Bloodshot 13 (July 2013)

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Swierczynski takes a peculiar approach to dealing with Bloodshot’s side of the final Harbinger Wars issue. He makes it as lame as humanly possible.

It’s actually not even Bloodshot’s issue, it’s his sidekick Kara’s issue and his sidekick Kara hasn’t had much presence during the crossover event. She’s his voice of reason, not much else. Babysitter for the kids too.

Speaking of the kids, after spending a couple issues establishing them, Swierczynski dumps them to instead focus on really bad dream sequences. They’re an afterthought to the issue. Valiant must have really wanted to do a crossover special, but by not doing it straightforward, these issues are weak.

The art’s also got problems. Kitson’s has three inkers (himself included) and each of them makes the finished art look different.

It’s a bad issue and left me wondering why anyone would ever want to read another one. It’s rough and pointless.

CREDITS

Living the Dream; writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano, Kitson and Mark Pennington; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Harbinger Wars 4 (July 2013)

Harbinger Wars 4

Dysart brings Harbinger Wars into the station and it’s entirely unclear why they bothered with the trip at all. Besides–apparently–cutting down on cast members, the crossover event did very little. Dysart doesn’t even seem to pretend it did anything. He leaves a lot unresolved so readers have to keep going with the main series (the point of a crossover book after all); it means there’s nothing to do the story itself. Dysart can’t fake it and make Wars seem worth it.

There’s some decent art; it’s a whole lot of action. There’s not even time for character moments, especially since Dysart only gives his regular Harbinger cast the slightest attention. Even the idiotic H.A.R.D Corps guys get more attention and they’re indistinguishable, despite codenames and different physical characteristics.

Dysart tries hard to keep the battlefronts clear, but it still doesn’t work.

I’m just glad the series’s finally over.

CREDITS

The Battle for Las Vegas; writers, Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart; artists, Clayton Henry, Pere Perez and Mico Suayan; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Josh Johns Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Bloodshot 12 (June 2013)

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I’ve only read a few issues of Bloodshot but it seems like a big part of what Swierczynski does is have contrived scenes with Bloodshot and the men who wrong him in the past. It’ll seem like Bloodshot is finished, his nanites unable to repair him, but then he’ll magically come through thanks to the perseverance of the human spirit.

Especially against the very evil bad guys.

It’s really boring, especially since Swierczynski never comes up with good places for these action sequences. This issue’s takes place in a mechanized slaughterhouse. Feels a little like the end of the first Terminator movie, only without any drama.

Meanwhile, the kids and their babysitter are under siege in their transportation vehicle. The bad guys can remotely control the vehicle’s auto-lock system. It’s real silly and really dumb.

The art from Kitson and Gaudiano is quite good. Swierczynski’s script not so much.

CREDITS

Writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Kitson; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Harbinger Wars 3 (May 2013)

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Why am I reading this comic book? I mean, Dysart does script a good issue. It’s a little light, he’s split between way too many things and the issue isn’t oversized, but why am I reading it? It’s not escapism. It’s painfully realistic superhero comics. Introduce this likable character to kill them–seeing terribly abused kids murdered by paramilitary, blood hungry goons–fun times.

Dysart’s relentless with it too. He gets in one joke, from Bloodshot. Otherwise it’s all set up for something terrible to come, with the bad guys revealing in their badness, then showing it off as they kill kids. Then there’s the regular Harbinger duped into attacking Bloodshot and his gang of kids. Awesome.

But there isn’t an inherent seriousness to the series. It’s still kind of an X-Men knockoff, just a desperately upsetting one. Bad corporations killing dumb teenagers. Rock on.

It’s just too much.

CREDITS

Writers, Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart; artists, Clayton Henry and Pere Perez; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editor, Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Bloodshot 11 (May 2013)

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I like the way Valiant–or Swierczynski in this case–is handling the Harbinger Wars crossover. He’s using this issue of Bloodshot to flush out the relevant scenes in the main book; it’s expensive if a reader buys all the issues, but it also means it doesn’t have to be expensive. Each piece of the puzzle isn’t integral to getting a story.

As for the story here? There’s not a lot. It’s an all-action issue, though Bloodshot is also arguing with the evil little boy who lives in his head and tells him what to do. The art from Kitson and Gaudiano is so downbeat, the scenes don’t even play goofy.

Speaking of the art, the savage action violence gets a lot of focus here. Swierczynski seems to go for the grossest scenes possible for Bloodshot and he’s regenerative powers.

There’s not much to the comic, but it’s fine.

CREDITS

Writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Kitson; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Harbinger Wars 2 (May 2013)

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I love how Dysart makes sly jabs at the Valiant Universe (or whatever they call it), pointing out how bad ideas are from the nineties. It’s a weird thing, which doesn’t break the story–possibly because he’s already got the debriefing framing and it allows for a lot of colorful commentary.

It’s pretty much an all action issue, only split between the two different groups. There are the New Mutants–or whatever the kid-lead group of escaped psiots should be called–and Bloodshot and his charges. There’s also the big fight scene with Harada, which proves more entertaining than one might expect. Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with Bloodshot to know his powers are specifically designed to provide for awesome comic book action scenes. Odd science that.

The stuff with the renegade kids has more depth, but only a little.

Good stuff; Dysart ably handles a huge cast.

CREDITS

Writers, Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart; artists, Clayton Henry and Pere Perez; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editor, Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Bloodshot 10 (April 2013)

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Stefano Gaudiano is a great inker, though not really one I think of for action comics. Barry Kitson is a great action penciller, but not one I think of for a lot follow through. Together… together they make a very nice pair, especially since this comic takes place entirely at night so everything’s very dark.

Writer Duane Swierczynski figures out one way to make an all action issue take a while to read. Lots and lots of characters–talkative little kids, an annoying female sidekick–even though Bloodshot does talk quite a bit, he mostly just has to react.

Swierczynski only has one big action set piece, even though technically it’s all action–they’re walking through the desert after all. The action sequence has a lot of conflict and character moments.

For an all action issue, in other words, it doesn’t feel empty. There’s a lot of personality.

It’s good.

CREDITS

Writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Kitson; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Harbinger Wars 1 (April 2013)

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I’m not sure what I should be getting out of Harbinger Wars. Dysart thinks things out–he structures the issue around some government types interrogating some bad corporation types. Some psiot kids got free or something, kind of has to do with Harbinger–oh, right, the good guys from Harbinger need to protect the kids from the bad guy. Bloodshot is in it too, working for the bad guy right now but I’ll bet he switches sides eventually.

It’s all prologue to something, which is pretty much the problem. It’s all setup. The Bleeding Monk tells Peter to save the kids, there’s a lot of flashbacks with the kids being mistreated, Harada pops in, but it’s mostly exposition scenes. Exposition scenes under an already expository structure.

Dysart’s writing is good, the art’s all generally fine, but there’s nothing going on yet. The first issue grabber is missing, which is unfortunate.

CREDITS

Writers, Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart; artists, Clayton Crain, Clayton Henry and Mico Suayan; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Josh Johns and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

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