The Valiant #1 (Comics Review)

Valiant Comics currently possesses a great team superhero book in Matt Kindt’s ongoing Unity, which launched last year in the Fall and has since become one of my favourite comics across the board. In that title, we see various heroes come together to battle it out with an alien menace in the present timeline, and win through with some big handicaps along the way. The title has wavered a bit here and there at points, but the end result is that it is still a damn good book, one that I recommend fairly highly for all readers.

And this week the publisher launched The Valiant #1, which is the start of a new team superhero book, though along different lines and also focusing on slightly different characters, though there is indeed some overlap between the books in terms of the characters featured, such as Gilad Anni-Padda aka Eternal Warrior and Aric the Visigoth aka X-O Manowar. Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt tell a riveting tale of Gilad’s past failures in this debut issue and artists Paolo and Joe Rivera do their utmost to make it a visual feast.The Valiant 001

There are several key characters in this issue. The story here is primarily about Gilad the Eternal Warrior, who has been charged for thousands of years by the various Geomancers to help them safeguard the Earth itself. However, again and again he has gone up against a foe he has been unable to successfully destroy, and said foe has caused him more grief than has any other. While most of the story follows Gilad and his failures through the ages, we also learn more about characters such as his brother Armstrong and the warrior Bloodshot. And everything centers on Gilad drawing yet another line in the sand, to prove once and for all that he is indeed a great warrior and hero, to be proven by him facing down his eternal foe, saving the life of the new Geomancer Kay McHenry with the help of some of the people close to him.

As I said above, Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire’s story here is very riveting. The book has a much different vibe to it than Unity does, and in that it follows along the same lines as do Marvel and DC’s various superhero team books. Which is pretty fine with me. Valiant is slowly building up the current version of its universe, with all the different heroes, and a new team book makes sense since it provides a much different experience to the other one. And whereas in Unity the primary character has often been Aric, in The Valiant it appears that the primary character is Gilad. That too is fine with me and I have no complaints at all on that front.

If there is one thing that rubbed me the wrong way in this book is that Gilad is setup as too much of a failure. Again and again a new generation of Geomancers arrives in the world, and each is cut down by Gilad’s hated enemy before he is able to destroy it. That’s the core concept of this book in the first arc, and I find myself glued to the pages, wanting to know what is gonna happen at every turn of the page.

I just can’t stop.

And then the way that the writers bring together the different heroes, that too is very satisfying and feels very natural. It is meant to be a new series with “new” heroes and it performs admirably in that regard. The mix of familiar and not-so familiar characters means that the writers have a great fertile land of creativity to indulge themselves with and the fun part is in seeing the results.

Paolo Rivera is the artist here, with colours by Joe Rivera and letters by Dave Lanphear. The art in this issue is absolutely stunning. It is primarily Gilad through the ages, fighting one enemy after another in a seemingly endless struggle for dominance over his world, but at the same time, the artists capture the character’s hopes and desperation really well. And when Bloodshot gets on the scene, the action really ramps up since the character is all about the big flashy action sequences. Kay can seem a bit odd at first but by pairing her up with Armstrong in her first scenes, the artists and the writers do an incredible job of contrasting and developing both characters.

A damn good start, if I do say so myself.

Rating: 9.5/10

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Posted on December 15, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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