While supposedly one of Valiant’s most popular characters, Bloodshot was at rather a loose end when the Armor Hunters event occurred. He’d divorced himself from his previous association with H.A.R.D. Corps and retreated to the jungles of Colombia to consider his future in isolation before being restored to civilisation in the pages of Armor Hunters.

As the title indicates, the main story takes place entirely within the context of the Armor Hunters crossover, but also works as an individual graphic novel as writer Joe Harris chooses to restrict this Bloodshot story to a single mission over a brief time period. Leaving Bloodshot’s remaining participation alone allows for a concentration other tie-in graphic novels lack and a more cohesive story.

The opening chapter is well written, introducing what Bloodshot is and what he’s capable of, but in a subtle fashion that slots into the bigger story of an attack on the base where he’s housed. Beyond that it moves into a more traditional superhero adventure with a first person action video game mood and pacing. Artist Trevor Hairsine handles this aspect well, planning his layouts to maximise the threat and tension, and creating suitably imposing battle environments when one of three participants encounters another. Overall, however, it’s not enough to fill the pages without creating a must-have collection.

Were more of it to match the quality of what’s included to pad the book out beyond three chapters it might be a different matter. Matt Kindt runs through the history of the Bloodshot programme, a military exercise in creating the perfect killing machine extending back decades before the current Bloodshot. The story’s told from the viewpoint of a researcher hired to humanise Blooshot in order to prevent him killing everyone, innocent or guilty, who might compromise a mission. It’s a horrific exploration of the military mind with a good pay-off, excellently drawn by ChrisCross.

That final chapter’s missing from the content of Armor Wars: Deluxe Edition, which otherwise integrates the title story into the vastly bigger picture.