Review: Bloodshot Vol. 3- Harbinger Wars

Quick Summary

Pros: The level of action and intense fighting from previous volumes carries over here. Watching Bloodshot interact with the children is very interesting.

Cons: The story here is not nearly as good as previous volumes. Sudden and abrupt solutions to problems are used rather than real exposition.

Overall: Though a decent story on its own, this is a significant dip in quality from the previous two volumes of Bloodshot. The story is not nearly as intense and thus does not hold readers’ attention too much. In addition, Bloodshot’s role in the Harbinger Wars is the least interesting part of it and thus does not play out in a very enjoyable way here. Overall, this is a fine story for those reading the Harbinger Wars event, but those who have been reading Bloodshot for a while will be disappointed.

Collection Notes

This review only covers the storyline contained in the Bloodshot comic series. It does not cover the events of Harbinger Wars (Review) and Harbinger Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars (Review). See the Continuity section below for more details.

Story

Bloodshot Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars is perhaps the worst of the “Harbinger Wars” stories and the worst volume of the Bloodshot series. A number of features compound to make this happen, the biggest of which being the surprising way in which most plot resolutions happen. Overall this volume was a bit of a disappointment. This is not necessarily a bad comic, however it is not nearly as enjoyable as the first two volumes of this series.

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The best parts of this book are those that highlight how unique and interesting of a character Bloodshot actually is. This can be seen in his takedown of Toyo Harada, his mental defeat of Kuretich, and any moment where readers get to peak into his mindscape. While the first two volumes of this series show that Bloodshot has a formidable array of powers, this volume shows that he also has the tactical knowhow to make them work for him.

Part of the reason this is so great is because Bloodshot’s powers were actually my biggest problem with the series. It was amazing to watch him tear through villains with no problem before, yet I could not help but wonder “how long can this last?” He can only be an unstoppable killing machine for so long before the formula starts to get old. This story fixes that by putting him in situations that he cannot simply punch his way out of. It adds another layer of depth to his character while also alleviating one of the series’ potential problems.

However, while this volume improves on previous ones in one aspect, it falters behind in others. The biggest of these flaws is how sudden and out-of-nowhere the solutions to most things happen. For example, Bloodshot is able to override his programming by biting into a fake tooth he had installed for just such an occasion. This was not ever shown before so, to the readers, it just comes out of nowhere. If Bloodshot was seen installing this tooth in a previous volume, it would have made the moment much more satisfying. Readers would have then been able trace the excellent planning that goes into Bloodshot’s entire life. Since this is not shown, it leaves the ending with a noticeable deficit of substance and thrill.

This problem reappears a few times in the story but is very noticeable at the end. This volume features the same lackluster conclusion that Harbinger Wars (Review) features. See our review of that for more on how it negatively impacts the story.

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Art

The art in this volume is very similar to that found in Bloodshot Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall. So for a more in depth analysis of the art, see our review of that volume here.

Continuity

This story is a continuation of the story in Bloodshot Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall (Review). The story here will be continued in the next collection, Bloodshot Vol. 4: H.A.R.D. Corps. 

This comic is also part of the “Harbinger Wars” event, which flows out of the storylines from Harbinger Vol. 2: Renegades (Review) and Bloodshot Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall (Review). The event as a whole takes place in three separate books, which all happen concurrently with each other. Because these three comics all take place at the same time, some parts of this book will only make sense with information from the other series. The relevant events of the other two series are collected in Harbinger Wars (Review) and Harbinger Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars (Review).

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