If this is your first time joining us, thanks for reading Thursday’s Valiant Effort. This is a column where I give you a rundown off all the great comics out this week, along with any breaking news from, our friends at Valiant Comics. If you are interested in catching up on the last few weeks you can click here.

Free Comic Book Day is only two and a half months away, so be sure you are planning your strategies now. I know that my LCS is planning some big events, as always, trying to get some cool artists to come in for signings and they always have a huge selection of the FCBD editions of the favorite comics. This year, Beyond Comics in Frederick, Maryland, will also be doing a food drive and bringing in a donation can get you some extra cool stuff. In addition, Valiant Comics has a FCBD special as Armor Hunters launches with a free comic and, in some locations, retailer exclusive imprinted covers. Cool stuff all the way around.

This week, there are two Valiant books to review, one ongoing series and the first of the #0 issues exploring the origins of some of your favorite characters.

Thursday's Valiant EffortShadowman #15 – Alyssa Miles is conflicted between her duty as an Abettor, after being asked to avenge Dox, the man who had been killed by Jack Boniface, host of the voodoo spirit or loa, and a love for Jack. Meanwhile, Jack is still battling the loa for dominance while he goes to ask forgiveness for past wrongs. Of course the Abettors really just want Jack dead so they can control the loa for themselves. This leads to a big showdown where the fate of the Shadowman may be decided. Peter Milligan weaves an interesting tale that is only improved by the artwork of Roberto de la Torre, David Baron, and the rest of the art team.

Thursday's Valiant EffortArcher & Armstrong: Archer #0 – Who is Obadiah Archer and where does he come from? All our questions will be answered by reading this one comic book. Of course, we may all come away with quite a few more questions when it is all said and done. It seems that Archer had been singled out as a child, kidnapped from his home, and taken to a secret government facility. Once assessed he was adopted by Archer Ministries, home of The Sect, where he was trained as an assassin. Well, not just any assassin, but the assassin. Using text from the Bible to reinforce the idea that The Sect are the true chosen people of God, Archer Ministries programs the children to kill and to hate and hunt he-who-is-not-to-be-named, also known as Armstrong. And all of this leads right into “Mission Improbable”, the new storyline pitting Archer & Armstrong against Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D. Corps, starting in Archer & Armstrong #18 in March.

That’s it for this week. I hope you pick up these books and get into the new Valiant Universe the way I have. These are some awesome characters and really cool storylines. Plus, there is continuity. I know many of your don’t understand that word since you probably read a lot of comics from some other “big” comic companies, but this is where each comic book actually occurs in the same universe, on the same earth or galaxy or whatever, and at about the same time, unless otherwise stated. It makes things a lot more fun to read when your favorite characters can interact and have a lasting impact on each other. Try it, you just might get hooked.