Bloodshot #11 & #12
"One Last Shot" has a final epic battle of the ages!
Will Bloodshot and his team be able to stop one of his greatest villains from obtaining Project Rising Spirit's most insidious weapon?
It's the thrilling conclusion to the series by best-selling writer Tim Seeley and rising star Pedro Andreo!
As difficult as it was to wait to talk about the newest issues of BLOODSHOT, I think it was important to get the full picture of exactly what the “One Last Shot” had to offer. It is, after all, the last that we will see of the flagship Bloodshot character for this year. This seems to be the end, but as with all things in comics and even Valiant, there is always something else just around the corner.
Bloodshot #10 was one of the best comics from Valiant, or maybe even in the medium, that I have read. It delivered everything I wanted from a Bloodshot book and then some, but it was always going to be a difficult act to follow. It turns out, in just three issues, Seeley and company were able to give us one of the best Bloodshot stories yet. The return of Rampage controlled by his own brother set the stage for a strong villain to oppose Bloodshot but it really lands well with the help of Zealot of the Black Bar from earlier in the run. These villains represent the past and present of Bloodshot’s villains, but the team didn’t stop there. We also have Bloodshot’s own team form with the inclusion of Wiggans and KT featured in the live-action Bloodshot film! Bloodshot #11 brings the fight to Bloodshot and his team then issue #12 follows up with a powerful finale that you won’t forget anytime soon.
To say these two issues are fast paced is obviously an understatement. Rampage picks up a new mantle as Harmony, draped in the American flag and bloodier than ever, while a new Day of Blood threatens to unleash itself on the population. Then the nanites controlled by this Harmony turn the tables on Bloodshot and it’s here where we see new characters Wiggans and KT really shine. This is exactly the type of storyline I was hoping to see unfold with the involvement of these exciting new characters, putting their strengths to the test and seeing how effective all of them are as a team. It’s easy to see both Wiggans and KT are strong additions to the Bloodshot series and the only drawback is that we only have three issues to explore their characters.
It’s action packed, relentlessly brutal and full of intriguing moments for Bloodshot that show his range of powers in a unique way. But it’s also tinged with current sociopolitical influences that give the story a backbone amidst all the chaos. It’s an all too relevant story of manipulating government distrust and capitalizing on political unrest. This not only helps to make Rampage a.k.a. Harmony into a more complex character, it also serves as a powerful backdrop for Bloodshot to explore the social unease that persists even today. The power he holds, and what he means as a distorted weapon in this country is a wonderful example of the type of storytelling this character can bring to the table. It feels like a big budget action movie but also one with teeth. What else could you want from a Bloodshot comic, really?
While Seeley does a stellar job scripting this high octane story, it’s Pedro Andreo and Andrew Dalhouse’s visuals that help it to really pack a punch. The action is full of motion that makes the characters feel like they are coming off the panel in a way you just don’t see often enough. Dalhouse’s colors continue to bring a palette to the character that helps to define this series in the character’s overall history. There aren’t many splash pages as memorable as Harmony bleeding from his hand with the American flag wrapped around him like a cape, and it truly sets the tone for the entire arc. Then, when Bloodshot finally is able to rally his team to take him down, we see a frantic fight that is every bit as violent as you want it to be.
None of this works nearly as well if you don’t have Dave Sharpe’s letters, however. Sharpe is a legend in the industry now and he shows why in these last couple of issues in Bloodshot. The color shift in captions and the digital distortions mixed with some perfect fonts all help to carry the story at just the right moments. Despite all of the intense action and rapid developments, Sharpe ensures readers never get lost in the fray with letters that guide you through the story with ease.
The worst part of reaching the conclusion of the “One Last Shot” arc is that the immediate future seems to be void of much Bloodshot. He won’t be going anywhere but it could be 2022 before we see him return in a significant way. I’ll be honest, that bums me out. Seeley, Boothe, Andreo, Dalhouse, Sharpe and many others like editor Lysa Hawkins have all worked to make this one of the most epic Bloodshot runs to date and I don’t want it to stop, even if it’s just a break. There are a lot of exciting things coming up from Valiant like Shadowman and Ninjak but this is a series that consistently blew me away.
With the return of Rampage and seeing his transition into Harmony at the hands of misled Americans, the inclusion of Wiggans and KT plus Bloodshot’s classic struggle against overwhelming violence all make Bloodshot #11 and #12 worth your time and money. There is even a small connection to the connected Valiant Universe with X-O Manowar making an appearance with his new look for Shanharra. But fans might want to take notice of X-O’s use of the word “unity” when he catches up to Bloodshot. It’s a subtle choice, but for longtime fans, I don’t think it takes much to guess what it could mean.
But there is also something new at the end of Bloodshot #12.
The final pages of the issue reveals a short comic written by none other than popular YouTuber Comicstorian’s writing debut. Juan Jose Ryp takes on the artwork with Andrew Dalhouse back on colors and Dave Sharpe on letters, and together they retell the overarching story of Bloodshot in the Valiant Universe. It’s a succinct story that hits the most crucial points for the character since the 2012 reboot of the Valiant Universe, but it also feels oddly timed. I’m not exactly sure what it is supposed to prime readers for following these twelve issues. There is a tease about his legacy coming back to the forefront, but not much else. Still, it’s got some great artwork and is a welcome refresher even as we close the chapter on this story for now.
Do yourself a favor and catch up on Bloodshot #10-12 now, because the “One Last Shot” arc is one of the best you will read of the character, hands down. The future seems bright for both Bloodshot and the greater Valiant Universe, but this is a story you simply don’t want to miss out on.
As we reach the end of this Bloodshot story, we are left with a wealth of violently epic storytelling from a creative team who goes all out until the very last panel.
Bloodshot #11 & #12: A Glorious Ending?
Writing - 9.5/10
Storyline - 10/10
Art - 9.5/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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