Tuesday, July 23, 2013

1st Impression: Bloodshot # 13

Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Barry Kitson, Clayton Crain, Stefano Gaudiano, Mark Pennington & Brian Reber
Valiant Comics


                This issue opens with a man in a hospital …without one arm, all bandaged. Then we get a little bit of Bloodshot being lost in his head again thanks to the many false memories and lives that he has … telling him to stay in his head. Bloodshot says no and we get to Bloodshot and Kara having a heart to heart before the battle. Bloodshot reveals that he left a hard reboot in the desert after Kara tells him that Melissa wouldn’t want him to die, defending those children. We are hinted that the man in the hospital with one arm is, indeed, Kara’s brother.

                After that, we continue the narrative … this team handled by Kara as we see them entire the fray in Las Vegas.  We go through the motions of Bloodshot taking on the Renegades rather quickly as Bloodshot has them out class and it is similar to what happened in Harbinger Wars #4. But what we didn’t get in that book is something we are treated to in this one … a rematch between Harada and Bloodshot. And this time … Bloodshot does NOT fair as well as he did the first time around.  The issue ends with Kara finding out exactly what the hard reboot is … while abandoning the psiot children she and Bloodshot were protecting.


                Kitson and Crain deliver great, gritty art that fit the tone of the story so well. The grittier pencils were matched by Gaudiano’s, Kitson’s & Pennington’s  harder inks which definitely fit the book during this whole arc and they both excel at it this issue. There are some truly horrific panels throughout the issue that really stuck to me done by both pencilers.  The inkers this issue do an excellent job in some light shading and really bringing out the gritty-ness of the book.

                Reber does an excellent job with the colors … from giving Crain’s style more of a painted look to Kitson’s style being more classic comic. Still, the two style don’t clash to the point where it effects the flow of the story at all.  There are some truly awesome shadow and shade work thanks to the inkers and Reber.

                And panel work was really strong this issue. Overall, really good art.


                For those of you who do not know, this is Duane Swierczynski’s FINAL issue of Bloodshot.  After this issue, we get a guest writer than new writing team of Joshua Dysart & Christos Gage.  So, how does Swierczynski wrapped up his run?
                Swierczynski ties up nearly every end he had from the first issue of the book last year.  The kids … the false memories … and Bloodshot’s struggle. We have seen so much happen to the main character this last year. And now, we see Bloodshot going all in with the kids in Las Vegas, to reunite them with Generation Zero.  From Kara’s perspective … Bloodshot has grown a lot. Doing the right thing for these children.

                There is a lot of heart and emotion this final issue as well as Kara and Bloodshot have their “final” heart to heart talk which really shows how far Bloodshot has come and also how far Kara has developed. Yet, she was done and Bloodshot knew it and (SPOILERS) gave her a way out.

                The hard reboot being for Kara was a brilliant move for Swierczynski and that final panel with Bloodshot was chillin. Swierczynski definitely set up this issue to be his last issue … tying up loose ends and seemingly (SPOILERS): this Bloodshot. The scary thing is that I suspect that the Bloodshot we knew won’t be back in issue #0 or in Bloodshot & the HARD Corps # 14. Swierczynski blends powerful emotion, great story and leaves us guessing at the end of his run.


                This is one of those issues that you have to read … digest a little than look back at it cause there is a lot that gets covered in this issue. Yet, it was paced well and Swierczynski goes out with a bang … giving a sense of finality as this is the exit of multiple characters while also leaving enough mysteries for the new writing team to pick up. Also, Kitson’s experimentation with his art to be grittier worked extremely well and kudos to the art team for giving us a great issue.

                Swierczynski’s Bloodshot ends with a BANG … and an awe-inspiring one. I give Bloodshot # 13 a 9 … out of 10.

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