Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bloodshot #12 (Classic Valiant)

Michael Lazarus, aka Bloodshot has had a hectic few weeks, and is now enjoying a nice quiet holiday in Puerto Rico. Enjoying the serenity, and the fact that no-one is trying to kill him, he meets and hits it of with a woman named Trish. But despite trying to shut down for a week, Bloodshot keeps noticing suspicious things about a nearby hotel room, and eventually stops ignoring it is mere paranoia and decides to investigate...

Bloodshot #12 is a load of fun by this crummy series' standards! The story here isn't amazing by any definition of the words, but it's a pretty entertaining read. I really like how most of the nefarious goings-on are completely peripheral, with the main focus being Bloodshot trying to buckle down and enjoy his holiday.

A scene I really like is when Trish asks Bloodshot what he does for a living-Is he a pro wrestler? Football player? He automatically answers with this...

...I love that aspect of his nanites. He knows nothing about art, yet when backed into a corner, he can produce an immense wealth of knowledge out of nowhere, surprising himself in the process. It's a shame that it's an aspect completely wasted by this series, just like literally every other one!

When reading this story, a thought crossed my mind-Who is this guy? Twelve issues in, and we really have no idea who Bloodshot is. I don't mean that literally, as if his identity is meant to be a mystery. What I mean is that we have no idea what his personality is. What kind of alcohol shots does he prefer, what does he think of his lifestyle, and why is he a secret service agent? Why is he involved in all of this action stuff rather than just living a quiet life? Bloodshot has the personality of a silver brick, and he's only remotely enjoyable in semi-comedic circumstances

Bloodshot's dialogue in the climax is like a cheesy John Wayne movie, but that might actually be the point, given an earlier scene of him watching a Marion Morrison movie on TV.

What's definitely stupid dialogue though is when, after their date's finished, Trish asks Bloodshot into her room, but then goes against it when she notices he seems nervous about the prospect. The problem is that he didn't say anything to her that'd make him seem nervous! And then Bloodshot narrates about how "The closest I've gotten to capping off a romantic evening since I was a normal man, and I blow it"-Blow what? All you did to 'blow' your date was say "Well, I...I" and then your date immediately interrupted you and waffled on about how "Oh, but if you're not in the mood, I understand".

More on the subject of dialogue, there's a weird emphasis at one point. It feels like this line should be "...And let them sort it out", referring to Bloodshot letting the police arrest the crooks at the end instead of getting more involved than he already has, but instead, the bold emphasis is on 'sort', which just feels off.

The artwork here is decent, but there are a couple of missteps. Bloodshot's pistol is still drawn ridiculously huge, the mobster guy Alberto Cordova has Youngblood's Disease, the sound effect for 'knock' is 'nok' (what the hell?) and the inking of dialogue is pretty crummy in a couple of spots. As for the humorous cover, it's very good!

All in all, this is a surprisingly decent issue of Bloodshot! Next to #2, it's the only issue thus far that I could genuinely label 'good', rather than 'mediocre' or 'crummy'. Pretty sad that 'surprisingly decent' is a high form of compliment for Bloodshot. What's better, however, is that Issue #14 is actually damn good! If you're a fan of the current Bloodshot series, and are curious about the original incarnation, I recommend nothing from it besides those 2 issues...

Bloodshot #11 (Classic Valiant)

Superpowered special agent Bloodshot is contacted by Tanaka, a high-up in Iwatsu Industries, the sadistic corporation that performed the experiments that gave him his powers. Ever since Bloodshot escaped his clutches, company director Hideyoshi Iwatsu is desperate to retrieve him, so he can work out why he survived the procedure, while all other subjects died horribly after only a few days. Tanaka lies to Bloodshot, saying Iwatsu is dead, and claims to need his help, offering to return hs stolen memories as compensation. However, as it turns out, Iwatsu has suffered a heart attack and was put through the Bloodshot procedure, giving him exactly what he neeeds to defeat his foe and take his blood...

This offering of Bloodshot is mediocre, no surprise there, but this particular issue commits a more heinous crime than just being meh. It completely wastes the Iwatsu Industries-Rising Spirit storyline!

First and foremost, this issue has no story. Bloodshot is called over to Iwatsu Industries, he and Hideyoshi fight, Bloodshot wins. That's it.

There are a multitude of plot points in this issue that I don't like. For one, How did Bloodshot survive Rising Spirit's procedure? Never explained...Except in a random tie-in issue called Secrets of the Valiant Universe, where it was revealed that he's a Harbinger (the Valiant universe's equivalent of Mutants). Not only is it very much Just So Happens that out of all the billions of people to choose from to use for their experiments, Iwatsu happen to pick a guy who is not only a Harbinger (who are very rare), but specifically a Technopath, who's body is able to bond with the nanites, hence he doesn't explode after only a few days like everyone else put through the process. There's such a ridiculously specific set of requirements necessary for the Bloodshot procedure to be more than an absurdly expensive lethal injection that I'm surprised Iwatsu even bothers anymore!

I find it annoying that Iwatsu never find a way to replicate the Bloodshot procedure perfectly, because that could have led the way to new stories, new challenges for Bloodshot, and Hideyoshi could be a powerful recurring villain. Instead, Iwatsu first appears in Issue #1, then never appears again until this issue, which has no story, and permanently resolves the Iwatsu plot until about thirty issues down the line.

Another thing that doesn't make sense is why Bloodshot has never gone after Iwatsu Industries, when they wronged him way more than the mob ever did! And they're still out there, making 'Speedshots', and killing people! Isn't he worried they're gonna keep going after him? Now that he's worked for MI6 for months, you'd think he'd use the resources at his disposal to take them down, but I wouldn't expect the writer of this crap to be that smart!

Bloodshot and Iwatsu's final battle at the end is rushed, but has a neat concept behind it-As the two are dueling with katanas, Bloodshot realizes that the fight is echoing the samurai tales Iwatsu loves through the nanites in their bodies, and the only way to win is to break pattern. Unfortunately, not only is the way its presented here poorly explained, but it ends the fight too soon, and deprives us of a cool sword fight!

I've said many times how poor Valiant's real-time dating system was. Every issue would be set in the month it was published in, so we the readers are missing out on whole months of stories, and character exchanges and developments. Like in Issues #6 and #7, the problem is compounded here*, as when Tanaka approaches Bloodshot at the start, BL says 'Tanaka! I thought I got rid of you in Hong Kong!'-What?! That never happened! What the hell?!......Ok, as it turns out, unlike the never seen Weaponeer encounter from #6 and #7, this did actually happen in a published issue, in other Valiant series Eternal Warrior #15 and #16, but unless you live in the year 2014 and have access to ComicVine, or have already read a large chunk of Eternal Warrior, there is literally no way you'd know that, as this issue gives no explanation or information whatsoever, so the problem still stands.

