Comic Review: Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps. # 18 (Valiant)

“You are not better than Bloodshot.” That was my attitude going in to this, and it has ended up being my mantra. “You are not better than Bloodshot.” And it’s […]

“You are not better than Bloodshot.”

That was my attitude going in to this, and it has ended up being my mantra.

“You are not better than Bloodshot.”

Bloodshot Awesome

And it’s true. I’m not better than Bloodshot. The guy’s been around since 1992. I mean, that’s some impressive staying power. So teaming up with H.A.R.D. Corps was a really cool idea, that I can totally understand. While I admit that Valiant isn’t usually in my wheelhouse, I thought that this particular issue seemed like it was a good jumping on point. So after I’d done my necessary research, I strapped on my headband, cracked open a crisp and refreshing Surge, and got ready to steep myself in to the intense world of Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps. And then…it was over. What had happened? Well, a prominent authority figure, and all around important guy relating to Project Rising Spirit (lotta projects, it was hard to keep track) has been captured in Nigeria.  Now H.A.R.D. Corps. have been tasked with the rescue mission. The best part of that? They don’t want it.  However, they’re a government sponsored team, so it’s not really their choice. (In my humble opinion, getting bossed around by Big Bro is the opposite of “hardcore”.) Anyway, they get to Nigeria, get beat up, run away, and their senior-most member gets captured; which was the bad guys’ plan all along. There’s the story. In fact, it’s the story of a lot of comics, but the story isn’t the problem. See, it works. It’s the lead in to the next action heavy sequence. Introduce the conflict, set the stage, then present the players. It’s basic storytelling. Therein lies the problem.

It’s “Basic Storytelling”.


But a comic isn’t just the story you tell, it’s how you tell it. The graphic of “graphic novel”. No it’s not the art. The art is great. It gets the point across.  Everyone looks good, the character designs were interesting, and varied, despite being on the same team and having similar uniforms.  In fact, even the effects of the powers look really cool. Of course there were a slew of continuity errors, whole scenes were dropped in the middle of the action, and characters would appear, seemingly from out of nowhere. Also, at one point, they actually forgot to tell me that someone was no longer being strangled. While, that wasn’t a situation I was familiar with, I still would have let all of this go had it not been for one glaring flaw. In a fit of incredible irony, it suffers from the one issue that something called Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps shouldn’t even have a problem with.

And that’s impact.


The scenes are basic and dry. There’s no intensity to the story. Desperate moments lose their suspense, comedic moments lose their humor, and sad moments lose their weight. Without impact there is just the story. Your vegetables are all there, but there’s no meat, no flavor, no reason to come back for seconds. Believe me when I say that there is something there to be had.  There’s good art, good writing, and a unique mythology (downloading superpowers at will, that’s just so kickass). But without a dynamic composition, and real draw that pulls us in to each scene, all we’re left with is what the story could have been. This isn’t the true story, and I understand that. This is the way-station. It’s the lead in to the next conflict that promises to be much more engaging. But what happens after the story does not make up for a totally avoidable lull.  Having something great planned isn’t a free pass to slack off on the lead-in.  Honestly though, it was an okay read.  And if you’re already a Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps. fan then you’ve most likely made up your mind about whether or not you’ll be picking up Vol. 18 But, if you’re not, you probably won’t find anything in here to convert you.

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