Bloodshot has been an action-packed drama ever since its return to the printed page and Volume 4 is no exception. During the Harbinger Wars, Bloodshot retained some injuries and was captured by Harada. Now with Project Rising Spirit’s greatest, albeit rogue, weapon in Toyo’s hands, it is up to the newly reformed H.A.R.D. Corps to break in and get Bloodshot out of there so the nanites in his blood do not end up being used for nefarious purposes. What Bloodshot does not realize is that to make himself whole, he will have to join his former masters and risk being under their yoke once more. The book also contains an interesting look at the origin of the Rising Spirit program, from conception to present day.
When reading the fourth volume of this book, the one thing you can marvel at is just how dependably good Bloodshot has been since the series began. Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart have taken this genetically altered soldier and made him a complex and emotional being with memories more messed up than Wolverine’s could ever be. He has had to deal with not only escaping his creators, Project Rising Spirit, but battling his own programming and inner demons simultaneously along the way. Putting him back into their hands, Gage and Dysart have created an interesting scenario where Bloodshot seems to have the freedom to do as he wishes, with conditions of course, but one which could ultimately just be an illusion.
Major Palmer, who was introduced during the Harbinger Wars crossover, is a man who will likely give Bloodshot a bit of a hard time. As the leader of the H.A.R.D. Corps, he wants the best for the men under his command. Giving that command to Bloodshot is not something that comes easily to him and going forward could generate some engaging storylines. Also of note, by adding the H.A.R.D. Corps into the book, it gives the title an immediate supporting cast, something that has been missing from the book from the beginning. Now, not all books need a supporting cast mind, but having one opens it up to a wider array of stories.
There is a lot to love, but kudos have to go out, not only to the writers on the book but also the editors for creating a cohesive universe, particularly with the consistency and feel of the characters. Whether Bloodshot is in the Harbinger title or vice versa, they make sure that the characters voices are their own. Case in point, Toyo Harada who is the main villain of this book is true to himself. He sounds like he should and acts the same as he does no matter which title he is in. And while Toyo could be written as your typical bad guy by anyone who wanted to try, it takes talent to inject the specific sense of self and ego that Toyo has into every appearance that he makes. If every shared universe could be as close-knit as this one, comics would be a whole lot better for it. One thing that can almost be called a certainty is that Bloodshot will continue on and if Valiant stays focused on quality, this book is one you should be reading.
4 out of 5