Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D. Corps #22 starts a new arc building off of the events of the last arc: Bloodshot no longer needs the regular help of the H.A.R.D. Corps technicians to stay alive. He leaves the Corps, spectacularly and with bloodshed all around, and they, in turn, try to hunt him down.
This team has never been one of loveable misfits making a family: There have been stresses right from the start, making the eventual breakup a matter of “when,” not “whether.” Bodreau and Gage have planted the seeds well and have written their characters well enough that everyone has a clear and understandable point of view, making it hard to know who to cheer for—or whether to root for any of them, under the circumstances. They also throw in a twist or two to keep everyone on their toes.
Barrionuevo knows when to make his characters expressive and when not to. It is impossible to tell what Bloodshot is thinking for the first few pages of this issue and that is brilliant. Everyone around him is emoting, he looks the perfectly engineered soldier. After that, he’s concentrating on the fight. It is not until later that his thoughts on what is happening are at all revealed, and even then he is hard to read. The rest of the team? Their varying responses are clear, even without their words. He and Matt Milla are also fond of big splashes of blood, so the fighting is fairly gory, if not detailed.
One thing Valiant does supremely well is supply background information and summaries at the beginning of every comic. They are clear enough that any reader should be able to jump in at any time. You might well find yourself wanting to read previous issues, but you won’t have to.
Writer: Duffy Boudreau & Christos Gage
Artist: Al Barrionuevo
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Lewis LaRosa, Roberto de la Torre, Riley Rossmo