Thursday’s Valiant Effort is still playing a little catch up this week covering comics that were released on January 8th and January 15th, 2014. Many thanks to the other writers that contribute their thoughts to this column… well, the one other writer, our very own Cal Cleary.

Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #18 from valiant Bloodshot And H.A.R.D. Corps #18 – Starting a new arc with a new “old” artist, Bart Sears, a Valiant Comics alumni. Flatline and Genius share more than war stories. Simon Oreck is a monster of a man, working as a “security consultant” who is involved in some scheme in Nigeria that includes kidnapping Mr. Kozol. Turns out that Bloodshot and Charlies Palmer both have a history with Oreck. H.A.R.D Corps and Bloodshot head to Nigeria only to have to battle The Specialists, a group made up of interesting people. We get a flashback of Project Rising Spirit, but only after the Corps gets their butts handed to them. This was a violent predecessor to the Corps and now they want Palmer dead… but why? Find out as the story is just beginning in this new arc.

Shadowman #14Shadowman #14 - Failing to rid himself of the Loa in the last issue, Jack is still trying to find answers. Teaming up with Alyssa, who has been sent to catch Jack for the Abettors, they are searching. Jack spends a lot of this issue fighting an internal battle with the Loa while the external battle with the shadow spirits becomes very real in an alley. Death and destruction is what the Loa craves, but only a strong man can control those urges and Jack wants to be a strong man. Will he triumph? Or will Alyssa give into Dox’s demands for vengeance?

Comic Booked Quantum and Woody 7 CoverQuantum and Woody #7 – Quantum and Woody #7 may not be the best issue of Valiant’s excellent new comedy book, but it shows that writer James Asmus is doing exactly what he needs to be doing to make sure the book keeps growing and keeps us laughing. The jokes come quick, and many of them – particularly from Woody, whose quip-heavy repertoire Asmus mastered almost immediately lands on target, but in this second arc, it’s Quantum who has been the real stand-out for me. Asmus and artist partner Ming Doyle have really humanized Quantum in this arc with a background story that comes to a head in this issue, which seriously helps prevent the book from becoming too cartoonish and unrelatable. While Doyle’s art remains just a little bit off, particularly in the relatively stiff characters, he does nail a number of panels, like Woody’s immense pride at meeting his disturbing fanclub. Quantum and Woody #7 is an enjoyable issue of one of the most fun books on the shelves today, and the title’s second arc continues to build up some impressive momentum that should make Quantum and Woody a title to look out for in 2014. – Cal Cleary

Archer & Armstrong #17Archer And Armstrong #17 – The “Sect Civil War” continues. If you remember from last issue, Archer has a surefire plan to bring all the sects together and bring peace… well, hopefully. How does he plan on doing this? By giving them what they want –  Armstrong. So while Armstrong, the immortal one who will not be named, fights every member of the previously segregated sects, Archer heads off to confront his sister, Mary-Maria, the new leader of the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness. But the real prize, the Wheel of Aten, is gone. Sparing no chance to take control of the sects, Mary-Maria arms explosives to trap all those who will not join her in her quest for world domination deep within the tombs. Archer stops the carnage but the Sisters escape. After the explosion, our intrepid heroes (?) find their way to the surface and the rest of the sects come together to form the New Dominion led by Dark Archer. Coming up next is the #0 issue exploring some origins and another crossover event as Archer and Armstrong take on Bloodshot and H.A.R.D Corps.

Harbinger #20Harbinger #20 – Another new story arc in the Valiant Universe. With Peter and the rest of the Renegades free from Harada’s control, they are ready to take the fight to the enemy. While Harada seemingly surrenders to the government, what he is really doing is sending an ultimatum. Oh, but that is in the future. Back in the now he is receiving an award for all his great technological advances. Meanwhile, a hacker known as @X is releasing data on Project Rising Spirit. As the cops hunt him, the Renegades show up and save him, since he turns out to be a Generation Zero. Things are heating up and the boiling point is coming soon. What will happen when the pressure is too much?

Unity #3Unity #3 – Aric’s ship is on the bottom of the ocean and his armor is wrapped around Livewire. What now? Through the machinations of Harada’s team, Aric and his men are defeated and the nuclear missile is returned to where it came. Livewire finally has control of the armor and, in the end, allows Harada to contain the armor and seal it away. Through that contact with the armor, Livewire’s powers are now expanded and she can interact with technology without having to touch it. As the story wraps, Ninjak, the Eternal Warrior, and Livewire have a new mission… Kill Harada to save the world.

Thanks for bearing with us in this slightly late episode of Thursday’s Valiant Effort. If you want to know more about the Valiant Universe and what is happening or has happened with these great characters, check out their website or get down to your LCS and pick up the books.

For more Valiant, don’t forget to check out last week’s TVF for what you might have missed!