Another week chock full of chewy Valiant goodness. This week we get our first story in the Armor Wars saga as X-O Manowar starts a new story arc. We continue the series of zero issues with Harbinger: Bleeding Monk #0 and there is a new issue of Shadowman. Check out the review this week.

Valiant EffortShadowman #16 – Jack fights for this life and the Loa helps as he battles the Abettors. The Abettors goal is to kill Jack so they can free the Loa and pass him into their chosen vessel. Alyssa is still conflicted between her love for Jack and her duty as an Abettor. That doesn’t last long. It is her commitment to saving Jack and Jack’s spirit to fight the influence of the Loa that sways the Abettors’ decision in his favor. Jack is still trying to settle past differences, with little luck. Only by becoming Shadowman will Jack find any peace. In the end, Jack faces another crazy Loa named Tremble. In the end, the battle is won by dropping into the Deadside, the spirit realm, and forcing Tremble to face his fears. A very powerful issue brought to us by Peter Milligan, Roberto de la Torre, and David Baron.

Valiant EffortHarbinger: Bleeding Monk #0 – Formerly a sort of spiritual guide for Toyo Harada in directing the purpose of the Harbinger Foundation, the Bleeding Monk left when there was a falling out between the two. This issue unveils the mysterious origins of this ancient being. Dateline 1755; as the Emperor has sent soldiers to destroy a special school created by a monk that has gathered those called the “lantern-eyed” from all over. Each has special powers and this was a safe place to train and better themselves. Death comes. Then in 355 B.C., a man named Kyros meets an elder and meditates to unlock the secrets of the universe. He learns from a naked seeker of wisdom how to enter a place of tranquility in which to think and not think at the same time. Then back to the monk’s death at the end of a spear and forward again to the future, stopping along the way for various shots of the monk or some version of the monk seeing possibilities. Finally, the recent past as young Toyo Harada finds the monk, who has been expecting him all this time. Now he can direct his path as it should go. This was a cool story and answers some real questions about this character’s past. Another awesome tale crafted by Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans, Mico Suayan, Stephen Segovia, Lewis LaRosa, and Ian Hannin.

Valiant EffortX-O Manowar #23 – This is a new story arc for Aric and his people. Also, the issue acts as a prelude to Armor Hunters, the big summer event this year. Aric has the X-O Manowar armor back and is acting as the protector of his people, although they are under constant surveillance by the military. Meanwhile, the Chinese space station encounters an alien who just happens to be wearing half a suit of X-O armor… coincidence? I think not. Aric is called upon to investigate, which leads to a knock down drag out fight with a new monster, Malgam. He wants the armor which he claims is the only thing that will make him whole. In the process, of course, they utterly destroy the space station and kill all the astronauts. Even blasting a hole in the creatures head is only enough to slow him down. He heals and comes right back at Aric. The team of Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard, Alejandro Sicat, and Brian Reber bring us a massive outer space fist fight with death, explosions, and even someone’s arm getting ripped off. If this is just the prelude, I can’t wait to see how the whole event plays out.

That’s it for this week. One other piece of news from the Valiant U is that Valiant Entertainment has teamed up with Catalyst Games to create the Valiant Universe RPG, a role playing game using, you guessed, all the characters from the Valiant Universe. Sounds pretty cool. Come back next week for another dose and remember to read Valiant First!

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