'm also left with mixed feelings on the cliffhanger. On one hand, it's rather abrupt and makes you wait right before things go into overdrive. On the other hand, it's understandable to leave us in suspense and wait to see how the new team will operate when everything hits the fan.
Bloodshot's going on an all-new journey and this creative team has kicked it off with a whole lot of potential. With sharp writing, engaging character building and solid artwork, this definitely feels like the start of something great. It's clearly intended to be an ideal jumping on point and totally accomplishes that. Seriously, it's 100% new reader friendly, serving as an introduction to all of these characters and still managing to craft an interesting story. If you've ever considered diving into Bloodshot's world, this is the perfect time to do so.