*Funnily enough, both this, and the last two issues only take place within a few days of each-other, for some reason, which'd be good, but too little, too late.

Bloodshot's dull here, and it doesn't make sense why he'd want his memories back. He was a violent asshole gangster before his mind was erased, and he knows it. Also, during the final fight, he calls Iwatsu out for turning him into a monster, which is total bullcrap! Even if Blooshot couldn't easily switch his pale skin-red eyes off at any time he wanted, he could just say to anyone who asks that he has both a skin and eye condition. Or he could, you know, go to the fucking police! Stopping crimes and arresting criminals is kinda their job and sole raison d'etre, and there's no need for secrecy. Bloodshot would have everything to gain by exposing Iwatsu.

Hideyoshi Iwatsu is a boring one-note villain. There's nothing to him at all. More wasted potential. Tanaka is just a guy with a stupid looking anime ponytail, while Iwatsu's scheming son Yoshi is a guy...and that's it. He never actually does anything.

Wow, after all of that, it doesn't really matter all that much anymore that Iwatsu's always talking in English to his cohorts/son instead of Japanese for no reason.

The artwork is good, as usual, but the illustrator got real lazy during the final fight, having multiple backgrounds be bare white nothing. The cover is a complete non-sequitur. It gets the location very wrong, portraying a Feudal era Japanese  castle, rather than the sterile laboratory deep into a building Bloodshot and Iwatsu are actually fighting in. As if that wasn't bad enough, the art, while largely good, fails in a pretty big respect-Where the hell is Bloodshot looking, because it sure as hell isn't at the giant 7 foot tall Japanese man with a katana coming straight for him!

This issue is just one big continuity error, so it's fitting that the very next issue is actually good! More on that later...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bloodshot #10 (Classic Valiant)

Y'know, I'm half tempted to just stop talking about Valiant's Bloodshot, as each issue is the same-mediocre and dull. I wouldn't wanna come across as a broken record. But believe it or not, there are good issues of this series down the line, which I'll definitely want to talk about. Also, when a series this mediocre lasts on for 54 issues, it gets on my nerves!

Don't get any hopes up about Bloodshot #10 though. It's boring, just like almost everything that's come before.

Superpowered MI6 agent Bloodshot is sent to Vietnam on an assignment by his boss Neville Alcott as a favour to the CIA, who desperately want a drug dealer known as The Rat disposed of. As Bloodshot goes on the hunt in The Rat's tunnel systems (carryovers from the Vietnam War), he starts thinking that not all is what it seems with the CIA's motivations...

This issue is just boring. Barely anything happens, and when you finish it, you're left with an empty feeling. There is one scene at the start that I quite liked, however, pictured below.

The ending is a total anti-climax. Before Bloodshot can even get a chance to fight The Rat, he runs off and is instantly killed by one of his tunnel's booby-traps. It could be fitting if the story was longer (i.e. if the two actually fought, and if The Rat was actually a developed villain), and if it wasn't such a cliche story route to take.

The titular character is a bit of an idiot here. When in The Rat's secret tunnel, he narrates about how the place is likely full of traps, and he'd better be careful. One panel later, and he accidentally sets off a trap! And the only traps he ever comes across are (easy to spot) tensed wire ones. Way to be creative, writer! Another problem with him is how conspicuous the artwork makes him look when he's meant to be incognito.

He just blend right into the shadows!...

The Rat is a crummy villain who amounts to nothing! He gets one especially stupid moment where he says exposition about his evil plans out loud to himself for no reason! Speaking of his evil plans, they're stupid. He plans to get his revenge against Vietnam for winning the war by sending out poisoned drugs. 1, After a while, people are gonna stop using drugs because of this-You're killing off the trade! And 2, if he wants revenge against the whole country, this is just about the slowest way he could do it!

One strange bit of dialogue is in the first scene, pictured above. Since when do Vietnamese say 'don't do nothin''? I didn't know double negatives were a thing outside of English speaking countries. If they actually are, then, huh, you learn something new every day! If not, then this comic is dumb.

Another random odd thing is the dating of the issue, which is simply 'The present'. This is from the day and age where comics felt the need to not only transcribe the date down to the day, as well as the months, but also down to the minutes!

The artwork is mostly pretty good, but the cover's a bit bland. The art's particularly off in one scene, where Jillian Alcott is asking her father about her mother's violent death, and she's smiling! She's not meant to-she's not a closet psycopath, it's just the art screwing up.

Bloodshot #10 is sadly another piece of the continuous disappointment that is this series, and is worth no-one's time and money...

Bloodshot #9 (Classic Valiant)

While on a mission in Macau, Jillian Alcott, daughter of MI6 high-up Neville, has been kidnapped by Emil Sosa, a soul-sucking mutant, gangster, and Very Bad Thing, and superpowered special agent Bloodshot is sent in to rescue her and take Sosa out of commission...

This is a mediocre comic, which shouldn't surprise you at this stage. This issue is particularly worse, however, as due in part to the crummy storytelling, and in part of the terrible panel size and structure, barely any story is told here at all! That summary above? That was basically a complete synopsis!

Bloodshot is boring in almost all issues of his series, and this is no exception. He's a Liefeldian character, plain and simple. His powers continue to make him a Gary Lou (as in Mary Sue), and suck all suspense from the story, and he narrates constantly, which can get annoying. What's really funny is that he narrates so much, but physically says so little this issue.

Sosa is a recurring villain from other Valiant series Shadowman, and his final appearance in Valiant Comics is here. Yep, what Jack Boniface failed to do in two issues, Bloodshot does in two pages! He's pretty boring here. He has no personality to him besides 'Eeeeevviill', and the issue is so tiny that he really has nothing of note going for him as a character. Plus, a lot of his dialogue is either hilariously bad ("I will suck out your soul and dance on your corpse!!"), or really forced exposition.

Mohammed Mekkel, Sosa's new mentor, is a pretty nothing character, and maybe I'm just reading too much into things, but he seems kinda drawn like a racist caricature, which is not appreciated! (he also suffers from Youngblood's Disease). He seems to die midway through the climax, but the end reveals that he's alive, and teases for his return. I've no idea why though, as he has no character here, not even as a villain, and he never appears in anything Valiant beyond this issue, making it just seem pointless. It could be fine if the writing just had him be weaseling away to pastures new, but that's not what his narration at the end implies.....

Other Valiant comics character, Eternal Warrior Gilad makes an appearance at the start, which feels tacked on and pointless. As for Jillian, she's both a cardboard character, and a damsel-in-distress. Not a good combination!

