Basically this is part “Titles we’re looking forward to” and part “why you should be reading Valiant”.
3 Reasons to read Valiant Comics
Last year I started reading Quantum & Woody, then subsequently any Valiant book I could get my paws on, and while there’s still plenty I haven’t looked into since then I have read (at least a volume of) Archer & Armstrong, Divinity, The Valiant, Bloodshot Reborn, Ivar, Timewalker, Dead Drop, The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage, Ninjak, Imperium and Faith.
All of which are a product of Valiant’s 2012 relaunch, something that a lot of major comic publishers seem to have experimented with at one point or another, and although DC Comics are somewhat infamous for their eagerness to hit the reset button (Crisis On Infinite Earths? Flashpoint? Rebirth? Crisis Of Infinite Flash? RebEARTH? …yeah okay I made the last two up, but you get the point) there are times when it seems like anything can be made into an excuse to go back to the beginning for them. Marvel have dabbled but never seem to be as extreme, the introduction of Marvel Now! created the illusion of a reboot without the DC treatment of wiping the slate clean, paving the way for new stories and an easy entry point for new readers without telling them what they already knew about a character no longer mattered.
Valiant on the other hand seemed to have no such issues, prior to 2012 Valiant didn’t really have a shared universe for their characters, and although most titles dated back to the 90’s most of their ongoing series had ceased to exist due to various buy-outs. So when they announced the “Summer Of Valiant” it was easy to introduce the world to all the characters they wanted to, and give the extended universe backdrop that’s increasingly expected among superhero stories these days.
Now I’m going to take a break from the history lesson I’m seconds away from being drawn into, instead I’m going to give you three great reasons to start reading Valiant comics (if you’re not already)
- History? What History?
After the relaunch in 2012 Valiant have managed to free themselves from the trap other publishers fall into. There’s no juggling past timelines and continuity, and although a lot of the Valiant universe has had a previous incarnation, there’s no pressure to know anything about the 1990s counterparts. A great example? Quantum & Woody, in the 90s Priest & Bright had a great run with Q&W, and although the current version of these characters takes a lot from their past, there’s no reason other than your own interest to draw your attention to the first version of them. Even better? Basically everything from 2012 onwards is still readily available so you don’t even have to struggle to find a starting point.
- New Readers.The more new readers I meet, the more I seem to hear people talk about having less of an interest in superhero comics, people aren’t necessarily sold on Marvel & DC’s big heroes, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, they just don’t appeal to everyone, and that’s totally fair. Image is capturing more new readers than any other company seems to, and despite the prominent superhero overlay Valiant feels very similar to Image. There’s an overall feeling that writers are encouraged to do their own thing, creating unique stories, rather than the often seen repetition many mainstream heroes come with. Which is something that Jeff Lenore (The Valiant, Bloodshot Reborn) pointed out in conversation at last years Thought Bubble.
- Great CharactersKeeping my previous point in mind, Valiant have answers for pretty much all of the big mainstream characters out there, but they’re free of many of the drawbacks their counterparts suffer. For instance Ninjak feels very much like a meeting ground between Batman and Daredevil, but he stands his own as an original character, just as Bloodshot feels like the best parts of Wolverine and the Punisher. But despite some similarities to draw fan interest these characters are entirely their own, and in some cases may even have the edge on characters they’ve drawn inspiration from.
Now I can write testimonials for Valiant all day, I’m a huge DC Comics fan, but I’m honest in saying they’ve let me down as a fan since 2011, but the same voids DC have left, Valiant fill perfectly. It’s hard to see some of your favourite characters derailed or ignored, Valiant deliver, and they do it perfectly.
5 Valiant Titles We’re Looking Forward To In 2017
Ninjak: The Seven Blades Of Master Darque – Matt Kindt & Marc Laming
The start of a new arc “The Seven Blades Of Master Darque” is being billed as a great jumping on point for readers looking to get into Ninjak. Master Darque – sadistic lord of death and resurrection – seeks to be freed, but to do so he must fight for his life. Darque has a target painted on his back, his powers are weak and his enemies know it. First and foremost his former student and Ninjak’s nemesis – Roku.
Matt Kindt is pretty prolific at Valiant comics, he’s been working on Ninjak since 2015, he’s been working on Divinity, and he was one of the writers for The Valiant miniseries, that’s not even taking into consideration the work he’s done for DC and Dark Horse. Marc Laming is no slouch either working on Hulk, All-New Invaders and Fantastic Four in recent years.
