Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Bloodshot #6 and #7 (Classic Valiant)
Say, do you know who Ninjak is? No? Good, then you're in the same damn boat as I am with this Bloodshot two-parter!
Secret shipments of the Weaponeer arms manufacturing organization are being stolen by Cinder and Glyder (ouch! That's so stupid it hurts to type!), a Harbinger duo who are covering up the thefts by destroying the planes carrying them (which is really depressing!). Meanwhile, in England, MI-6 guy Nevile Alcott sends his new agent Bloodshot on his first mission-find the people responsible for the disasters. He'll have to hurry though, because Weaponeer leader Ninjak is also on the hunt...
First things first, the characters...
Recurring character Malcolm appears again, and the series finally mentions who he even is. Oh thanks, I was really curious to know who he is...six issues in! Geez, a little freakin' late on the uptake, assholes?! And a tabloid photographer? Really?! His occupation in previous issues seemed a lot more underground.
If you're unfamiliar with Colin King, then you're screwed. Nowadays you can go to Comicvine, and there you can see all the individual comic issues characters appear in, but back in 1993 when this came out, you knew nothing unless you happened to have read those particular Valiant issues.
Long story I don't know short, Colin King is Ninjak, a ninja with a stupid name who runs a gun-running organisation. Ninjak's a good guy, yet what he does in this issue is pretty deplorable. An employee, Alicia Guerrero wants to quit Weaponeer, and Ninjak tails her, then GHB mind-rapes her by erasing her memory and sending her back to work! What an asshole! "No-one quits the Weaponeer!". Uh, why, It's just an underground arms manufacturer, not SPECTRE! How the hell are we supposed to like Ninjak, and want him to spotlight his own series when he's this wretched a character?
Also, all Weaponeer employees wear identical white suits. Well no wonder Alicia wanted to quit! She didn't get allowed a gun despite who she was working for, what she was transporting, and what'd been happening recently, and to top that, she has to dress in the most conspicuous outfit this side of Colin Baker. Hell, when Ninjak hides the comatose body of Cinder, he 'radically' changes getups-"You'll be good as new...and so will I", he says. The scene would hold more weight if King's new disguise wasn't literally just a panama hat and a jacket that doesn't cover his original clothes at all!
Ninjak's dialogue when running Bloodshot with his collapsible* sword through isn't badass like I'm sure it's meant to be, but instead makes him sound like an uncool wannabe, like he's one of the Orphans from The Warriors.
*The person who wrote this didn't know a goddamn thing about swords, did they.
There's nothing to Bee L this storyline. He's just here to slightly move what little story there is here along. He doesn't even do all that much besides fall out of a plane like an idiot, talk to Ninjak, and get held hostage. He does have the best scene in the whole series by far though! When he sees Ninjak for the first time, his reaction is "A ninja?!...Out here?!" BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! I love the fact that Bloodshot isn't surprised in the slightest that he's encountering a ninja, but that he's seeing one in South America. 'But ninjas never go to Mexicoland!' I can imagine him thinking.
There's one really confusing moment at the start of #6, where Neville mentions how Bloodshot's had experience with Weaponeer before. Bee L's had previous contact with the Weaponeer organisation? When?! For now, I'll give this comic the benefit of the doubt and assume it was sometime in Eternal Warrior...At least, that's what I thought until I actually took the liberty of verifying that, and no, this encounter is completely offscreen, and has never been mentioned until now.
There's one really nonsensical moment near the end, where an evil commando guy drills Bloodshot with machine-gun fire...then takes him hostage to draw out Ninjak! Yeah, bullets aren't a big deal for Bloodshot, but this guy doesn't know who he is! 'Come out, Ninjak, for I have the corpse of your associate hostage as leverage! Mwuhahaha!'
The art is good here, but it's never portraying anything worth reading. And the layout in the issues is screwed in places, with numerous pages with too small panels and massive a amount of extra white spaces. Also, the art also seems to regularly forget which of Bloodshet's legs was broken in the fall from the plane. And there's the cover to #6, which spoils its ending!
One minor thing. There seem to be a few little Valiant callbacks, from a character named Lydia, and unless it's a coincidence, the bird earrings on Glyder and the way some birds are drawn seem to be Harbinger Foundation symbol easter eggs.
Another minor thing is #6's over-the-top title of Death at 10,000 Feet! complete with exclamation mark and goofy font, like it's trying to be a Golden/Silver Age comic.
Now finally, onto the plot. #6 fails to tell a complete story in one issue, and doesn't even succeed in telling enough to feel like a complete issue. It's pathetic, especially since a complete twenty page comic story is absolutely possible. I could do it in my damn sleep! And once #7 flies by, you realize you've just wasted four dollars and 30 minutes of your life on a story that's told nothing, as it's never revealed who the villains even are, who they're working for, or what they want. THIS IS BAD STORYTELLING! And Cinder and Glyder die offscreen in a really abrupt fashion, then the plot just stops. It's like the writer stopped caring about the story and just wanted to end things asap.
*Liefeldian: Referring to Rob Liefeld, co-founder and frequent illustrator and writer of Image Comics back in the 90's, when it was worst company standing. Most of the comics produced by Image were nothing action series' about nothing characters with grotesque muscle illustrations and HUGE GUNS which they fired to the MAXI-EXTREME while GRIMACING ALL THE TIME because SMILIN'S FOR CHUMPS!.
It's with a heavy heart that I say, Bloodshot is nothing more than a Liefeldian* character. While that didn't seem to be the case at first, it is. He has heaps of muscles, belts, punches, guns, is kill-happy against bad guys, has an Image-y name, has zero character, gets zero character development, etc. God, if only someone else wrote for this series, someone who knew how to write! Thankfully that role was filled by Acclaim, starting in '97. Say what you will about Acclaim (God knows I have), but their comics were damn good! Aaand now I'm suddenly depressed about the incredibly insane mismanagement that Acclaim suffered...