One scene is pretty stupid. Bloodshot stabs a guy in the throat with a knife, making sure that they exhale before he does so, so there'll be no scream. *sigh* If someone gets stabbed simply in the back, regardless of how they're breathing, they won't scream, but if you hurl a Crocodile Dundee bowie knife into their neck, then they really won't friggin' scream, because you just stabbed them in the neck!

The artwork is decent, although one bit is odd. When Jillian kicks Mekkel, not only is his face abruptly turned bone white, but the scene suddenly warps into the friggin' negative zone for a panel! That is to say, the illustrator couldn't be bothered drawing an actual background, so simply had everything behind the characters bare white. With only a month to get ready, I can see why you'd take such a route, dude-Your fingers might have have gotten gangrenous otherwise!

This issue of Bloodshot is just plain boring (too boring to even want to screenshot much for). Don't bother reading it, ever.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bloodshot #2 (Acclaim Comics)

A man codenamed Bloodshot has woken from a mysterious government facility with no memory. All he knows is that he's dead, and that his name is supposedly Raymond Garrison. Not believing it, he goes in search of his true identity, which he believes to be Angelo Mortalli. To find the information he seeks, Mortalli hunts down a mobster who apparently knows more about Mortalli than he's letting on. But every corner Bloodshot turns, it seems that everything from what little memory he has left has been completely erased in the real world...

The titular Bloodshot still has no character, despite his frequent as hell narrating. I'm especially confused as to why he deliberately chose a utility belt for his costume that has a huge red headlight on it!

The plot here accomplishes next to nothing. The majority shows the rest of Bloodshot's escape from the D.O.A facility, which really wasn't necessary, as we'd already seen enough of it last issue.

One really stupid scene is when D.O.A. director Simon Oreck is positing to Prject Lazarus head scientist Stroheim that the person they resurrected wasn't Raymond Garrison as they thought, but Angelo Mortalli. How in the hell did you perform this extremely elaborate procedure on a specific person (who they all know very well), but use the wrong body? However, Oreck doesn't mean it literally, as we find out in later issues. I'll just kill the mystery of that right here, lest you read this and think the writing is just inept.

The mobster, Pileggi, gets his satisfying just desserts this issue, but given how little he knows about Angelo Mortalli, why the hell did he gun down an underling last issue for merely mentioning the name?

The most baffling thing about this issue is the scene at the end, where Bloodshot recals a vague partial memory he has...And the memory is the tipping scene from Reservoir Dogs! There's a reason for this, but that's not explained this issue, so until you read where its explained, you'll wonder if the writers were trying to be cute, or if they're plagiarists!

By the way, there's one exchange between two D.O.A agents, where one is berating the other for wearing sunglasses at night, which the guy seems to think makes him look cool. I swear I wrote this exact same scene in a story I wrote! I guess I'll have to remove it, which is ok, as it was just a tiny one-scene joke. Funny coincidence!

The dialogue in this issue suffers from extreme pretentious overload, and this is not a small problem:
"Bodily fluids fermenting into wine for beetles, adipose tissue breakfast for the Conqueror Worm. Lies chiseled into granite. The name put to rest, but not the body...The grave's contents, unknown. Is six feet deep enough to bury a soul?". Judging by the lack of enough ghosts to necessitate the real-life existence of the Ghostbusters, I'd say Yes, Bloodshot, six feet is deep enough to bury the soul. "Cut the throat of metaphysics with Occam's Razor." Then what should be done with quantum mechanics? "Surge of current through emotional circuitry; spasm of memory, an amputee's phantom limb. Only an echo of a whisper, now. Sotto Voce reminder that coming back from the dead isn't the same being alive." Excuse me?! What?! And some dialogue is just dumb, such as when Bloodshot invades Pileggi's house!-"Doesn't matter how much you spend. If you build your castle out of money, the walls'll still be made of paper." Uh, no they won't. That's a terrible analogy! And one line is just disgusting! I'll save you the ickyness by not quoting it. This series also constantly overuses the word 'meat' when referring to flesh, and it's annoying!

Not all the dialogue is rubbish, though.  "Was what Project Lazarus called from the grave not enough to make a whole man...or did I bring back too much of death with me?".

The artwork is just like last issue-Decent for the most part, but pretty damn cluttered. There's one scene where I think bullets are being pushed out from Bloodshot's body by his nanites, but due to the poor structure of the art, it's hard to tell. The cover is Liefeldian, kinda ugly, and is has very little to display. Just Bloodshot kneeling in a puddle of stuff.

This isn't a great issue, but for all its problems, it's still heaps better than anything Classic Valiant ever did with the character. Still, if you're interested in what Acclaim's Bloodshot has to offer, then just skip this issue. It accomplishes nothing...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shadowman Presents: Deadside #1, #2, and #3 (Acclaim Comics)

Two years after buying out the bankrupt Valiant Comics, video game company Acclaim reset all the continuity, to start everything from scratch. Its new take on Shadowman produced a fantastic Nintendo 64 game, and a decent six issue series, but its first foray into the character was a 20 issue series which reeked of mediocrity all the way through.

A major aspect of all Acclaim Shadowman iterations is Deadside, the place everyone in this world goes to when they die. This setting was given its own miniseries in 1999 to more thoroughly explore it...Unfortunately it came out in 1999, which was the very end of Acclaim's comics division, which just barely crawled over the millennial gap before it was completely written off, what with the company starting to face serious financial issues (which they attempted to solve in increasingly dumb and insane ways, like bad-quality porn as a reward in shitty BMX games, or advertising their video games on real tombstones). Because of this, Deadside is a four-issue miniseries that only went for three!...

Horror in genre, Deadside is a miserable series, and I'm glad it didn't get to finish out its run. It has decently written moments here and there (very occasionally, mind you), but it's depressing beyond belief! And it's basically made up of one note, and that note is 'The afterlife sure sucks, don't it!'.

Each issue is an unconnected take on Deadside, all tenuously linked by the same character, I think (this guy being the victim in #1, then a watcher in #2 and #3). I say I think because the artwork sucks, and there's multiple characters in cowboy hats. How is he as a character? Well at the end of Issue #1, we find out that he has now become someone neither dead, nor undead...and that vague line is all we get, and it's never spoken of again! What is he? Can he walk between the worlds or something? What kind of rare powers does he now wield? Eh, I don't care.

The writing is just meh. It's pretentious, and it fails at being sick and twisted. I just found it to be boring. One thing to note, though, is that Issue #1's plot actually kinda resembles French extreme horror film Martyrs!

