Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bloodshot #2 (Classic Valiant)

In California, renegade Harbinger named Ax breaks into a Project Rising Spirit* business facility (and isn't gunned down instantly, because bad writing) and makes a...proposition? with the head there about...something to do with Bloodshot.

*The experiment that gave Bloodshot his powers.

Meanwhile, our title character is searching for mobster Canelli for answers about his previous life. Though with Ax and his goons on his trail, hungry for blood, Bloodshot might not even reach his destination...Or he will, because Ax and co. suck.

This is a much better issue than Bloodshot's opener. Despite having a few splash pages, and pages with as little as three or so panels, #2 still has many scenes, and gets across a lot, proving that you can make a good story in just 20 comic pages. If only the rest of Valiant outside of HARD Corps and Dr. Mirage took this cue. Of course, the plot still isn't what I think Bloodshot should be (which is, for one, a comic where we actually don't know Bloodshot's true identity right off the damn bat). Also, the story never bothers to explain why Ax is after Bloodshot.

And in-case you're wondering, yes, that above picture does make me ask myself "How much Keefe does this comic need?...".

The only problem I have with this story is that it has Ax in it! Who's he, you ask? Ax was a really annoying villain who showed up in various lines, like Harbinger, XO Man-O-War, Rai, etc. 'But surely that can't be horrible for this issue', you may ask, 'He's just an annoying villain who'll be gone next issue'. And herein lies the worst thing about Ax-he ultimately murders Bloodshot.

Hey, what are you looking at me like that for, I didn't spoil it, Rai #0 did! In fact, that scene with Bloodshot's death in the near future is practically the first we ever see of him in Valiant continuity! What the hell?! So yeah, we have this arrogant, annoying villain who's the kind you want to see gone after one appearance, and he canonically kills one of the Valiant universe's greatest heroes. Yeah, righ. Pull the other one, it's got fucking bells!

And by the way, Ax gets owned in every issue he's in, whether it's getting his ass kicked, his balls scorched, his leg broken, or...

Haha! Fuck you for even trying, Ax, you annoying pussy!

...So why should we be intimidated by him, or feel he poses any kind of threat? And how can we buy that he took down Bloodshot in the end?!

In my big Valiant post, I talked about the company's dating system. Because the makers were goddamn idiots, each issue was set in the month it was released, so there'd be an in-universe month-long gap in-between each comic (which is stupid, as you're missing out on character and story opportunities in all that space).  Thanks to the in-universe month delays with two-parters (which took place back-to-back, obviously), date slippage occurred pretty quickly, and thus you'd get Christmas issues coming out in July, or April, or March, in this story's case.

The artwork is largely good. However, some gore looks like paintball, Bloodshot's sword is shown clean immediately following its cutting Ax's arm off, there are a few blank nothing backgrounds, and there's some 'great' continuity with Ax's armour suit in the final fight. One moment it's a full body covering bulk, and the next, it looks like it's in tatters, but nothing's happened to it, and it looks fine in the next panels. The cover is decent, although it's a bit sparse. But at least it's an actual scene from the comic, with actual stuff happening, unlike #1's cover, which was just an angry Bloodshot firing a gun in front of a blank eyesore background.

This issue is one of the high-points so far from the Bloodshot entries I've read, so I recommend it if you decide to get into this series...which is an idea that I don't recommend...

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