Bloodshot #8

"Bloodshot" #8 from Duane Swierczynski and Manuel Garcia is the best action comic on the stands. Modern comics have a glut of superhero books, plenty of crime tales, sci-fi and horror keep a head above water, but action comics (basically in the vein of '80s action movies but set into panels) are a lacking genre. In this field, Swierczynski is writing the best book available.

"Bloodshot" #8 sees the eponymous hero in the basement, a location where he thought he would find the truth about himself. Instead, he stumbles upon a new threat in some superpowered and misled children. This issue throws Bloodshot at the problem headfirst and the action comes on strong. Bloodshot is faced with an attack from two of his foes and Swierczynski and Garcia handle the face-off in a style that's both full of testosterone as well as artistically pleasing. One moment feels like a vague reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in "The Running Man," though in a more brutal capacity, and another moment is more subdued and menacing. The action isn't expected to carry everything; the creators are also concerned with exactly how it is delivered.

To give the action space to breathe -- one double splash is used to show a very large moment -- the narrative is forced to slow down. There isn't a progression of characters as much as there is a reshuffle of complications and locales. It's a hell of a lot of fun, but it isn't high art, and nor is it aiming for that target. If Bloodshot was threatened by an enemy at the end of the last scene break, it stands to reason he should be involved with another problem at the end of this issue. Most of these scenes are a series of action set pieces and in this respect Swierczynski and Garcia keep the adrenaline flowing.

Manuel Garcia brings an energetic flow to the pages no matter what type of sequence he illustrates. The use of widescreen panels is delivered well so space is occupied with enough that each page feels packed with story but not crowded. Garcia makes sure this book feels like it's got enough in there to warrant your time and money. His action moments have elements of menace and fun in them. Garcia is celebrating the over the top nature of the book. The colors from Ian Hannin make everything a little surreal and so the cool factor is raised through the uncertain nature of the characters and landscape.

Reading "Bloodshot" #8 is like being transported back to the wildest days of Hollywood's greatest action superstars. This book is full of thrills and awesome moments that put the action before the narrative, though the simmering mystery of this book has its own merits. "Bloodshot" is a comic that lets readers sit back and enjoy while it does all the work.

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