We've seen why Bloodshot's abilities make him one of the deadliest soldiers in Valiant's universe time and time again. He's physically impressive, proficient with weapons, and his accelerated healing means he can eat lead and keep on trucking. However, the countless other abilities that his nanites have to offer can often get overshadowed by all of the gunplay. Thankfully, Joe Harris' debut chapter in this limited series seems to focus on just how impressive the super-solider's technical abilities really are. Sure, we see him shoot guns like a madman, too, but the heavy emphasis on his intellect and how strong his connection to technology truly is is a very welcome addition.
It's far too often that event tie-ins don't feel necessary and instead come off like a cheap way to get people to check out another character. Luckily for us, this doesn't feel like a lame attempt at slapping the event's name on the cover and hoping it'll get us to spend more money. This storyline has an understandable and interesting connection to the overall narrative and, in true Bloodshot fashion, it is of course filled with plenty of action, as well. Seeing as this is the first chapter of a limited series and it's connecting to a big event, that obviously means it needs to be new-reader friendly. Thanks to a thorough recap page (other publishers really need to take note of what Valiant's doing with these) and shedding new light on past events, the bits of exposition and playing catch-up don't weigh down the pacing at all.
Artist Trevor Hairsine and colorist David Baron are a good fit for this limited series' tone. Hairsine's rougher character work and Baron's assortment of shades are able to hit us with a nice variety of sights and stages. From a bright jungle to a room illuminated by monitors and high tech screens, the atmosphere always maintains a grittier and intense feeling -- something which is obviously perfect for this plot. You can't help but love the way they present the more hectic action sequences, too. They reel us right into the chaos and give us a front row seat to all of the action-packed goodness.
As much as I love the emphasis on Bloodshot's technical prowess, it seems to take away from his other attributes. In his ongoing, we'd see him rip off limbs with ease and be very precise with taking down his enemies. In this, he seems less tactical in combat and what should have been a very easy kill for him spiraled into something else. I understand the meaning behind the scene, but in doing that it made him come off as less dangerous. Also, it's odd to mention there's a big armory and then end it with the character equipped with only such a basic melee weapon. It certainly didn't feel like he used a lot of ammunition.
Question: so Lilt has what appears to be an acid attack, but apparently a big splash of it is not enough to seriously harm a regular human? If so, that seems really, really unimpressive, right? Or perhaps the artwork is just selling the injury short?
Minor gripe: many of Hairsine's characters seem to have drastically similar facial features. It's not a big deal, but it is noticeable from time to time, especially if you read the opening ETERNAL WARRIOR story.
ARMOR HUNTERS: BLOODSHOT is off to a strong start. It has a great spotlight on the titular character and goes above and beyond to illustrate the fact he's so much more than a marksman with a healing factor. On top of that, it's mostly new reader friendly and accomplishes this without taking a toll on pre-existing fans. It may not feel like a mandatory read for the event, but it's already accomplishing more than enough to justify its connection to ARMOR HUNTERS (and UNITY). If you want to see why so many of us think Bloodshot's a cool character and get a good glimpse into what's currently going on in the Valiant universe, this is definitely a solid place to start. Once you're sold on the premise, you should of course go back and read ARMOR HUNTERS #1 & #2!