Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The Valiant Comics universe is a complex one, but its writers and editors are skilled at crafting comics that are accessible to new and old readers alike. Most of their titles summarize “The Story So Far” on their inside front covers. Most of their writers manage to smoothly include character names and sufficient background info in their scripts.

My favorite Valiant title is Faith. Super-heroine Zephyr - Faith is her real name - has appeared in other Valiant titles. She starred in a successful, well-received mini-series. She now has an ongoing title and it’s as terrific as the mini-series.

Faith #1 and #2 [$3.99 each] were written by Jody Houser. The main artist is Pere Perez with fantasy and flashback sequences drawn by Marguerite Sauvage and Colleen Doran. Colorist Andrew Dalhouse and letterer Dave Sharpe complete the creative team. Tom Brennan is the editor with Lauren Hitzhusen his assistant editor. I give all the credits when something is my favorite title of a company.

In her civilian life, Faith poses as mild-mannered content writer  Summer Smith. She is a fan of the same stuff we love and one of the most relatable characters in comics. In these issue, as Zephyr, she gets her first arch-enemy super-villain. I’m not going to tell you anything about him other than his reason for becoming a villain is freaking brilliant and that he is, indeed, deadly and smart enough to be a proper arch-enemy.

Whether you read other Valiant titles or not, Faith is a title you need to be reading. You will thank me for this recommendation.


I am not typically a fan of stories set in the future of a title’s or a comic-book universe’s future. I like them better when they are presented more as a possible future than *the* future. My interest in the Legion of Super-Heroes began to fade once the “Adult Legion” stories became *the* future for that series. It felt like many of the present-day stories were being plotted by checking off boxes on some “here’s the future” list.

I enjoyed Valiant’s four-issue 4001 AD [$3.99 per issue] more than those old Legion stories for three reasons. The first is that I’ve decided all such future stories are possible futures no matter how their publishers frame them. What do they know? They’re only making the comic books. I’m doing the heavy lifting by reading them.  Second and more seriously, 4001 AD is written by Matt Kindt, whose Valiant work has always been first-rate.

Third and even more seriously, 4001 AD is a great story in which the fate of New Japan, an airborne and incredibly advanced nation controlled by a despot A.I. name of Father, is decided. Rai, spirit of the nation, leads a rebellion against Father and the stakes are as dire as they get.

Told in these four issues, the Rai title and four one-shots, 4001 AD has heroic freedom fighters, gripping war sequences and enormous tragedies. However, unlike so many comic books and movies where the high body counts are eye-candy special effects, Kindt’s writing and Clayton Crain’s art made me feel the agony and the horror and the loss of New Japan citizens caught in this struggle.

Valiant’s Rai title is also set in 4001. That title dovetails with the mini-series. But a reader can read 4001 AD and follow the story without reading Rai or the one-shot spin-offs.

There were four one-shots: Bloodshot, Shadowman, War Mother and X-O Manowar ($3.99 per issue]. All were entertaining, but my favorites were Shadowman by writers Jody Houser and Rafer Roberts with artist Robert Gill, and War Mother by Fred Van Lente and Tomas Giorello. Both are set after the events of 4001 AD and explore what became of Earth in later times.


My second favorite Valiant title is Bloodshot Reborn. Ray Garrison was turned into “the perfect living weapon” via billions of nanites injected into his body. His past is uncertain, but his present has him fighting to retain his humanity in spite of what’s been done to him and the forces who continue to seek to use him. Written by Jeff Lemire and currently drawn by Mico Suayan with colorist David Baron does a remarkable job with the hues, the title is a compelling read for me. Though I usually read comics alphabetically - yes, I’m that retentive - it’s Faith and Bloodshot Reborn that rise to the top of my Jenga-like stack of comics whenever Valiant sends me its recent issues for review.

Bloodshot Reborn #14 [$3.99] kicked off “Bloodshot Island,” which is an action-packed and downright terrifying storyline. Our hero’s trapped on an island with several other nanite-infused combatants. They are hunted and killed every day by Deathmate, who may or may not be someone who was important to Ray. The warriors come back to life every morning to be hunted again, all part of an experiment in turning entire populations into nanite-soldiers. For me, this story arc is as chilling as the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one of the scariest movies of all time.

If you tried Faith and loved it, take my word on Bloodshot Reborn as well . They are very different series, but they deliver great writing and art in every issue.


One more for the road. Divinity II #4 [$3.99] wraps up the second mini-series about Russian cosmonauts who return from being lost in space with incredible and world-challenging powers. It’s written by Matt Kindt with art by Trevor Hairsine (pencils), Ryan Winn (inks) and David Baron (colors). Both mini-series have been terrific and, like the first one, this one delivers a very satisfying conclusion. Divinity III launches in December. I’m looking forward to it.

That’s all for today. Come back tomorrow for the latest installment of our fast-shooting, hard-riding “Rawhide Kid Wednesdays” feature. It’s western action as you like it!

© 2016 Tony Isabella

No comments:

Post a Comment