Valiant Year In Review 2017
Welcome to my Valiant Year In Review. For this article, we’ll discuss what I had for source material, and how I rated them. Let me start by telling you that I was a huge Valiant fan from the original 90’s run. I was very hesitant to dive back into the Valiant line for a few reasons. First off…price. I remember my favorite line back then was the “V”, and it was the most expensive too. Let’s say I was broken as a fan when they went under, and broke too since at the time they weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. Second reason was that the title with the highest value in the 90’s (Magnus), my favorite single character book (Solar), and my favorite rebirth title from my childhood (Turok), none of these were with the Valiant brand any longer, and as we all know they are currently with Dynamite Entertainment. Third I was afraid that if I dove back in that I would be disappointed with the new versions of the characters, and that they might fold again like they did the last time.
I am thrilled to announce that the last one never happened. I did try out X-O Manowar when they first relaunched, but my LCS never got their shipment of issue #2, and yes they re-ordered them multiple times, so sadly at that time I threw in the towel. But thanks to my Comixology account, I was able to read quite a few of their trades, and a spark grew brighter and brighter for me in this new Valiant Universe.
A few months ago, an opportunity arose to write reviews and other articles right here at Outright Geekery. This opened the door for me to read even more of these great titles, and tap away at my keyboard writing reviews, and this article in particular. So this is what I thought of this year (2017) in Valiant history!
Let’s start by how I’m listing them best to still pretty damn good!
Sadly…1st place is a tie!
1st Place X-O Manowar/Ninja-K
2nd Place Bloodshot Salvation
3rd Place Harbinger Renegade
4th Place Secret Weapons
5th Place Brittainia: We Who Are About To Die
6th Place Eternity
7th Place Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special
8th Place Faith & The Future Force
Ok let’s break it down and reason this out, and for that even delve into these titles. If you haven’t read these here is your “Spoiler Alert!” warning right now either stop reading and run to your ‘why the hell didn’t I read all these books’ pile, or just plow through with the rest of us who have read them. OK, here we go.
Here’s a little bit of a tease on the following titles. My source material for this was as follows: X-O Manowar Vo.l 1 “Soldier” TPB, X-O Manowar Vol. 2 “General” TPB, Ninja-K #1, Harbinger Renegade #0, 5, 6, 7, 8, Bloodshot Salvation # 1, 2, 3, Secret Weapons TPB, Brittainia: We Who Are About To Die TPB, Eternity #1, 2, Faith and the Future Force TPB & Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special.
1st part of 1st place is X-O Manowar. Let’s speak of Aric of Urth and Shanhara. We leap into this first trade titled ‘Soldier’, brought to us by the team of Matt Kindt, Thomas Giorello & Diego Rodriguez. As we open up this book, we see Aric is on the planet of Gorin. The most important thing in this book is that it includes the FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) X-O Manowar (Featuring Bloodshot). That’s right, it was a free flip book with both characters. This is where Aric first meets Schon and lets you see their first encounter. What I could only hope is that this is his first fight on this planet, but no Armor.
So each trade seems to be another chapter in progression so to speak of X-O’s new history. The second trade that was released this year was titled ‘General’, which makes sense since at the end of the ‘Soldier’ arc, we see Aric promoted to Captain. We see in Volume 2 ‘General’ that Doug Braithwaite has taken over for Thomas Giorello, and for the most part it’s very consistant art-wise with the first arc…very well done. Matt Kindt is the perfect person to script this character. You you know that within the first few pages. So in ‘General’, Aric has been put into battle once again, this time he has a close knit team of Azure soldiers. Wynn, a young soldier who followed him into battle against the capitol, along with the twins Clubb and Scar, Catt a hardened warrior of the burnt tribe, and Bruto a cowardly traitor to his own people. We finally see the hiding place of Shanhara, and that Aric has fashioned a ring out of a portion of his armor, he, as of yet, refuses to don…or does he? Next chapter: X-O Manowar Vol 3 ‘Emperor’. WOW! This escalated quickly! This character, I believe, is the backbone of this new universe. What are your thoughts?
2nd part of 1st place is Ninja-K. Now, I always knew him as Ninjak, but now he’s new and improved as Ninja-K. Mind blown! What else can I say? If I scored just the most recent Ninja-K issue 1 out of 5 stars, I’d have to give it all 10’s because it’s just that damn good! If you haven’t read this, shame on you. That means you’re asking yourself “What’s with the hyphen?”. Ok, maybe it was just me, so I’m glad I asked. Well, it’s a ninja training program that’s been going on for generations, and the current lead of this covert ops program is the letter K. No it’s not Sesame Street. It started with Ninja-A, and now we’re up to K. If you haven’t read this, run out and get this. If this title had more issues in the current run, it might have toppled X-O out of the the number one spot. Instead it tied with just one issue
2nd place is Bloodshot Salvation. What a great book! And it already has ties to Ninja-K! Just one look and you think bloodthirsty killer…but no, this title has so many layers in the story with past, present and future, you might have to read an issue more than once just to believe what just happened. Jeff Lemire, Lewis LaRosa, Mico Suayan, Brian Reber & Simon Bowland do an extraordinary job on this series. I was hooked from the first page. I’m such a big fan of Jeff’s scripting. He is the tops in this game. I can’t wait for the next issue!