I've no idea why this is 'presented' by Shadowman. Sure, Deadside originates from that series, but by extension, it exists in every Acclaim title, from XO Man-O-War to Dr. Tomorrow. Michael LeRoi (the Shadow Man) isn't in this series (although Jaunty briefly is), so it feels like a cheap title to draw readers in.

One of the biggest problems this miniseries has is that it completely contradicts how Deadside is seen in other Acclaim series Bloodshot, and issues of Shadowman itself! And there's absolutely zero Voodoo in this series, despite that being a lynchpin to Shadowman. Wow, you don't screw up this badly without effort!

Another confusing aspect is-How can people die in Deadside? Maybe they come back again (it's implied in Bloodshot's final issue), but that's never brought up here, which is annoying, as a major element to #3 is killing residents of Deadside.

Like I said above, the artwork sucks! This is one reason why Acclaim's first run at Shadowmman was such a failure-The artwork was crudely drawn and ugly to look at. The same applies here, but what's really baffling is the sudden art shift mid-issue in #3! Veering away from the messy painted visuals, it becomes a lot smoother and photo-realistic, and it never switches back! What the hell? The covers aren't terrible, I guess. I think the logo looks ok-Three different versions of the word Deadside superimposed over each-other.

You might find Deadside disgusting, you might find it downright insulting to your religion, or you may look forward to some twisted storytelling, but either way, I don't recommend it. It's just not all that well-written...

By the way, on one more note. You know what really tickles me? This immensely dark miniseries about the horrific reality of how life after death is eternal suffering and damnation for everyone, everywhere, no exception? It's in the same universe as goofball comedy Quantum and Woody! Wow!...

Quantum and Woody #1 (Acclaim Comics)

Still fondly remembered to this day, Quantum and Woody is the Acclaim series so popular that even the Valiant comics elitists (yes, such a thing exists) like it, despite hating every other fiber of Acclaim's guts (for 'ruining' Valiant, which is an 'interesting' viewpoint to say the least, since Acclaim bought the dying Valiant and kept it going for another two years, technically four). It was a comedy, and while it apparently didn't do too well in sales, it still got more issues than any other Acclaim series, which is fantastic!

Eric Henderson and Woody van Chelton were best friends as kids, but lost contact, something which both are very bitter about when they meet again after fifteen years at the funeral of their fathers-Business partners who died in a helicopter crash together. Questioned by a policeman, the two realize their fathers may have been murdered, and they're prime suspects. They reluctantly team up to find the real killer, and in the process, uncover the truth behind what their fathers were working on...

*Animal loving readers, don't worry, that dog in the above picture isn't really dead...and it gets its revenge for being fed sleeping pills...

Quantum and Woody is friggin' hilarious HILARIOUS, no doubt about that! The title characters are very well-written-They each have loads of character to them already, what really helps sell these characters is that the story is funny, but also has real drama that makes you care about the two leads.

This series is very non-linear, and while it may throw you off at first, it's easy enough to get used to. The reason the writers utilized non-linearity was because they wanted to start the story proper in Issue #1, rather than devote the whole thing to the beginning of the origin story, and this way, they can both tell both simultaneously.

The framing is perfect! At the start, we get two funny vignettes of Eric and Woody as a kid, then a final one which is more dramatic, which is a segue into the present day.

All in all, this is a very good opener, and I definitely find that Quantum and Woody lives up to its reputation!

By the way, some great Q&W news! Not only are original series authors Christopher Priest and M.D. Bright writing a special sequel miniseries (which is so cool of Valiant to allow! Thanks so much, dudes!), but a classic Q&W omnibus is coming in October, containing the complete 24 issue series, plus unpublished issues (which were never released due to the series' untimely cancellation), extra short stories/material/bonus features, and the issue of XO Man-O-War the duo appeared in! Wow, awesome!...Except for the $100 dollar price tag, of course. That's probably gonna be a dealbreaker for many, me included, maybe.

This first issue is currently free on digital comics website Comixology, so if Quantum and Woody sounds at all interesting to you, then you have nothing to lose by getting it and giving it a read!...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #1 (Classic Valiant)

Say, are you a huge fan of the Turok video games, and are interested in seeing the acclaimed Valiant Comics run? Or maybe you've heard all the hype for Valiant's Solar, Man of the Atom, or Magnus, Robot Fighter, and want to read them. Well tough, you can't. No-one can, as they are in copyright hell and cannot be saved. Dark Horse used to own the rights to the characters, and while it reprinted all the classic Gold Key issues, it didn't touch the Valiant ones. Since their screw-up, the rights to the three characters now rest with Dynamite Comics, who are writing their own Gold Key remakes, but you know what they haven't done? Reprinted the Valiant Turok, Solar, or Magnus. And it's not because they just don't want to, but because they can't either! That's right, not only can Valiant not reprint three of their biggest series', but not even the current rights-holders to those characters can either! Jesus!

Ok, shifting all that out of the way, I've managed to get a copy of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter Issue #1, one of the most best-selling comics of the 90's, with over 1.7 million copies sold! Wow, the 90's were awesome for the comics industry! It's just a shame that the industry crashed in '96.

Native American Indian Turok has had a long life. Back in the 1800's, he and his fellow tribesman Andar journeyed through a long and mysterious cave system, and when they emerged, the found themselves in The Lost Lands, a strange place where 'time has no meaning'. There they find a new tribe, and live with them until a supposed god named Mothergod comes, with intent to make the universe better. Turok sides with her, but soon realizes of her evil and fights against her. Many months later, the war in the Lost Lands ends, and Turok is flung forward in time to 'present day' Colombia, along with dozens, if not hundreds of Mothergod's evil dinosaur cyborgs...

This issue starts off all narration, extensively going over Turok's backstory and history, and this is a big mistake! This comic will make you yell 'Show! Don't tell!' over and over again. Thankfully, while the narration is still annoyingly everpresent, the second half is when the story actually starts proper.

It's a decently written story, although aside from the above problem, it's also cliched. In the Lost Lands, Turok's adopted tribe was slaughtered by Mon-Ark and others while Turok was distracted elsewhere, and soon after, when he's back on Earth, and finds another tribe to live with...Mon-Ark and co. attack them while Turok's lured away. Way to think outside of the box, writer! How many damn adopted tribes is Turok gonna lose? Is he like Paul Kersey? Everyone in a 100 mile radius he loves dies for dramatic tension?

While we barely seem him interact with anyone, Turok is a decent character, mainly due to his interesting Native American beliefs and practices.

As for the villains, I very much like the concept of the dinosoids, what with their bionic implants transforming them from mere animals who kill for food into intelligent and cruel beasts. Mon-Ark is an ok bad guy, but his name is stupid! Mon-ark, Syberidol, DarcThornn, Terminator Genesys, etc. Goddamn 90's!...and 2015...

