Set five years before the events of the currently running (and introductory) story arc in Bloodshot, a major aspect of our titular hero's back story is filled in with this stand alone issue's events. It's an aspect of Bloodshot's character that will play a major role in (and goes far to set up) Valiant Comics' highly anticipated, and first, company wide crossover event: Harbinger Wars.
In addition to continuing to deliver the hard hitting action that Bloodshot is quickly becoming renown for, series writer Duane Swierczynski gives his readers some excellent insight into Bloodshot's past while setting up the premise of the upcoming Harbinger Wars. In the greatest of Valiant Comics traditions, Swierczynski begins to draw the Valiant Universe together with the type of shared continuity and storytelling that all of us old Valiant Comics fans loved so much about the original Valiant U. He also provides readers with the perfect jumping on point. Bloodshot's past is explained (although Swiercynski and Valiant are still smartly saving the biggest secrets surrounding Bloodshot-like his true name-for another story) through the type of smart storytelling that Swiercznyski is know for, and Valiant Comics is also becoming well known for, again. The opening scene, set in June of 1918 during the First World War, sets up this issue's (and Bloodshot's ) overall theme eloquently and intelligently. Tapping into the greater themes of the affects that memories and perception can have on an individual, especially as they pertain to war and the soldier, and how they can be manipulated towards achieving the desired results, is brilliantly executed.
The storytelling isn't the only brilliant thing about this issue though. Artist Matthew Clark picks up the pencilling chores and delivers some excellent action choreography while bringing sharp and realistic looking military tech and garb to vivid life. His landscapes, vehicles, and characters' facial expressions are top notch and spot on. I'd love to see more of his visual interpretation of Bloodshot.
A great book amongst a host of great books currently being published by Valiant Comics, Bloodshot is a must read, especially with Harbinger Wars (which will be a must read itself for Valiant fans as well as fans of great comics) on the horizon!