The Harbinger Wars brought some serious fallout for Bloodshot from Harada and the Harbinger Foundation with him being captured and readied for intensive study of his nanites. Issue 14 of Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps catches up where this event left off as Project Rising Spirit decides it wants Bloodshot back. How? Bring in the H.A.R.D. Corps.
But wait a second. Didn’t the H.A.R.D. Corps get decimated in the Harbinger Wars too? Mostly, but Maniac and Gunslinger made it out, and now Project Rising Spirit’s head Morris Kozol is coaxing Gunslinger back into full-time duty to retrieve Bloodshot from Harada with a new batch of recruits.
Let’s start with the story. Dysart works off of Christos Gage as well as he did with Duane Swierczynski during the Harbinger Wars event. The plot is rock solid and has no holes in it, which helps the story do what it should – focus on the characters and the action.
Gage and Dysart set up some interesting dynamics for the H.A.R.D. Corps team by introducing characters from differing backgrounds with differing beliefs. Their unifying thread is a loyalty to Project Rising Spirit for plucking them from unfulfilled or desperate situations. Morris Kozol, the head of Project Rising Spirit, actually comes off as more than the douche bag he was originally characterized as in the Harbinger Wars by making him less a war pig and a bit more complicated.
These interesting and strong characterizations provide for some strong dialogue throughout the story with only a few moments of tangled lines. Considering the density of storytelling taking place, it’s quite a feat Gage and Dysart pull off by keeping the dialogue clean for most of the issue.
Emanuela Lupacchino works some strong magic in the visual storytelling department by finding a nice flow in the visual sequencing of panels. She renders expressive characterizations that bring out the personality and nuance of the title. Her work on Maniac comes across as the strongest of the issue as she captures the look of someone whose mind is slowly slipping away.
Her action sequences come off strong and steady as well with solid composition of backgrounds and characters. It will be sheer delight when she gets to take off the gloves and kick the action up a few notches.
Inker Guillermo Ortega with colorists Brian Reber and Ian Hannin bring the awesome to Lupacchino’s pencils with bold line work and eye popping colors that breathe vivid life into each panel. They also provide that consistent feel that seems to let readers know that this is a Valiant comic book.
Overall, Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #14 shows an interesting twist for Valiant Comics’ future universe as each title becomes further entwined. This issue leaves the reader with a lot of questions, but in a solid way that makes the next issue another must read.