3rd place goes to Harbinger Renegade, which has so many characters from this universe in it. If you’ve been a fan all along, you need to be reading this. Not to mention Massacre story arc starts right here in issue #5, so It’s also a great jumping on point. The creative team of Rafer Roberts, Darick Robertson, Richard Clark, Diego Rodriguez & Simon Bowland bring you all the Harbinger action you can handle and more! As a long time fan, even though everything is brand new, Harbinger is a staple of the Valiant Universe. Let me tell you this book is vicious! I could hardly believe what I was looking at when I dove into this book.
4th place goes to Secret Weapons.This title started out tame in comparison to some of the others, but boy does it kick into overdrive quick. The team of Erik Heisserer, Raul Allen, and Patricia Martin did a bang up job of taking Livewire, and forming a team of rejects. This like the ‘Legion of Substitute Heroes’. These guys dug deep, and brought back an enemy from the original 90’s run, but totally revamped him, and ramped him up to kill our newly banded group of reluctant heroes. This mini series, and now trade, does a great job of setting up a platform to save others like them in hiding, with Livewires’ help of course. Now announced for 2018 comes Secret Weapons #0, unless they moved up shipping date that is.
5th place takes you on an epic journey. This is the sequel to the critically acclaimed ten-time sold-out Britannia, which returns with an all-new beginning, and a startling new case for Antonius Axia, the world’s first detective, one with a haunting connection to the horrors of Rome’s arena, and the very gods themselves. Fifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath, as Achillia, a gladiator unlike any that Rome has seen before, faces incredible odds – one lone warrior against five of Rome’s greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female gladiator enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the coliseum roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. 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. Meanwhile, wild stories of of a blood soaked vision of Apollo walking the streets of Rome leaving bloodied corpses. Are the gods actually making the sons pay for the sins of the fathers? Peter Milligan (Shade, The Changing Man), and Juan José Ryp (Britannia) bring this new tale to life. Journey back in time and see the glory…and horror that was ancient Rome. This series also featured some beautiful cover art by Cary Nord, David Mack, Adam Gorham and Dave Johnson. This is a series not to be missed!
6th place is Eternity (only because this book is still such a mystery). Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine introduce a universe of new gods to the Valiant universe in the rich tradition of Kirby’s 4th world. I recommend that you read Divinity I, II, and III: Staliverse before this, just for a precursor for this series. This series is incredible to behold. After reading this, you can see where the name came from, and Matt has said that everything in this world has a purpose. This book is so in depth and dense with this unknown world or worlds. More history of Abram & Myshka, or at least hints of it, as their son is kidnapped to become the new overseer (a watcher if you will). There is no limit to where this series can go. A book that has to be seen to be believed, it’s just that awe inspiring.
7th place goes to Faith’s Winter Wonderland Special. I loved this book! And if you read my review of this book right here on Outright Geekery you know why, but I’ll tell you anyway, because it’s what I do.This was a breath of fresh air! Just a fun story taken from childhood…well sort of. Lots of interesting twists and turns, all told in a lighthearted, childlike fervor that you would expect to get from a Faith solo story. An enjoyable story that I think anyone – whether you’re a Valiant fan or not – will love, and a great story for the kids too. I highly recommend this book, and it’s on shelves today. Marguerite Sauvage wrote a wonderful tale, centered on a memory from Faith’s childhood, and it flows wonderfully. Francis Portela and MJ Kim tag team on the chore of illustrating this book, and kudos to them. The art in this book is just beautiful, and way too much fun to look at. Everything art wise worked on this book and Andrew Dalhouse killed it on colors. I mean seriously killed it.
8th Place is Faith and The Future Force. I love Faith, but this series suckered me in with it’s covers, like the one shown here, which blows me away. But, yet again, when I saw the Future Force, I was thinking back to the 90’s. And as much as I wish it was still the 90’s, it’s not, but we do get to see even though it’s brief, an entire slew of Valiant characters brought to you by Jody Houser and Steven Segovia. Now some people will say you don’t love Faith if you put her last. Ok, I kinda did do that, and this is why. This series is a superhero version of groundhog day. Yes the movie! Read it and tell me I’m wrong. It still held my interest as I sat and read this entire TPB in one sitting. It did have an interesting outcome that was so very Faith.
So, all in all, Valiant seriously killed it in 2017. I, for one, am way too excited for 2018 to see where these tales, and characters take us. Currently at the time of this article I’m anxiously awaiting the last few issues of 2017 to hit store shelves, like Eternity #3, Ninja-K #2, Bloodshot Salvation #4 finally the origin of Rampage! X-O #10! Aand the book I can’t wait to read Quantum & Woody #1! I love me some Valiant!