Just in case the title didn’t give it away, “Armor Hunters: Bloodshot” #1 brings the reader and Bloodshot into the “Armor Hunters” crossover without hesitation. Joe Harris’ story opens “weeks ago” in Colombia, but doesn’t hesitate to bounce between then and the relative now, as Bloodshot is enlisted to help defend the Military Extraterrestrial Reconnaissance Outpost (M.E.R.O.) following the Armor Hunters assault on Mexico City.
Harris slides right into the bloody world surrounding Bloodshot, finding the soldier of slaying’s voice and using it sparingly, but quite effectively. He also provides readers coming into Bloodshot’s world for the first time with everything they need to know thanks to a debriefing conversation between Livewire from “Unity” and Colonel Jaime Capshaw. The latter is clearly not a fan of Bloodshot while the former presents readers with a compelling argument to back the headliner of “Armor Hunters: Bloodshot” #1. The remainder of the story pits Bloodshot in a verbal (and slightly more) sparring match with Malgam, the aggressive alien sporting armor similar to X-O Manowar imprisoned at M.E.R.O., and Bloodshot’s field test against the Armor Hunters’ hounds.
Trevor Hairsine’s stunning art deftly accommodates everything Harris throws at him, making it all look gritty and grizzled in the process. With a dynamic mix of panel layouts, page composition and camera angles, Hairsine makes “Armor Hunters: Bloodshot” #1 a visual spectacle to match the scope of the tale at hand. David Baron’s colors are on point, grounding the fantastic and swirling into Hairsine’s art to dictate scene, mood and emotion quite nicely with spots of reds, purples, blues, and greens. The finest result of Hairsine and Baron teaming up comes out in the flashback scenes, which are tinted with yellow, like fading photographs left in the sun, baking the memories in just a bit more. Answering the challenge, Sharpe’s letters fit the bill: louder and heavier, crafting a bass tone for Malgam’s dialog, yet rangy enough to cover the difference in electronic speech generated by the M.E.R.O. security system as opposed to the utterances from the gigantic robotic Armor Hunter, GIN-GR.
This is the right way to do a crossover, not selective involvement, but line-wide participation with each character having time to shine and opportunity to expand their side of the story. Valiant’s continuity is young and resilient enough to augment the fun inherent in comic book events, giving “Armor Hunters: Bloodshot” #1 a true “Anything can happen!” air. Bloodshot, through Harris, is a fun character to read, like the Punisher, but more entertaining. He still adheres to his mission, but does so in a manner that challenges the reader to keep up rather than stand pat, once the bullets start to fly. There is no shortage of action in the twenty-four (yes, twenty-FOUR) pages of “Armor Hunters: Bloodshot” #1 and, quite honestly, this comic book just amplifies my appreciation for the entire event.