The writing itself is ok, and pretty great in the final battle of the issue. There's also one funny line Turok says when narrating about how Mothergod came to him. "Naturally Andar and I swore allegiance. Only fools and white men deny the wisdom of gods". Haha, wow, Turok is a racist! There's also an almost unintentionally hilarious line where Turok says 'I've killed a tree!' after his arrow misses his dinosoid target.  I say almost, because while that does sound silly, Native American Indian beliefs are very much one with nature, so I can buy that Turok would actually say something like that. The issue's title is stupid though-Cold Blood Blazing. How can blood blaze? Especially if it's cold!

The artwork is subpar at best, Liefedian at worst, with Turok's musculature sometimes looking ridiculous! The cover is also meh.

Lemme tell you, this first issue really didn't leave me optimistic for the rest of the series, but the rest of the series pulls through! Once #1 gets all the establishing and backstory out of the way, the series really starts proper in Issue #2. In fact, if you're ever foolhardy enough to go looking for a series this hard to find, forget #1 altogether and start with #2. Granted, it's not great, but it's entertaining at the least.

My advice is to simply ignore this series. It's too hard and/or costly to find (even attempting to download scans from 'questionable' sources is a useless venture, and when even that can't get you what you want, you know you're fucked), so stick with the three N64 games, and say nuts to anything else...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shadowman #3 (Classic Valiant)

Ugh, crap. I guess I had to come back to this Shadowman series sooner or later! *sigh* Gone is the good Shadow Man series, after a scant six issues. I hardly knew ye...

Jack Boniface is full of newfound exhilaration in his new role as Shadowman, beating up the crooked people of New Orleans' nightlife, but unfortunately for him, degenerate gangster, pedophile, child Po-Very Bad Thing-er and literal soul-sucker Emil Sosa has taken a sick fancy in Shadowman, and is intent on hunting him down...

This is an issue that has a villain into some horrendous stuff, and I don't know how to feel about this being in a comic. On one hand, having the hero confront such a dark real world issue is kinda commendable, and in the right hands, it can show maturity (althugh it's basically window dressing here), but on the other hand, this isn't the kind of bleak real-life subject that I want to read about in comic books. I'm not saying all comics need to be super rainbow happy fun, but some stuff might be too grim to use.

Main character Jack Boniface continues to be a dullard. I just don't find him interesting. He has no character, and he's a dime-a-dozen vigilante. Also, I am seriously getting annoyed by Classic Valiant's constant piss-yellow narration boxes! Pick a different colour, you lazy bums! Jack's baby-blue Shadowman costume is still sucky, but his mask is very cool and fitting!...It gets destroyed next issue and is replaced by a sucky one. Dammit!...

Emil Sosa is an ok villain. His soul-sucking powers are courtesy of his being a Harbinger (the Valiant universe's equivalent to mutants), but thankfully this issue doesn't say that. Not that this helps much, as there's still no legit magic in the Shadowman series, which is infuriating.

There are many dumb moments this issue, such as when Jack saves a captive girl from Sosa's house, walks her out onto the grounds...and leaves her alone so he can go find Sosa! IDIOT! But it's ok, as this plantation just seems like a regular home, with no guards and just Sosa...But Jack doesn't know that, and the little girl is still caught while he's Sosa. Holy crap, you suck at this, Jack! Michael LeRoi is the real Shadow Man! Dr. Facilier is better at being a Shadow Man than Jack Boniface, and he was a bad guy!

Another nonsensical aspect is why Sosa's maids have never called the police, even though they're regularly forced to dispose of violently murdered bodies by their twisted employer. Seriously, pretend to dispose of whoever Sosa's just killed, leaving it on the grounds, then call the cops when he's out, or if they're feeling really confident, leave the corpse exactly where it is and smashed a vase against the back of Sosa's head, or something like that. Nettie explains that he's got the maids' kids locked up somewhere, as insurance, but Sosa seems to be a pretty lone wolf. Again, conk 'im on the head and phone 911! The cops'll find your kids! Either way, it's better than them being locked up in a sex offender's secret dungeon somewhere!

The ending is hilariously abrupt! Jack and Sosa fight for a few panels, Jack wins quickly, then it instantly cuts to Jack talking to Nettie the next day, where he's saying "Man, Sosa sure was a maniac. I'm glad he's dead" Wow! Could you be any more blase abrupt than that?!

One scene in particular is just plain baffling! It's at the start, when Jack is in a bar, seeing an old guy being harassed by bookies. They drag the guy into a bathroom, and Jack follows, sticking a crowbar in the door handle. The next panel, the thugs are running out, terrified, and it was easy enough to figure out what had happened...But then I saw the time tag! Jack goes into the bathroom to confront the thugs at 9:06 PM, and they run out at 9:45 PM! What the hell was Jack doing in there for 39 minutes?! After that long, why did no-one call the police, or force their way in to see if Jack was ok? What must the bar patrons/staff think of the guy who locks himself in a bathroom with violent gangsters for nearly an hour? Stupid comic! And worse still, when the gangsters escape the bathroom, one of them says "Finally! I thought that bolt would never give!". Uh, dude, did you try lifting it up?! That line would make sense if the crowbar was on the opposite side of the door, but it isn't! Stupid comic!

The art is pretty good, as is the cover. The logo box though, Jeezu Christos! Bright green?! And other issues in the series have logo box either tomato red, baby blue, orange, or juane yellow, etc! This is supposed to be a horror series!

On one final note, Shadowman is not worthy of a day of celebration in New Orleans in my opinion. It's a city that deserves a better comic...

She-Hulk #2 (Marvel-2014)

Wow, it took me longer than I meant to to come back to the new She-Hulk series, didn't it!

Jennifer 'She Hulk' Walters has just set up her new law firm, and one night out clubbing, she bumps into fellow superheroine Patsy Walker-Hellcat. Patsy is pretty drunk, and insistent on having some fun, so she runs out to head for a secret A.I.M. (a bad guy group in the Marvel universe) base she heard about to throw down in, with Jennifer reluctantly tagging along...

Issue #2 is more of the same in terms of dullness as #1, but it was a tiny bit better. The story is so brief and nothing, that it's infuriating that readers have to wait so long in-between issues, when what we get feels so lifeless and empty, like there's practically no-one in Jennifer Walters' life other than herself, even though she has frequent ties with all the big players of the Marvel universe.

Jennifer Walters is pretty boring here.  Her speech at the end really annoyed me. She goes on to the A.I.M agent about how she's got nothing to lose, and that her 'life seems to fall about more and more each day.' What?! The only thing that's happened to you is you quitting your last job, and you got a massive payment for another job, and now have your own law firm! Shut up, 'Jennifer'! This attitude makes no sense, especially if you factor in continuity!

