As always, Thursdays are your day for all the best news and reviews from Comic Booked. This week on Thursday’s Valiant Effort, I review the milestone Harbinger #25 and Unity #9 from last week plus all the books from this week. On top of all that, you are in for a treat, since I got early copies of both Delinquents #1 and The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #1.
Harbinger #25 – This is a huge anniversary issue. I like the way the issue starts with an origin of the characters of Harbinger. In this way, anyone can pick up this issue and start reading the series. The story of Harada and his Harbinger Corporation is a troubled one. Young Peter Stanchek was supposed to be the prodigy that brought psiots in to the forefront of humanity and helped to elevate mankind, but instead, the greed and ego of Harada created a rift that eventually led to war. Now, that war has left one of Peter’s team of Renegades dead and the truth about Harbinger has been spread across the internet for everyone to see. This issue, as the celebration of a milestone for this series, has multiple different stories in it similar to X-O Manowar #25. In the first story, we see the fallout of the Renegade’s attack on Harada and the repurcussions of the leak of all the private Harbinger data to the global media. Generation Zero, powerful psiots that have been held captive, are free and rampaging against Harada in every way. Finally, as the icing on the cake, the US government along with representatives from all he major secret organizations call Harada to a secret meeting. The terms are plain, HGC will be dismanteled, along with Rising Spirit, but both organizations will continue to exist as part of the intelligence community, bowing to the whims of those in power. Harada counters with his own terms, killing everyone present except the intelligence director sent as the representative of the US government. She is given a message to take back, Harada will not be controlled and any attempt to do so will result in more death. While Faith and Torque say their goodbyes to Kris, the leak of HGC data hits the world. Riots and attacks against Harada’s holding worldwide are met with different levels of resistance and, in many places, Harbinger students defend the buildings, destroying takes and deflecting bullets. In the end, Harada takes Stronghold and another recruit, Inner Sea, to his “surrender” where announces that “the world is mine”. Peter Stanchek sees all this and blends into the crowd after stealing meds from a pharmacy. What is the future to hold for the Renegades now decimated? Who will rise to stop Harada in his ploy for global domination? The rest of this issue is various stories by many different talents, including some cool art by Rafer Roberts in a story written by Justin Jordan. This is a must buy. My Rating: 5/5
Unity #9 – This issue begins focusing on a crisis for Livewire who is very concerned that she might be an alien and might be infected by the armor since she used it for a short time. The Armor Hunters have come and destroyed Mexico City and are trying to destroy the X-O Manowar armor. Ninjak and Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, are battling the hounds let loose by the Armor Hunters. These creatures release devastating sonic blasts, so Gilad tells Ninjk to slit their throats. In the battle, this is easier said than done as the creatures hides are super tough. Ninjak is able to shove a sword down one of their throats, thus killing the creature while Gilad uses special bullets to take out the ones he is fighting. The creatures bring their attack to the M.E.R.O. bunker where Livewire and Bloodshot are stationed. In the end, Livewire finds that she is human after all and so is Bloodshot, at least a little. As the hounds bear down, the battle is ab0ut to get a little crazy. The last part of this book is a preview of The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1, which I will be reviewing before next Thursday. My Rating: 4/5
Archer & Armstrong #22 – This story just gets weirder and weirder. As Archer and Armstrong are trapped in a parallel world of dead superstars held suspended in time by the Wheel of Aken, they search for the Holy Grail to appease the Lizard King in order to be released… Yeah, I know. Anyway, at the end of the last issue, Obie thought he found his mom, but it turns out to be Mary-Maria, or at least a really old version of her, who turns out not to be his mom after all. Armstrong flashes back to the Middle Ages where he was one of King Arthur’s knights searching for the grail. After releasing Elvis from his captivity in the weird hotel, Armstrong and Mary-Maria head toward the Grail, but Archer reaches it first. He realizes that this is really just the collection of all human consciousness, the field that he draws on for all his powers, and so he turns off the Wheel. Armstrong will not allow him to take the Wheel for the Sect, so a fight ensues and during the fight, Mary-Maria and Elvis disappear… along with the Wheel of Aken. What next? This storyline wraps up next issue, so stay tuned for more weirdness. My Rating: 4.5/5
Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #1 – The alien Armor Hunters have destroyed Mexico City and now want to kill Malgam. M.E.R.O. and MI-6 are standing guard and have recently acquired Bloodshot from the jungles of Central America where he was killing who knows who for who knows what reason. While they believe Bloodshot safely on the outer perimeter guarding, he slips easily through their security to confront Malgam and find out what all the fuss is about. As Bloodshot tries to strengthen the field holding Malgam, Malgam attacks and tells them they are all threatened by what the Armor Hunters will unleash next. The hounds drop to attack the base, as we saw in Unity #9. Bloodshot goes out to fight them and is almost overcome. The attack was really a diversion so that Lilt could destroy Malgam, but Bloodshot shows up just in time and next issue will be a throw down. Can our nanite-driven killer match the alien technology of the Armor Hunters? My Rating: 4/5
Armor Hunters: Harbinger #1 – This issue starts with the destruction of Mexico City, as seen back in Armor Hunters #1. The children of Generation Zero, recently escaped from Harbinger control, have headed South and are close enough so that Kalea was hit hard with the psychic backlash of the deaths of so many. Despite Christian’s disdain for humanity, the team agrees to go to the city and see if they can help. We also see that Renegades Faith and Torque have made their way in to help where they can. Their rescue work is interrupted by a band of thugs with guns driving in to opportunize the situation. Is that even a word when used like that? I don’t know, but you get the picture. This is when the two teams meet up and kick some thug butt. Afterward, there is some strange growth in the middle of ground zero of the destruction. What sort of nasty thing is the Swarm? I guess we will find out next issue. My Rating: 4/5
X-O Manowar #27 – Robert Venditti continues the origin story of the Armor Hunters in the pages of X-O Manowar. We join Rebo and Malgam as they are disembarking from a ship bringing them to the training world of the Armor Hunters, an army gathered by a mysterious general to defeat the virus that is the armor. We are shown the devastation that the armors wreak in a scene where 5 massive ships return from battle stating that all teams of hunters were lost. Eighteen teams were sent out to battle and none come back alive. These armors are a force to be reckoned with. We see Reebo pulled aside and told that this is not a military being built, this is to be a band of killers. Reebo will be the lead and is given the only thing that can kill the armors, a spear. The last part of this issue focuses on the team’s first hunt on the planet Ludo. The armor they are hunting is tough and the team is almost not able to defeat it, but they maintain their teamwork and in the end, Reebo drives the spear home. This battle is intense, and the team lost three of their members in this hunt. Next issue it looks like we will find out why Malgam is joined with an armor. Pretty good one this time. My Rating: 5/5
So, now for some cool news.
As revealed exclusively at the Hollywood Reporter, New York-based comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment today announced that they are adapting their award-winning comic book series, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, into a feature film. Valiant has partnered with the Sean Daniel Company (THE MUMMY, BEST MAN HOLIDAY, MGM’s upcoming BEN-HUR) for the production and has funded a script from writer BenDavid Grabinski. The film will be produced by Sean Daniel, Jason Brown, and Dinesh Shamdasani.
Very exciting to see the first of, we all hope, many movies based on the awesome Valiant Entertainment properties. Also, if you like shoes, you can check out some new Bloodshot themed Chucks at PunkYourChucks. These are custom hand-painted Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. Cool looking shoes. And, last but not least…
Valiant Entertainment is proud to announce THE VALIANT – a new prestige format four-issue limited series beginning in December from New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) and Matt Kindt (RAI, UNITY, Mind MGMT), and featuring interior artwork and covers by Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera (Daredevil)!
This will be a miniseries focused on Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, and a slew of other Valiant heroes. What is the Valiant? Well, stay tuned here for more news as it comes. The series comes out in December, so, if we are all still around, look for reviews right here. Until then, Read Valiant First!