Brandon: I think it will come as little surprise that I enjoyed it. I really loved the cover for especially for some reason. The Reservoir Dogs feel really worked for me. Highlighting Woody made it pop even more. Great cover.
As afar as the interior. I loved the idea that while Eric wants nothing more than to be a do it by the book superhero Woody just wants to make money and get laid and as a natural extension to that decides to go along to steal the Hope diamond. It’s a great idea that highlights how fantastic the dynamic between the characters is. I mean how many other books could make this work without it being unnatural feeling?!
How about you?
David: Well…they weren’t stealing the Hope Diamond. They were stealing the skull of a former Shadowman, weren’t they? That was where all the voodoo stuff came from in the issue. Eric just focused on that as his main thing to protect.
But yeah, it was super enjoyable, although I have a complaint: the dynamic between Eric and Woody has always focused on Woody being irascible, but never bad. Basically everything he does in this issue could be described as “bad”, and it feels a little bit weird that in theory Eric will be all cool with him in the next arc even though he just broke into the Smithsonian and fought him, not to mention completely screwing over Sixty-Nine. Part of me really thinks that Asmus is pushing Woody a bit too far, and while it’s tolerable now, it’s potentially sacrificing Eric’s supposed competence and straight-laced nature for short-term amusement. So I’m a bit suspect of Asmus’ handling of the characters, especially as Eric continuously goes down the route of “dude who kind of sucks at everything”.
What are your thoughts on that?
Brandon: Well of course they stole the Shadowman skull but Woody is a sly dog and what you didn’t see was him sneakily stealing the Hope Diamond as well. That Woody. So crafty.
My thoughts on your complaint regarding the handling of them is that those are valid but I don’t really find myself bothered by the facts and logic you have provided. I just enjoy the story and love the way the two characters are like insane cartoon character cliches almost. I find that so enjoyable that I just buy into it without question. I just jump right in like Hugh Grant and a car full of prostitutes.
David: Yeah, it’s something that is relatively small right now that will grow increasingly large for me as a reader, especially as Eric goes further down the bumbling idiot path. It’s a bit disappointing because he’s a straight man, but a highly competent one, and it feels weird for him to basically be Ben Stiller’s character in the Night at the Museum in this issue.
On the other hand, Kano is crushing it. I really loved the scenes with Sixty-Nine and Eric, and how he depicted us trailing those characters and their emotional states on the page. I also love his coloring, and how he’s emulated the look and feel Jordie Bellaire had brought to the book. There was one page where each row of panels had a different color to it, and it gave the page a very amazing and unique flair to it that really felt like it fit into the storytelling. Really dynamite stuff by him. Are you still digging his work on the book too?
Brandon: Yeah, I really dig his work. i enjoyed the panels where Eric is talking about being behind bars and the panel gutter covers him and then is followed by Woody shoving it to the side as if he isn’t concerned by it. As good as Asmus is with scripting these characters, in my opinion, Kano is just as good at telling the story in the most engaging and entertaining way possible. This book has been insanely blessed with talented artists.Continued below
My favorite part of the book was probably the layout of the apartment. I thought that was a great visual that told a portion of the story in a fun way. I LOVED seeing their Dad-Goat’s room. That area made me laugh pretty hard. Was there any part you enjoyed in particular about this issue? Other than the behind the scenes diamond theft, of course.
David: I actually really like that they’re starting to tie this and Shadowman together in a way, as neither of those books have really had any connection to the Valiant universe yet. Doing it in such a way was pretty smart, and hopefully will lead to a better connection for these books.
So anything else to add before grading? If not, grade it up!
Brandon: I also like that they are tying these into the overall tapestry of the Valiant Universe. It was also my favorite Shadowman story in months.
I’d give this bad boy an 8.0. How about you?
David: I’m going to give it a 7.5. It was a good issue, but one with nagging issues that take it down a notch even though Kano is on art steroids right now.
Brandon: It starts the process of healing for sure as it begins the process of moving away from the current iteration of this title. I would love to see Bloodshot murder every single unnecessary “red shirt” character that comprises H.A.R.D. Corps. Viva la Bloodshot!
What did you think?
David: I thought it was really great. I like that it might be firmly putting a period at the end of this run, and it’s doing it in smart fashion – Bloodshot vs. Kozol, as it always should have been. It’s interesting that at the very end another new writer came in, but whatever they did here worked, and it was a really enjoyable read. I hate to say it, but you’re right too. H.A.R.D. Corps ended up being a bunch of redshirts, and them getting mowed down one-by-one has so far been their most memorable moments. It’s weird too because their deaths are also them at their most human, as Genius sadly admits that he’s regressing back to his previously mentally challenged state, while Flatline dies going all out to avenge a man she loved. Who knew all it took was them dying for me to enjoy them as characters?
What did you think of the art in this issue?
Brandon: I thought the art was fine. I didn’t have any issues with it nor did I have any real glowing praise either. I did enjoy the bloodshed. That was rendered rather well. DEATH to the redshirts!
Was there anything in particular you loved about this issue?
David: First, I want to say I actually thought Barrionuevo did a really good job on art. I’d never experienced his work, but he did a good job in rendering the opening scenes in such a way where we really didn’t know what happened to Genius, and that fueled the paranoia of the story. While I’m not a huge fan of his style generally, he’s undoubtedly a good storyteller, and I think he made moments like that and Flatline’s showdown against Bloodshot more than they would have been in other artists hands. Really solid work, and I’m excited to see what he does throughout the rest of this arc.
Well, I liked the fact that – like I said – in death the redshirts earned good character moments, and I like the fact that this is Bloodshot on the run versus Kozol. It’s a perfect way to end the H.A.R.D. Corps story, in that it’s ending the H.A.R.D. Corps, but the central thrust of this has always been Bloodshot and Kozol, and if that’s the way this series has to end before moving onto the next iteration, I’m all about it. What about you?
Brandon: I thought the initial killing that opened the book was my favorite part. Not only does it start the end of this version of the series but the killing itself was top notch. I loved that it seemed he was letting him go and then BLAM dead redshirt! I thought the opening sequence was handled very well, both in writing and art.Continued below
Anything else you want to mention?
David: I’m set! I’ll give this bad boy a 7.0. Not an Earth shattering success, but certainly an improvement on what we’ve seen recently, and it’s setting things up for an exciting finish. What would you give it?
Brandon I would give the issue a 6.5.