Thursday, July 24, 2014

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...

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