Co-writers Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart took over the title with #14, and, seeing as it's a whole new direction for the book, they made the understandable decision to spend that issue introducing us to the cast of characters and provide the basic building blocks for the greater picture. It was definitely well-written and a more than serviceable meet and greet for new readers, but for many, Bloodshot's lackluster amount of panel space was absolutely noticed.
This time around, Bloodshot gets just as much focus as the H.A.R.D. Corps (if not more) and, to no one's surprise, it's still written exceptionally well. Seriously, it's not everyday a book can make me laugh like a total fool and then make my jaw smack the floor just a second later. The two writers are able to juggle everything that's going on with commendable talent -- and there's most certainly a fair amount of plot potential in here. The cast is diverse and no one is getting left behind when it comes to development and attention. And, while there's still an excellent focus on the unique individuals and their own agendas, there's also an astonishing amount of glorious action and plot developments, too. It's a massively entertaining and enthralling ride from the opening scene and just doesn't let up.
Oh, and I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see Mak in action. Enhanced reflexes and unparalleled skill? Man, you can't give someone an introduction like that and not have them in some kind of epic fight down the road. I'm seriously stoked to see how she'll be utilized. Fingers crossed she throws down with Bloodshot!
Overall, I am a fan of Emanuela Lupacchino, Guillermo Ortego and Brian Reber's visuals (the brief skirmish between the two protagonists looked particularly cool and impactful), but occasionally characters can come off as a bit stiff. Additionally, sometimes -- although, by no means often -- they seem unnaturally smooth, which is a bit of a jarring contrast to the book's tone.
The remark after Maniac's death gave me a good laugh, but I wish it came a panel or two later, allowing the moment to really sink in instead of providing an immediate tonal shift.
I'm also left a tad confused on Bloodshot's current status. He needs the nutrient baths every now and then (also, why didn't he at least try to eat the bar in the beginning? Couldn't hurt, right?), but to what degree is this actually limiting his powers? We saw he can still take bullets just fine and use the nanites to take over technology (which was quite awesome), but I'm left unclear on his limitations. Hopefully that receives a little more elaboration in the next issue.
BLOODSHOT has always been a book I've enjoyed a good deal, but as each Valiant title has had time to grow, it fell behind quality stuff like X-O MANOWAR and HARBINGER. However, with just two issues, co-writers Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart are beginning to change that and have put Bloodshot on a terrific new direction.
While their first issue introduced us to everyone, this chapter picks up the speed big time and it's incredibly engrossing the entire time. Not for a second did my interest even remotely fade and the creative team has done a superb job leaving us on a note that makes me beyond anxious to read the next issue. Relatively minor gripes aside, this is a really good issue and I can't recommend enough to anyone and everyone who's searching for an action title.