State of the Valiant Universe February 2020
Valiant is in month number two of their “Year of Heroes” and it is easy to see that the publisher is fully committed to bringing fans more interesting narratives, expanding their universe and introducing new characters. With a new series debuting each month from the publisher this year, now is certainly the time to check out these new offerings. Among already established series like Rai, Bloodshot and Quantum and Woody, Valiant released the first entry for their new Doctor Tomorrow series this month. There are many reasons to give Valiant another look this month, so let’s get started! Multiple spoiler warnings for the discussions ahead!
Rai #4: Hope Springs Forth in a Post-Apocalyptic World
Written by Dan Abnett featuring pencils from Juan Jose Ryp and colors by Andrew Dalhouse
If a post-apocalyptic adventure set in 4002 AD featuring a couple of AI-driven humanoids trying to get in touch with their human side while fighting dinosaurs, raiders, automated houses and the Bloodshot-birthed villain Bloodfather, then this series might pique your interest. This month Rai and his older, little brother Raijin seek out the third offspring of Bloodfather only to be lead to Hope Springs, a farming settlement is not too keen on Rai and company visiting. The settlement is also home to Gilad, the eternal warrior, and Karana the current geomancer. This issue sees Rai and Gilad take one the Bloodfather’s forces while also saving a few punches and kicks for one another. Definitely a top tier book this month.
The Visitor #3: Continuing to Trend Upward with Time Travel Narrative
Written by Paul Levitz featuring art by MJ Kim and colors from Ulises Arreola
In the latest issue of The Visitor, readers are finally given a substantial shred of the mystery that has been building since the first issue in the form of the official reveal of the identity of the Visitor. This series has certainly been a slow burn on the story front, but this issue ups the pacing quite a bit with flashes of the past. Inspectors Ogawa and Daubney continue their investigation into the Visitor even managing to directly confront him in an exciting albeit brief fight. The highlight of the issue comes with a flashback that reveals the visitor is some sort of android and is on a quest from the future to destroy an AI that lead to the death of his master. Just as quickly as the Visitor vanishes in previous issues, this issue ends with hints at a romance blooming between our two starring detectives.
Bloodshot #0: Back to Bloodshot Basics
Written by Tim Seeley with art by Mark Laming and colors by Andrew Dalhouse
This month readers were given a double dose of Bloodshot with a #0 prequel to the new run of the series and its continuation with #6 and I certainly cannot complain about that. Bloodshot #0 is a more traditional Bloodshot story that sees him taking on the Russian Mafia in Siberia while he tries to escape his previous life as an oil pipeline worker. This issue highlights what made previous iterations of the character great like his quest to find a sense of humanity by helping the locals and an agent of G.A.T.E. investigate the disappearances of women in the area. The issue also focuses on a girl who falls in with these criminals trying to find her own place in the world creating a parallel between her and Bloodshot. This issue concludes with Bloodshot deciding to continue helping others and leads directly into the current run of the series.
Bloodshot #6: Over the Top and Absurd in All the Right Ways
Written by Tim Seeley with art by Bret Booth and colors by Andrew Dalhouse
On the other hand, Bloodshot #6 is without a doubt the most absurd issue of Tim Seeley’s run of the series so far. In this issue we are introduced to the cybernetically augmented Sons of the Last Flesh who is lead by Eidolon’s sister. Bloodshot is still working for The Burned and on a mission to liberate Eidolon from another rival paramilitary group The Black Bar. Aside from the big three groups vying for narrative time, readers get the pleasure of seeing Bloodshot get speared through the mouth and have his skin cells shot off his body at the speed of sound by Eidolon whose powers allow her to talk to organic matter. We are even presented with a kiss between the two to close out this issue with another absurd happening. Crazy, off-the-wall action indeed.
Doctor Tomorrow #1: A Refreshing Departure for Valiant
Written by Aljendro Arbona with art by Jim Towe and colors by Deigo Rodriguez
In what I consider to the biggest surprise of the Year of Heroes so far, Doctor Tomorrow #1 introduces us to a young Bart Simms and his older, time traveling, alternate universe self. In this debut issue, readers are presented with an action packed opening that depicts a battle between the entirety of the Valiant Universe and a villain named Hadrian who seems to be Doctor Tomorrow’s arch-nemesis. This villain proceeds to outright kill a few heroes and then destroys the Earth with a black hole. The rest of the issue allows us to get to know the young Bart Simms, family issues and all. Future Bart then arrives on the scene and recruits current Valiant Universe Bart to help save the future just as Hadrian arrives. This issue serves as an expositional platform in which to launch the series, and it does not disappoint.
So that about wraps up the happenings of the Valiant Universe for February. With two months of the Year of Heroes under their belt already, Valiant has proven they have the talent and vision to make this year something special. I’ll see you guys back next month where we will look at the new entries into each of the series above, Quantum and Woody #2 and take a look at the relaunch of X-O Manowar!