With the latest chapter of UNITY, writer Matt Kindt adds Bloodshot, the super-soldier with an accelerated healing factor, to the title and he does so magnificently. He doesn't introduce the character with a grand action scene or anything like that. Instead, we're given eyewitness reports of what Bloodshot has been up to since the last story arc in his title. I know it's usually preferred to show and not tell, but this was a great way to let new readers know just how vicious this guy is and why he warrants a spot on the roster. It was way more effective than something like him shooting a few goons and then chatting with Livewire. Kindt also does a fine job making sure both new and old readers of the series don't feel totally left in the dark with the Armor Hunters plot. We don't get the most insightful look around at who they are or why they're here and honestly, that makes sense since that's something the team shouldn't know right now. We know what they've done -- something that packs one hell of a punch on the opening page -- and we know what they're after. Everything else isn't forced in via exposition or an info dump since, well, it's not really necessary information at this point. The writer keeps the story concise and makes sure the pacing never takes a hit. Hopefully good tie-ins like this one motivate people to check out the other titles.
Artist Stephen Segovia and colorist Brian Reber grab your attention with the very first page. The focus on darker shades and something as simple as a hand sticking out of rubble paints a very haunting picture. They make sure you're up to speed with just how dire the situation has become in the Valiant universe. The character work is occasionally a little stiff (most notably in mid-shots), but overall, it's a consistently solid looking issue and the occasional emphasis on heavier shading works very well for characters like Bloodshot and Ninjak. Plus, you can't help but love how vibrant the Armor Hunters are. It doesn't drown out the other tones -- it's just enough to help you appreciate how unique they look. The two also do a great job pulling us into the more cinematic and action-packed moments (e.g. the bit with the plane).
While Ninjak's brief display is obviously cool, the fight with the Armor Hunters feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. It would have been great to see a little more of it. That definitely would have made the ending more impactful.
Eternal Warrior still isn't getting much love. It feels like he's just there to talk about his experience over the years, so I'm sure many of you also agreed with Ninjak when he exclaimed, "Please. Not another history lesson." Also, it's a little odd to give Bloodshot such a fantastic introduction and then have him literally stand around and do nothing for the rest of the issue. He made quite an entrance and then seen standing by Livewire's side a few times. Hopefully he'll get more involved in the upcoming issues.
Minor gripe: I know alien invasions aren't exactly the norm in this universe, but after bonding with an alien armor, it's a little odd for Livewire to appear slightly surprised by the situation.
This is a big issue of UNITY for two simple reasons: Bloodshot and the Armor Hunters! Bloodshot is given a thoroughly awesome introduction and we're also treated to a serviceable tie-in for Valiant's latest big event. For the most part, Kindt makes sure this can serve as a satisfactory jumping on spot for new readers and packs it with more than enough excitement to keep us around for the next issue. It's a little bit of a bummer we didn't get to see more of the Armor Hunters in action, but something tells me Kindt is saving all of the truly epic action for the upcoming rematch! Plus, how can you not want to see what'll happen next now that Bloodshot's on the team? I'm very curious to see how he'll interact with the others.