One weird aspect to the comic is that Jennifer has no work to do but this one case involving a few superheroes, and for some reason she doesn't want to. That'd be ok if the comic ever explained why!

Hellcat is an unlikeable bitch here, but she's drunk, so I'll give her character the benefit of the doubt.
Jennifer's new secretary looks very unappealing, but that may be because she reminds me of Rosie O'Donnell, who I can't stand. Also, her having a pet monkey just seems odd for the sake of being odd.

The one case Jennifer has-the so called 'Blue File'-namedrops Monica Rambeau. I can't help but wonder if the 'Don't mention a great movie in your shitty one' applies here!...I'm kidding, of course, but what I will complain about in that regard is that the picture of Monica in the file is of a white woman!

The artwork is decent in places, but mostly amateurish. Sometimes the character ratios are screwed up, sometimes the characters appear pudgy, even though they're not meant to, and sometimes there are nothing white backgrounds. Also, it became more and more noticeable to me that the characters, especially Jennifer, look dead-eyed! Speaking of eyes, there's a terrible two-page spread!

I won't complain about the artwork too much though...Because I've seen how much worse it gets! I might as well talk about this here for a bit, as I have no intention of getting any more issues of this series any time soon. Issue #5 has a new artist, who I think is a temporary fill-in, and his art style is Aeon Flux if it looked like shit! And if you're familiar with Aeon Flux, you know that it already looks like shit!

To finish, She Hulk #2 is dull as nothing, and is completely unworthy of being a She Hulk comic!...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rai #0 (Classic Valiant)

Today I'll be tackling a big figure in Valiant Comics-Rai #0! Big in its reputation, and in how big of a failure I find this comic to be! Bafflingly though, Rai #0 is very widely praised over the net. People don't just like this issue-They love it! One person put it on a list of the most important comics of the '90's*! Dear lord! Well I'm about to go headlong into all the reasons why I strongly disagree with those opinions!...

*I also don't get why people praise Valiant for how original it was for being a cohesive shared universe which 'amazingly' had a big emphasis on inter-continuity. That is not an original concept. Even the dumbest of people know that that's exactly what Marvel and DC are! And Image! And plenty of other comic companies! End foootnote.

Rai #0 is the Valiant series bible, plain and simple, and I don't know which jerkoff's bright idea it was to publish it, but whoever they are, 'thanks'! *claps hands.* Imagine if before all the recent Marvel movies came out, a prologue movie did, and it spoiled several key plot points, and the endings to all future movies. That's what Rai #0 does for Valiant Comics! It spoils so many things for so many series', and sets many things in stone which absolutely shouldn't be! Did you want to know how Archer, Bloodshot, and Shadowman, Aric Dacia etc. die, and how gruesome their demises are? No? Well too bad, this issue is gonna tell you anyway. Worser still, it spoils the entire ending to Shadowman, giving a date that's only a few years away from the then present day of late-1992.

The biggest unwelcome thing set in stone by Rai #0 involves Harbinger (think mutants from X-Men) villain Toyo Harada. According to this comic, the Harbinger Wars happen, and with them, Harada turns the whole world into an apocalyptic hellhole for 900 years! Not only is that depressing, but it also means that Harada is never going away in the comics at all, ever! This is the ultimate example of hollow victory in comics! And it doesn't even make sense! Why didn't the heroes of earth just band together and stop Harada? It's only exactly what they did to stop the evil Mothergod in the Unity crossover! And the stakes and odds in that fight were far more than just some guy who's a bit powerful. Yeah, that's an oversimplification of him, but no matter how powerful Toyo Harada is, he'd have to contend with a physical god, a man armoured in the most powerful weapon in the universe, numerous invincible immortal warriors, one of whom can control machines, and the entire might of the H.A.R.D. Corps, a massive paramilitary corporation with only one goal-Kill Harada! But no, Harada's life is now set in stone and can never be changed (if it could, why would they even bother writing this), no matter how little sense that makes!

The fact that none of the heroes stopped Harada is not only extremely illogical, but makes them seem ineffectual. And what would have happened with Valiant's real-time schedule come a few decades? If, say, Valiant lasted as long as Marvel and DC have, and didn't reboot, that means that after a certain point, literally all present-day lines would be about the Harbinger Wars. Given how badly it's affecting the whole planet, there's no way they'dve been able to focus on other kinds of stories, so things would have gotten boring and repetitive fast! And if these new heroes can't take out Harada either, why the hell should we care about them?!

Jeez, every single character in the Valiant universe must seriously be feeling like they're in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead because of the lack of logical free will this issue 'provides'.

The depressing factor is really bad too, as since the world is in such horrific shape in the near future, and the millennia following, why should we care about the present-day series, because they're all going to end horribly no matter what! For example, in one issue of Shadowman, the villainous necromancer Darque kills Steven Tyler (yes, really), and the titular hero allows himself to be badly cursed by Darque in order to bring Tyler back to life. Nevermind that the fate of Aerosmith does not compare to leaving the evil and nigh-powerful Master Darque powerless-Yeah, Shadowman has saved Steven Tyler, but the whole world is gonna go to shit anyway, so what's the point?

This issue is a random series of events stringed together by a narration from a guy from the future, and all Valiant characters just fly by, with only a few panels before the focus shifts. There's a scene with the HARD Corps that is literally pointless, and it's almost a continuity error. What is a continuity error is in fact on the very same page, when present-day Geomancer (a lineage of people who do the Earth's bidding) Geoff McHenry is calling Gilad, the Eternal Warrior. It's stunning how just one panel can create so many problems! For one, Geoff, who has broken the character of Bloodshot out of the nefarious Project Rising Spirit, is calling Gilad to tell him that his name is on Project Rising Spirit's list of potential experimentation candidates. WRONG! Bloodshot himself told Gilad that in Eternal Warrior #3! Secondly, after he's done his thing and escaped PRS, Geoff says to Gilad "I found the project...". So he found Rising Spirit's location, and instead of relying on his invincible immortal soldier friend who is specifically on hand to help, Geoff instead went in alone! Dumb kid!

There are a lot more continuity errors, but I won't list them, as this is running long already. How are there so many errors here? It's not like those issues came first-They came later! So they had this as an easy access blueprint! Maybe those writers thought they could do a much better job than the ones here. Good call, really.

Onto some minor problems, when Geoff breaks Bloodshot out from Project Rising Spirit, a guard grabs him and actually says "How the hell did you get in here? This is a top secret research facility!". Why stop at just telling the intruder that, dude. Why not bellow it out the streets!

