Rating: 5/5 – A Great Place to Start If You’re New To Valiant.
by guest reviewer Kevyn Knox.
Before I begin this review, I must come clean and confess that I really know next to nothing about the Valiant Universe. My first dip into the Valiant pool came just a few weeks back, when I picked up the latest issue of Rai. Falling immediately in love with said issue, I decided Valiant was a comic book company I needed to get more into, and how. Luckily, a friend (fellow ComicSpectrum reviewer, Adam Alamo) saw my Facebook post about my newfound love of Rai, and handed me a slew of other Valiant titles. Now I could dive head first into that aforementioned Valiant pool. Coming off of this refreshing swim, I picked up The Valiant #1, part of the so-called Valiant Next branding over at Valiant.. And, as they say, off we go.
Granted, I am still nowhere close to calling myself an expert on the Valiant Universe, but I do know what I like, and I like The Valiant #1. This issue begins a 4 part mini-series from Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt, two of my favourite writers working in comics today, and with art from Paolo Rivera. The Valiant, which brings together Valiant stalwarts like Bloodshot, The Eternal Warrior, and X-O Manowar, is the start of the aforementioned Valiant Next event. Much like the Marvel Now marketing plan, Valiant Next is not so much a reboot, like DC’s New 52, but a way to give Valiant beginners, like this critic, a way into all the fun. There are four new ongoing titles coming after the new year (and more on the horizon) to join the Valiant family, and The Valiant is the book that kicks it all off. And with its old school charm and visceral storytelling, in both words and art, what a way to kick things off.
The Valiant #1 tells the background story of the man known as the Eternal Warrior, as he must live lifetime after lifetime in the Sisyphean task of protecting the Earth’s geomancer. Each time he fails, and each time a new geomancer is born, and again each time he fails. Now we cut to the present day and the new geomancer. This time our intrepid eternal warrior decides to gather up a team to help him in his duties. This is where other Valiant bigwigs come into the fray. Lemire and Kindt unfold the opening salvo of their joint tale in a fresh and unhurried manner, while at the same time giving the story a sense of urgency. I don’t think there are many writers out there with the ability to play the game as well as these two do. In this single issue, this duo gives an even deeper understanding to an already rich and deep universe that this critic has only just now begun to experience. The story and the art are better than I could have ever imagined, they make it so I can’t wait for part two.
Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt have written some of my favorite comics of the last few years. For my money, Lemire’s run over at DC, with Green Arrow and Animal Man is nothing short of comic book brilliance. Meanwhile, Kindt’s Ming Mgmt from Dark Horse is easily one of the best damn books I’m reading right now, and his work on Valiant’s Rai (with which I recently fell head over heels in love) is just one more reason to go all Valiant happy. Now working together, along with artist Paolo Rivera (Mythos over at Marvel, and cover art for pretty much every book made over the past few years), and his striking style, which is a perfect fit for this book, they give us this intriguing first issue of The Valiant, as well as the next phase in this universe’s storied history, Valiant Next. Now, as I’ve already said, I can’t wait for the next chapter. One could say that my love for this book is merely a swirling of newfound emotions for the Valiant Universe I have immersed myself in these past few days, but I’m here to tell ya this is honest to goodness quality comic booking right here. End of story…or actually, just the beginning.
Reviewed by: Kevyn Knox