This issue of BLOODSHOT AND H.A.R.D. CORPS delivers exactly what a non-reader would expect if they glanced at the cover art or just the title: action. Lots and lots of action. But what helps set it apart from being a cliche action book are two things -- well, two people in this case: co-writers Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart. Sure, the two deliver on the expectation of including lots of hectic battles and cool powers, but they also add an impressive amount of heart. Yes, these characters are technically viewed as cannon fodder by the powers that be, but dammit, these two writers make it so you care about them, root for them, and hope they'll never be as expendable as they think they are.
In the midst of all the shooting, screaming and all kinds of chaos, the issue also makes some very solid developments. A creative conclusion is reached with the rogue nanites and, despite predicting it early on (explained in "The Bad"), there's still a scene that'll manage to tug at your heartstrings. It won't get the waterworks going, but assuming you have a functioning heart, you'll feel it.
There's a lot of hands working on the art this time around yet the issue keeps a relatively consistent look. The powers are wonderfully vivid and total eye candy. While not every attack is a jaw-dropper, you'll still appreciate watching them all unfold and there's one big moment that's sure to impress.
The two-on-one battle with Victor, Mak and Stronghold feels a bit jumpy. For example, in one moment, Mak's running at Victor, and in the next, she's screaming at Stronghold as Victor flees. A character with her skill-set should have a really fluid fight and unfortunately it didn't come across as one here.
Speaking his Victor, the opening basically gives away his conclusion. We're jumping into an issue focusing on a deadly battle and we're hit with an extra incentive to feel for the dude? It definitely feels like the kiss of death, but thankfully, his demise is still an emotional experience.
You know all of those action movies you really like from the '80s and '90s? BLOODSHOT AND H.A.R.D. CORPS is basically like those, except the plot's actually good and the dialogue is legitimately engaging. Yes, it would have been nice to give a little more attention to the other relatively new characters, but for what it's worth, Dysart/Gage have done a fine job building an emotional connection to these characters while also delivering plenty of spectacle. It may not be as gritty as the previous run, but it makes up for that with some truly excellent writing.