By: Duane Swierczynski (Writer), Barry Kitson, Stefano Gaudiano (Artists), Brian Reber (Colorist)

The Story: We delve a little bit further into the Harada protocol as Bloodshot fights Toyo Harada. Meanwhile, we see how Kara tries to take care of the psiot kids.

The Review: Tie-in issues can be both blessing and curses sometimes, albeit it is unfortunately much more frequent to see the latter than the former. While it is a possibility to see a book regain focus as it takes advantage of a greater situation in the universe they are set in, it can also unfortunately kill the momentum that a book had by injecting various elements that don’t quite match up with what was going on before the event was launched. Thankfully, this event was brought up with what went up in both Bloodshot and Harbinger, which makes this crossover quite organic to the growth of both titles.

However, it seems that all the important plot advancement is set in the Harbinger Wars title as we get to see some more details of particular events from the crossover in the titles connected to it. It is a risky move that can actually pay off as we get some deeper analysis on how these characters think and feels through these scenes from the main comic, yet here it is mostly wasted, as it brings close to nothing new to the table, unfortunately.

What we see here is the Bloodshot/ Harada confrontation as we get to see how his psyche reacts to the Harada protocol activated by his nanites. While this can be something really interesting to explore, it is done in an awkward way, as we see pages where Bloodshot reacts to the change in his external body. What is kind of problematic with these scenes is the fact that we don’t know for sure if they are metaphorical, actually happening in the head of Bloodshot or if they have any actual significance. As the ambiguity sets in about these particular pages, we are treated to several pages that we have already seen in some ways in Harbinger Wars, down to the dialogue.

It seems a little bit cheap, as those who are actually reading the crossover event don’t get a lot of newer stuff or even something that actually advance the book in a significant way. After all, it would make sense that people reading either title connected throughout Harbinger Wars would pick up the actual event, so reading this book does not feel very rewarding, as it adds virtually nothing. I do get the fact that Valiant is making sure that people who only read one title out of those two feels they can just continue reading on their title without having to buy the other two, which is nice, yet the execution is a little bit lacking. Some of the characters showing up here aren’t introduced here well enough, particularly Toyo Harada, who gets a sentence of explanation, to have the proper impact on the readers. It seems a little bit lazy, is all.

What’s not exactly on the lazy, but rather on the unfortunate side of things, is Barry Kitson and Stefano Gaudiano on the art. While a lot of the scenes are extremely similar to those that we have seen in the second issue of Harbinger Wars, I do not believe that it is because they have copied it, rather than the fact that they have been handled the script to a comic very similar to the one that was used for the second issue of the event comic. While many of these scenes are quite similar to scenes we have seen before, Kitson and Gaudiano does bring in some new stuff like the internal dialogue that Bloodshot has with his nanites and some of the scenes featuring Kara and the psiot kids. Not that the action, the poses and some of the neater concepts of this issues are bad, but rather than the effect is rather dulled.

What brings a lot of the art up is the colorization by Brian Reber, who manages to do a lot here, especially with the energy effects and the explosions. I do have to say I really loved the somber, cold and minimalistic approach to the internal scenes brought by the colors, which made a great contrast to the more bombastic and warm colors in the external scenes featuring all the action.

The Conclusion: This issue unfortunately fumbles a bit by bringing close to nothing new to the whole crossover event, while it ends up being a tad confusing with what new stuff it actually does bring. The art does save it a little bit, especially the coloring, but it does not save it from being a bit unsatisfactory for those that does follow the crossover event.

Grade: C+ (Without reading Harbinger Wars) C- (if you did read Harbinger Wars)

Hugo Robberts Larivière