This past year was my first with Comic Booked, and I reached out to a lot of smaller publishers to build or strengthen a relationship with them so that we can help get word out about great comics and, just maybe, so we can get the inside scoop once in a while. Many replies came back, some with information about how to get on their lists for press releases and others with info about new comics out or links to electronic copies of their comics to review. That was great, but this column, for now a monthly feature here at Comic Booked, is dedicated to the company that impressed me the most with their attitude and their commitment to making sure I got the full immersion in their company through emails and physical copies of the great comics that Valiant publishes each month.
Because we are starting a new month and new year, moving in to January 2014, I wanted to give some coverage to the books that I got for December 2013. At least this way you can get a rundown of what is happening and see what you should definitely be reading. With that said, let’s launch this “Valiant Effort.”
Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #17 – Rogue nanites! End of the world! This is the pot that we jump into at the beginning of Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Coprs # 17. The Corps and Bloodshot are in the middle of an all out assault on Harada Global Conglomerates, the evil corporation that has stolen some of the programmable nanites that make all the heroes what they are. The cool thing about this book is that I have never read one of this series before and I really understood what was going on and was invested in the characters… even when something bad happens to one of them. This book has some great action and some very intense relationships that seem to be advancing towards some sort of conflict, so stay tuned.
Shadowman #13 – The cover of this issue says “A New Team! A New Beginning!” so that seems like a great jumping on point, which is great for me. Jack Boniface is Shadowman, a person possessed by a voodoo loa, or spirit, and given great powers. The problem is that lately his memory has been a little swiss-cheesed. Dox, a member of a secret order, called the Abettors, that aid the Shadowmen whenever they appear, was recently killed by Master Darque. This has really shaken things up. Now the Abettors want Jack dead and all he really wants to know is “Am I really crazy?” Peter Milligan weaves a great tale that unveils some dark secrets as Jack tries to rid himself of his loa.
Quantum and Woody #6 - This is just an awesome comic with a great premise. Two foster brothers, Eric and Woody, were brought back together through the death of their father, a scientist. In messing around in his lab, they got superpowers and now have to bang together these wristbands every 24 hours in order to keep those powers, oh, and not die because their atoms fall apart. There is also a killer goat and a clone-girl. Ed, as his alter ego Quantum, is promoted by his boss, Mr. Magnum of Magnum Security, to go on a suicide mission to take out some secessionists in Montana before they detonate a dirty bomb. Things just go downhill from there. This book has some great laughs and a solid story of two brothers who could not be more different. A must read.
Archer & Armstrong #16 – Armstrong is an immortal who basically just drinks to forget everything that he has lived through and Archer, well, he was part of a sect that his parents destabilized while his sister is part of some group of murderous nuns. A ton is going on in this book and it really makes me want to read the back issues to catch up. Archer and Armstrong are heading for the Wheel of Aten to save the world, but they also have to bring together all of the sects. The problem is that they all hate each other, so Archer has to sweeten the pot a little by offering them two things they all want, the Wheel of Aten and Armstrong… what will happen when they all come together? Find out next issue.
Unity #2 - This is the big event book of the Valiant Universe and I am definitely going to my LCS to get issue #1. Toyo Harada leads his unity team of Ninjak, Gilad the Eternal Warrior, and Livewire heads to Aric’s ship. Aric is the possessor of the X-O Manowar armor and a force to be reckoned with. This issue leads us up to the events in X-O Manowar #20 and are full of action and blood and guts. This is a dark story with major conflict across multiple series, so definitely something to keep an eye on.
X-O Manowar #20 - This is a “Unity” tie-In. Aric, the leader of the Visigoth’s who, back in 402 A.D., happened upon some alien armor and led his forces to victory is the owner of the X-O Manowar armor. He left Earth and returned 1600 years later, gathering his men and declaring Romania as their sovereign nation, thus leading the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Now he is battling for his life against Toyo Harada and his Unity team, Livewire (who stole his armor), Ninjak, and the Eternal Warrior. This is an action filled issue with some great twists that just makes me want to read more. Great art and an engrossing tale.
Eternal Warrior #4 - This is one crazy action-packed story. Gilad, a man who has existed for thousands of years, is the Sword of the Earth, a fighter battling to protect the earth Goddess from the evil forces of Nergal, the god of death. He has two children, Mitu, his son that he thought was killed when he was a child, and Xaran, his daughter who was the one who killed Mitu. Kind of a dysfunctional family, to say the least. In the now, Gilad and Xaran find out that Mitu isn’t really dead anymore. The Goddess of Earth returned him to life only so he could serve the very god of death that Gilad has been fighting against for millennium, Nergal. Think this might have ticked Gilad off? Just a bit. So he takes the fight to the very gods that he served, attacking the tree of the Goddess of the Earth. You just have to read it to see how things turn out and get ready to jump ahead 2,000 years for issue #5.
Harbinger #19 - Another book where we are dumped into the middle of a conflict, this one once again involving Toyo Harada of the Harbinger Foundation. This involves a team of superhumans battling against artificial worlds that were created just to keep them calm and sedated while Harada and his psiots, powerful psychics, planned to rule the world. Peter Stanchek, the leader of his team, the Renegades, is one of these sedated in a special world that Harada made just for him, but he is so strong that he shatters the world and Harada and the psychic backlash cause carnage galore. You have to pick this one up and get ready for the entire Valiant Universe to change next issue!
This wraps up our Thursday’s Valiant Effort. Don’t forget to come back next week to see a two week summary of all new books from Valiant. After that, each week this column will give you a short review of everything happening in the Valiant Universe. Thanks for being a loyal reader and a big thank you to Valiant for their support.