Indie Comic Review: Bloodshot #5

Bloodshot teeters precariously on the edge of jumping the shark as the nanites in his blood become the equivalent of 60′s Batman’s utility belt, able to do whatever is needed to resolve a situation, regardless the ridiculous stretches of imagination which must occur.

Bloodshot and his new companions, the metahuman Pulse and medic Kara Murphy, hatch a plan to infiltrate Project Rising Spirit. On the one hand it is laudable that writer Duane Swierczynski has decided to take the fight to P.R.S. instead of having Bloodshot take the tried-and-true approach of “man on the rin”. However, the method by which he has Bloodshot breach the security of the base was just a bit too much to believe.

It has been well established that the nanites in Bloodshot allow him to do damn near anything. They heal him. They allow him to change his appearance. They boost his senses and give him information beyond that of normal men. However it now appears that even the smallest amount of nanites, separated, diluted, and free from any connection to a computer system have the ability to play havoc with a sophisticated security system. It is all fine and dandy as long as you don’t think about it too much.

But that is the problem. Bloodshot has prided itself on being a smart action series. It isn’t just about revenge. There is science fiction, multiple false memories, and a few moral and ethical dilemmas which make the book more than just your average shoot ‘em up. So, a plot device that is this hard to swallow stands out even worse in this book.

That aside, Swierczynski adds a nice layer to Pulse’s story, showing what she was like as a young child growing up under the thumb of P.R.S. It was not clear over the past few issues why she had such a deep hatred of them, but this issue explores it well. It is nice to see that Swierczynski is populating the book with strong female supporting characters.

The art by Manuel Garcia is a bit looser in this issue. Characters are not quite as well defined as they have been in previous issues. It is particularly noticeable in the closing pages as we are introduced to the super-powered foes Bloodshot will be facing in the next issue. They are ill-defined visually, coming across as partially-firmed masses of flesh and machinery. Considering everything else P.R.S. has thrown at Bloodshot has been sleek and high-tech, these characters stand out for their ugliness and poor design.

Given the strong first four issues of Bloodshot, it is too early to claim that this issue is anything more than a bump in the road. As long as Swierczynski pulls back from the nanite deus ex machina in future issues, all will be well.

Bloodshot #5 is in stores now.

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