Bloodshot And H.A.R.D. Corps #21 Review

The end of “Mission Improbable” is here and finishes off with a surprising lack of blood shed or death. It’s a restrained approach for a finale in Bloodshot And H.A.R.D. Corps #21 but not lacking depth or a satisfying conclusion.

Official description from VALIANT:
MISSION: IMPROBABLE – FINALE! Bloodshot! Archer! H.A.R.D. Corps! Armstrong! It all comes down to this!! ‘Mission: Improbable’ rockets into its explosive climax as four world-shattering forces collide! Will Bloodshot re-capture Archer for Project Rising Spirit… or is a double-cross in the works?! Will H.A.R.D. Corps figure out how you kill an immortal like Armstrong… or are they going home in body bags? Only one thing’s for certain… it doesn’t matter who loses – you win!

Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart take a rather unconventional approach to the final issue of the Archer & Armstrong / Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps crossover. With Bloodshot there’s always a wake of bodies left in his path but Gage and Dysart take to solving this event with team-ups and cooperation. That’s not to say there’s a lack of action, far from it. As a matter of fact this issue firmly convinces readers, P.R.S and Bloodshot that Archer is the single most powerful psiot to ever come out of P.R.S. Dare I say he’s a formidable match for Peter from Harbinger who was, up till this point, Toyo Harada’s most powerful opposition. No longer. Archer holds that mantle now. The action and power on display this issue is astounding.

BSHC_021_COVER_LAROSAFor a story full of gray area, it’s not until teams and enemies begin to trust one another and share information that the solution is clear and this mission can be completed without any major deaths. In all the “Mission Improbable” event has been solid throughout but really establishes new alliances until they must face the enemy once again. How this will play out in the larger Valiant Universe is a mystery but now the stage has been set for almost anything to happen.

Tom Raney’s art is a nice fit for this issue. As with any Archer & Armstrong story line characters and their expression play a key role. Raney has a great handle of both those aspects with the expressiveness which plays a key role to the underlying light hearted tone. It comes into play for story when the announcement from a H.A.R.D. Corps member toward Kozol comes out of left field and changes the dynamics of the characters relationships. You can’t sell that without selling shock on characters faces. His action scenes are smooth and flowing and with Archer and his abilities it also becomes a key point in how the action plays out.

In the end we Gage and Dysart give readers a complete and satisfying finale and what Archer will learn by the end really helps tie-up his long search of answers that has permeated the heart of his story. Bloodshot remains indebted to P.R.S. for the time being but shows he still plays by his own rules. The final panel of the issue sets-up a disturbing question for future issues. Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps hasn’t always been my favorite in Valiant’s line but this crossover has  gone a long way to reestablished Bloodshot as an very interesting and complicated character. A solid ending to a solid event.

  • + Good ending to an event
  • + Great expressive art
  • - Could have used more action/bloodshed
  • + Reestablished Bloodshot as an interesting character

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