What it is and why it’s awesome: In the vein of so many other characters of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bloodshot was created as a hyper-violent and over the top superhero for Valiant in 1992. The character is a biologically-advanced soldier whose body is filled with nanotechnology. Using these microscopic “bots,” Bloodshot is given superior strength, speed, and reflexes compared to that of normal people. His nanobots are also capable of healing any and all wounds, giving him an almost Wolverine-like ability to stay together.
The real selling point for Bloodshot, beyond his stylized fight sequences, is in the mystery behind the character. As a member of “Project Rising Spirit,” Bloodshot was made into one of the best killing machines on the planet, but at the expense of his own identity. Originally Bloodshot was mafia hitman Angelo Mortalli who was framed for murder, sent into hiding and ultimately found himself as a member of “Rising Spirit.” When the nanobots were introduced into his body, they began to rebuild his brain, causing the identity crisis. In the rebooted series that began last year, Bloodshot’s origins remain somewhat similar, but his pre-Bloodshot days have been changed so that not even he knows who he was or which of his past lives memories are real.
We recommend: The first arc of the “rebooted” Bloodshot offers the best parts of the original series with a less goofy approach and amazing artwork.
What it is and why it’s awesome: Eternal Warrior focuses on a character named Gilad, an immortal that has spent the entirety of human history fighting in wars and living life to the fullest. In his own series, we see him go from a Conan the Barbarian-type character from thousands of years ago to a stellar marksman and assassin in the modern world. Gilad works as the “Fist and Steel” for a group called the Geomancers who serve to protect the Earth, but use Gilad so they don’t get their hands dirty.
Here is where things start to get interesting for the Valiant Comics world. The big catch? He’s the brother of Armstrong from Archer & Armstrong. Eternal Warrior is highly connected not only with Archer and Armstrong but X-O Manowar and the other Valiant titles. Where Eternal Warrior differs from his brother, known by most as Archer but called Aram the Other by Gilad, is in his style. Gilad works as a mercenary and uses his skills in combat, Archer as you’ve already found out prefers to drink and have fun.
We recommend: The two issue mini-series “Eternal Warrior: Fists and Steel” is a great standalone look at the character and doesn’t require much knowledge about his connectivity to the rest of the Valiant world. Furthermore, Eternal Warrior is being relaunched this September by writer Greg Pak and Trevor Hairsine.
What it is and why it’s awesome: Harbinger tells the story of Peter Stanchek, who is among the many other people on Earth with amazing abilities known (as you can likely guess) as Harbingers. Stanchek is given the moniker of “Omega Harbinger,” because he possesses even greater powers than all the other Harbingers. He has a wide array of psionic abilities including telekinesis, telepathy, and mind-control. Peter can also activate the powers of other potential Harbingers at will.
In the pages of Harbinger, Peter is at odds against a man named Toyo Harada who is not only the first publicly-known Harbinger, but also the only other Omega Harbinger. Harada tries to convince Peter to join his Harbinger Foundation and work alongside him, but after some shady attempts at convincing him go wrong, Peter goes on the run from Harada and starts to recruit Harbingers of his own.
We recommend: The rebooted series, which began last year, is well into its run now and has several trade paper backs available. We suggest starting from the beginning though.