“Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps” #19 gives readers the second part of Bart Sears’ return to Valiant as Bloodshot and team face off with Simon Oreck’s Specialists in their attempt to rescue their comrades, Charlie Palmer, Genius and Flatline en route to liberating Morris Kozol. Project Rising Spirit’s troops rise to the occasion here in a comic that is as comfortable settled into today’s environment as it would have been in the early 1990s.
That’s not to say this comic book is a total throwback. Quite the opposite, in fact, as writers Christos Gage and Joshua Dysart manage to keep “Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps” #19 free of being nailed down to any specific time period. That said, the Specialists’ roster is filled with names and concepts that hearken back to the era where pouches, thigh belts, shoulder pads and unnecessarily huge weapons dominated the visuals. Big Boy, Coldwar, Sharpshooter and Chernobyl proved to be more than a match for the H.A.R.D. Corps last issue and don’t go down without a fight in this issue. The writing duo, however, capably shows readers that not all of the battles are fought or won on the material battlefield.
In a matchup between Vagabond and Chernobyl, Vagabond’s history is drawn by ChrisCross, whose style works nicely for the flashback scenes and the emotional ties holding them together. In addition to the trip down memory lane for Vagabond, Cross draws an informative past meeting between Oreck and Palmer. Matt Milla’s are bold throughout the issue, regardless of the setting or time period. The colorist pulls from a very basic set of tones and is careful not to overpower any of the artwork with unnecessary gradients or effects. Sears’ art is more open than I remember it, which seems to invite excessive color work, but Milla holds back, letting much of Sears’ lines hold true. Sears and ChrisCross make a nice tandem in “Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps” #19.
While this super-powered corporately-funded wetworks team book might not be for everyone, everyone who buys this is in for a solid read, provided they’re looking for a little bloodshed and destruction with their super powers on the side. This two-part story with Sears and ChrisCross on the art chores is a nice sampler of things past and things to come as “Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps” #19 closes a chapter for Bloodshot and begins constructing another.