Another dumb bit of dialogue comes from Geoff himself, after Bloodshot has been killed and bad guy Ax has siphoned out all his super-powerful blood. "There's not a trace left of the blood in him."...Except for the pile of blood he's visibly lying in! Jeez, how do the writers and authors screw up their synchronization this badly.

Another bit of stupidity comes when the H.A.R.D. Corps appear, and the book has Gunslinger do a really stupid pose while saying '...We'll trash 'im!'. From the pathetic and out-of-character line, and the embarrassing pose, it's like looking at a kid trying to be 'gangsta'!

The final problem with Rai #0 is that is has squat to do with the character of Rai! Sure, he's in it, but so is every other character in the Valiant universe (which is not 1500, as many reviews for this, and the official Valiant website itself laughably decree), so Rai isn't special. What a #0 issue for Rai should have been was a heavy focus on his lineage, and the story here could be Handbook to the Valiant Universe or something.

Onto something completely different-The artwork. It's good. The cover's ok, but a bit bland.

Rai #0 is hands down the worst comic I've ever read, and it did irreparable harm to Valiant. I can't believe there are people who really care so much about this comic!...

Monday, July 7, 2014

XO Man-O-War #1 and #2 (Acclaim Comics)

XO Man-O-War* is a pretty fortunate comic book property all things considered. Its first series (part of Valiant Comics) sucked for I-don't-know-how-long (best I can do is tell you that issue #66 and beyond is good), but its recent remake (by New Valiant) is actually very good, as is it's first remake, back from 1996, courtesy of notoriously shitty company Acclaim**.

*Yes, I'm aware that's not how these comics spell it, but dammit, I didn't graduate English for nuthin'!

**That is to say, the company was terrible, but they released plenty of good products, like most of their comics, and quite a few of their games. Unfortunately, not enough of their games, and they made several 'bright' business moves like buying a bankrupt comic company for $65 million dollars during the Great Comic Industry Crash of 1996, attempting to put advertising space on tombstones, inserting awful quality porn in a crappy BMX game to make it sell better instead of actually making it good, etc.

Ever since the Second World War, the US army have had a mysterious set of armour they captured from the Nazis. No-one has ever been able to unlock its secrets until ace scientist Donovan Wylie had a look. Now the super-powerful armour is up-and-running, and  as high-tech terrorist group R.A.G.E. intends to attack the White House, and they've got weaponry advanced enough to do so with little opposition. Expert soldier Rand Banion is chosen to be the wearer of the XO armour, and flies out to combat R.A.G.E. while Wylie sits out on the sidelines, advising Banion on the armour's capabilities. Tragedy strikes, however, and Wylie is forced to use the armour himself to take down R.A.G.E. before Washington falls...

Like I said above, this series' main character is scientist Donovan Wylie. That's right, no ancient Visigoth barbarians or spider aliens here. Some hate this decision, but I don't mind at all. For one, it's a remake, it's allowed to be different, and two, the Valiant XO series ran for over seventy issues! After that many, it's really not so much of a loss that the remake is completely different in every way.

Wylie is a total egotist, but he's pretty likeable. He hasn't gotten much development so far, but the series has only just started, so I can absolutely let that slide for now.

Rand Banion is a pretty awesome character, and immensely likeable, so it's a crying shame what happens to him here! Thankfully this isn't the end for him in the series, as he comes back in another form. The villain, Commander Revere, is ok. He's a stock standard villain, but his motivation is pretty interesting.

The plot here kinda resembles a '90's Image comic, but whereas those were grotesquely illustrated, the bearer of paper-thin stories, and were ultra grim-'n'-gritty, XO is just plain fun with a capital fun!

Speaking of plots, let's compare this to the first two issues of Valiant's XO, shall we. What was accomplished here? A scientist helps unlock a mysterious armour from the 1940's, stolen from the Nazis. The US military need the armour desperately to combat a powerful new terrorist threat with the immense brute power to fly right to the White House and Independence Day the crap out of it. The XO armour's pilot is killed in a battle with the terrorist mothership, and the scientist has to take matters in his own hand, and uses the armour to temporarily neutralize the threat. What was accomplished in Valiant's first two issues? A guy finds a tough suit of armour and kills some aliens with it. Which sounds more enticing to you?

This is very well-written, although it does get into things a tad too quickly, as Wylie has already worked on the armour when the story starts, and while he's been told the story of the armour's retrieval to death, we don't know anything. This is a pretty minor problem though.

Another minor problem is to do with Wylie's narration. It's under the pretense of 'Donovan's Brain', an ultra-comprehensive diary, which is fine. What isn't, however, is the chapter discrepancy. Issue #1 opens with Donovan's Brain Chapter 473, and #2 opens with Chapter 809, even though these issues take place right after the other.

The artwork here is pretty great. And the covers are fine too...Except for the blank barcode obtrusion. Funny, you wouldn't think XO Issue #1 from 2012 would have the exact same problem! 'Tis a bit of Synchronicity at work here, so it seems.

One final note, and bear with me here, as this is pretty long, this series is also great nostalgia for me...technically. When I was about six, I went to the York Show (an annual local festival), and one stall had a few comics, from Valiant and Acclaim (which I didn't know at the time). Either these comics were free, or very. very cheap, which isn't surprising, given this was only a couple of years after the comics industry crash of '96. I read through them quite a bit, not really knowing what the hell was happening in them, and I've no idea what happened to these comics of mine. When I realized what they were a few months ago, I was pretty surprised. One of them was Acclaim's XO Man-O-War, which was news to me, as I remembered it as being an Iron Man comic with Captain America, or vice versa. My memory of that comic is pretty vague, but there was something off about it being either of those two Marvel characters-I don't know what. Maybe it's was my subconscious trying to tell me my memory had it wrong. But when I found out about this series, the Bravado character of later issues, that there was a black guy (who I originally thought was Iron Man) and the villainous R.A.G.E., everything came together   I haven't gotten to that issue yet, so there's no nostalgia yet, but there will be, I'm sure of that! In the meantime, I abslutely recommend this series! It's great fun...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bloodshot #8 (Classic Valiant)

Yes, it was only a matter of time before I tore myself away from Acclaim's immensely enjoyable Bloodshot series and focused on reviewing the crummy original Valiant iteration. While other crappy Valiant series Secret Weapons is inconstistently bad, Bloodshot's level of mediocrity has stayed pretty consistent, with it's lacklustre plots and boring protagonist.

Bloodshot, aka Michael Lazarus, goes to London for a brief work visit to MI6, but is soon waylaid when he finds out his informant Malcolm has been kidnapped by a group of Irish terrorists. As Bloodshot seeks the terrorists out, a sniper from the villainous Iwatsu Industries (the guys that gave Bloodshot his nanite (tiny supercomputers) powers and rapid healing abilities) shoots him with a dart filled with a computer virus...