Britannia: We Who Are About To Die – Peter Milligan & Juan Jose Ryp
Unlike the majority of Valiant’s titles, Britannia isn’t set in the modern day, it’s got a little more age to it, set way back during the days of the Roman Empire. Britannia follows Antonius Axia – The Worlds First Detective, and he’s on a new case, one with a haunting connection between the horror of Rome’s arena and the god’s themselves.
Achillia, stands victorious after defeating five of Rome’s greatest gladiators. Now, only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men of Rome, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well.
On the other side of Rome, mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. Where the elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking the city… Even more citizens are becoming sick with weird fever dreams of the gods. As panic engulfs the city the Chief Vestal, Rubria, is arrested by Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifixion unless the deadly curse that’s fallen on Rome is lifted. That’s where Antonius Axia comes into the mix.
This tale of myth and mystery is brought to us by Peter Milligan (Shade The Changing Man, Justice League Dark) and Juan Jose Ryp (Suburban Romance, Lady Death)
X-O Manowar – Matt Kindt & Tomas Giorello
Did I mention Matt Kindt being prolific? Let’s say I did. This time round he’s teaming up with Tomas Giorello (4001 AD, Star Wars, Batman & Robin) and they’re taking on Valiant flagship X-O Manowar.
Aric of Dacia was under the thumb of the Roman Empire until he was abducted by aliens, forced into slavery, eventually escaping by bonding with a weapon of unstoppable power – the X-O Manowar armour. Then he came back to Earth and found himself stranded in the modern day…that’s where the previous X-O series kicked off.
Now there’s new threats headed Aric’s way, he’s been dragged into an alien army and an unforgiving conflict along with it. He’ll be forced to embrace the power of the armour to wage interplanetary warfare and become the weapon he was intended to be.
Immortal Brothers: The Tale Of The Green Knight – Fred Van Lente & Cary Nord
It’s only a One-Shot, but I’m looking forward to seeing 48-pages of the Anni-Padda brothers teaming up again!
Armstrong, The Eternal Warrior and Ivar (The Timewalker) are getting together for this stand-alone tale, in which they’ll collide with King Arthur’s court. THe monstrous Green Knight has appeared in the court armed with a gigantic axe and a challenge. The challenge? That the weaker knights participate in a friendly “winter’s game” where anyone can strike him once with his axe, but on the condition that the Green Knight can return the exact blow in one year’s time. Arthur agrees to face the mysterious knight, but Sir Gilad takes up the challenge in the hopes of protecting the king. A quick decapitation later and the Green Knight picks up his head and clears off.
Now it’s a year later and Sir Gilad (The Eternal Warrior) needs some help to discover the Green Knights true identity before his date with the axe.
Naturally The Tale Of The Green Knight is being written by Archer & Armstrong/Ivar, The Timewalker author Fred Van Lente and X-O Manowar artist Cary Nord.
Divinity III: Stalinverse – Matt Kindt & Trevor Hairsine
Marvel veteran artists Trevor Hairsine (X-Men: Deadly Genesis, Ultimate Six) continues his work on Divinity with “The Prolific” Matt Kindt, in this huge event book!
After the success of the first two Divinity series’ we find ourselves faced with the third instalment. As we all know it’s 2017, the Soviet Union have spent decades as the reigning superpower of the world, a world riddled with war, strife and oppression. Freedom is a thing of the past in Stalinverse. But why can’t Russian intelligence officer Colin King shake the felling that something is deeply wrong? He’s willing to put everyone on the line to uncover the truth, by finding the one man who might hold the key to unraveling the dystopian world of today…Abram Adams.
Now I know what you’re thinking, this must be an alternate reality? But alas that isn’t the case, this is the Valiant Universe, with every character altered by the new Soviet slanted history. It’s a crossover event of epic proportions and every Valiant character seems to be getting drawn into it!
The reality is that most of the Valiant Universe is unknown to the general public – something that I can only assume will be remedied by the upcoming web-series Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe – however if you’re a new reader or an established comics fan looking for something that feels similar to Marvel or DC without the pressures of all the history to deal with, Valiant may very well be the company for you.
Let us know what your thoughts are on the upcoming Valiant titles! Let us know if you’re new to Valiant and if so what got you into the company! Let us know all kinds of comic book things!