Let's start off with the artwork for this issue. It's decent, and the cover's ok, although the location is a bit bland. The panel structure isn't very good when it comes to character positions at times, nor are eyes done very well (with characters sometimes exhibiting Youngblood's Disease). The worst piece of drawing on display is the size of Bloodshot's pistol in one scene!

Bloodshot narrates constantly, but has very little proper dialogue. Eight issues in, and he still has no character to him. He's just a guy with a gun with no aptitude for costume design! Seriously, why did the writers have Bloodshot always wear nothing but a pair of bright green sweatpants, and a vest perpetually open like he's Jeff Stryker?!

In my review for Bloodshot issues #4 and #5, I mention how BL's girlfriend Maria never appeared after that story. The reason is explained by the narration here-She apparently dumped Bloodshot, offscreen! The narration gives a BS explanation about how Bloodshot told her about what he was, and Maria 'couldn't handle it'. That's it. No further explanation, or going into specifics! Why did she leave him? What couldn't she handle? What's so hard to handle about realizing you're dating a secret agent with superpowers? Hell, how are you not thinking about his possible prowess in the bedroom, honey?!...Ok, I may be joking on that last note...

This issue crosses over with Secret Weapons #1, showing character Geoff McHenry recruiting Bloodshot for that story's events in full detail, and it feels pretty pointless, as this scene is already in that other issue, and it doesn't affect this story at all. Also, one particular line is a continuity error. Geoff tells Bloodshot, who was in the middle of an MI6 mission against counterfeiters, that helping him is 'much more important than your need for revenge!', which would make sense if Bloodshot was still after the mafia. But he's not, and by this comic's timeframe, he stopped that about three/four months ago.

The writing here is pretty meh. Bloodshot's narration is overused and not very well written. As for the plot, this whole issue is just a collection of equally pointless scenes! Geoff talking with Bloodshot? Pointless. Bloodshot getting shot with a computer virus by a sniper? Pointless, as it barely affects his performance in the slightest, and never amounts to anything beyond this issue. The remnants of the terrorist group from Issue #1 returning for revenge? Pointless, as they're killed off so quickly. You could make a drinking game from the amount of times I say pointless in this review! Not a good comic in the slightest!...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bloodshot #1 (Acclaim Comics)

About a year ago, I read an article on Valiant Comics, and I liked it quite a bit, as at that point, I'd read next to no Valiant books. But since then, I began to, and I realized this article was riddled with multiple inaccuracies (making it pretty clear the the article's author doesn't know a damn thing about what he's writing about), and worse, it gives Valiant a massive, massive reviewer blowjob! It's intolerable!

One particularly infuriating thing this guy does is trash Acclaim Comics (which remade the Valiant series'), saying that it dumbed down everything into derivative and formulaic messes...What?! WHAT?! It did the opposite, dumbass! For example, Acclaim's Bloodshot is way more intelligent and original than Valiant's ever was. There are many who hate Acclaim for tossing all the Valiant continuity out the window as soon as they got the rights to the characters (in 1994), and restarting everything from scratch. Bullshit! Many of the titles had more issues released under Acclaim's run than they did prior. In 1996, Acclaim remade everything from the bottom up, and who can blame them. XO Man-O-War had ran for a total of 72 issues, Solar 60, Magnus 67+, Bloodshot 54, etc. Remaking the lines would be fine at that point, and a wiser decision, given people reading comics after the industry crash would be drawn more to new series' than ones nearly 100 issues in.

One example of the article's inaccuracy is when it starts talking about the 'fantastic' themes in the various series'-It says Solar contains heavy themes about God and his relation with Science (those themes were heavy in Acclaim Solar), Bloodshot focused on identity and the human soul (No, Acclaim Bloodshot did), and that XO Man-O-War 'probed the idea of personal evolution and how it can alienate those most important to you' (Yes, it did...for all of one issue out of 72).

I suppose you're wondering why I've been rambling on about this for three paragraphs instead of reviewing today's comic. I wanted to get it off my chest, and clear up the misconception some people on the internet (TV Tropes included) have about Acclaim's treatment of the Valiant stable of characters, as a prelude to my review for Acclaim's Bloodshot Issue #1...

A man wakes up in a vat of goo in a top-secret government facility, with no memories, and a body warped beyond recognition. He's told his name is Raymond Garrison, but he can't shake the feeling that he isn't, and escapes the facility with the name Angelo Mortalli in his head. The experiment that seemingly brought this man from the dead endowed him with several powers, such as the ability to talk to and understand machines, learn vast amounts of information in seconds, move much faster than normal humans, regenerative powers, and a general higher tolerance to damage. As he's hunted by the shady government agency, the man searches for information on Angelo Mortalli from the mafia...

This is a fantastic opener! It's well written (albeit a little pretentious in the Vitruvian Bloodshot 2-page spread), introducing both the title character and the setting well, and it kicks off the start of an intriguing mystery! I'm genuinely curious, who is Angelo Mortalli? And who is Raymond Garrison? The mystery in this series is very well handled, especially when compared to the Valiant Bloodshot series, which started in media res, in an annoyingly lazy, poorly written fashion.

This is the first issue and Bloodshot's only just woken up, so he doesn't really have much character to him yet, which isn't a problem, as at this stage, the intrigue of his dangerous search is enough of an impetus for one to care about the story before his character develops.

Bloodshot narrates kinda like a computer, given the nanites (tiny computers) in his body letting him analyse everything he sees perfectly and completely, and it works sometimes, but other times it's a bit confusing and overspoken. His healing powers are very different to his original incarnation, as he's not just an invincible Mary-Sue. In Valiant, Bloodshot instantly regenerated like he's super-Wolverine, which made him pretty boring. Here, on the other hand, Bloodshot needs raw materials to aid with his body's reconstruction.

The series' main villains are the D.O.A. (Domestic Operations Authority) and their leader, Simon Oreck. We don't know much about him at this stage, but he's interesting enough.

The artwork is pretty good, but it can be a little cluttered at times, making it hard to see what you're looking at. The cover is ok. The background is pretty nifty, but the foreground picture of Bloodshot is pretty stock standard. One odd thing about the comic is the chapter numberings, which feel pointless. Also on the subject of page structure, Acclaim actually bothers to have numbered pages, unlike so many other companies! Nice!

Acclaim's Bloodshot has its problems, but it's a very good read, and the ending to this issue really had me hooked! I definitely recommend it. It's the best version of Bloodshot I've read so far, although it hardly has much competition...