I keep saying this and it never gets old for me: despite everything “new” that the Big 2 have done of late, Valiant Comics is still not done pulling out all the stops to establish themselves in the big leagues of superhero comics. Their Unity ongoing, which is a team-up comic featuring some of their biggest heroes, is proof of it. I wasn’t sure what all to expect from it when I heard about it and the book has been a very pleasant surprise. It has kept me coming back month after month, and I suppose that is evidence enough of how much I am enjoying reading this series.
In the first three issues, we saw a superhero team go up against one of the most powerful men on the planet. It was quite a brutal three issues and featured some of Matt Kindt’s best writing. He’s been very hit and miss for me, but with this series he has definitely a hit, and that is pleasing on a personal level since the Valiant universe is so very different from what exists at the Big 2. It is fresh, it is unique, and it also a whole lot of fun. It also helps that the art on this series is so damn good.
There have been a lot of big events in comics of late. Last year alone saw some really major events from the Big 2: Throne of Atlantis, Battle of the Atom, Trinity War, Infinity, Age of Ultron etc. And the new year is also heralding quite a few more from both of them. But, I have to say that in terms of uniqueness and freshness, nothing quite beats Valiant’s Unity series, which continues to surprise at every turn. Perhaps that’s because Valiant’s sandbox is pretty new. Perhaps that’s also because writer Matt Kindt is doing some of his best work here. Regardless, Unity is a series that I’m really enjoying.
The first two issues of the series were fairly good. My lack of familiarity with the characters has been an element that has hampered my enjoyment to some degree, but I won’t deny that both issues were some of the best issues I read last year. The third issue, released this week, builds on both of them and it provides a really great change in the status quo of things. Something that is unexpected. And the way that it ends, in the epilogue, well, big changes are in store it seems!
Superhero team-up books are quite fun because of the diversity they have to offer in terms of characters and their backhistories. Whether you talk about an X-Men book or an Avengers book or a Justice League book or whatever, team books bring together the best and the brightest and do some fun things with them. Of course, the experience itself is subjective and some team books can be terrible, but I’ve generally enjoyed them as starting points. And that’s what Valiant Comics’ Unity #1 did for me last month, and what I hoped Unity #2 would do this month.
Which it does. Aplenty. After all the momentous events of the previous issue, we are in for a real treat this week as well as Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite return for another excellent issue. The first issue served as a really good introduction to various high-profile characters of the Valiant universe. That’s where the second issue comes in to build on everything that has already happened and move the story forward significantly. I definitely enjoyed the new issue, more than the previous one I should point out.
Managed to read a handful of more comics this week, since there were a lot of titles released that I was really interested in, and a couple from previous weeks that I hadn’t been able to get around to at the time. As usual, it was all a mixed reading experience, with some really good comics mixed in with some bad ones and a few that straddle the fence between the two extremes. More positive ones than negative ones.
No graphic novels this week sadly, since this week was a real slog in reading, again, and I was struggling for time in general with everything else too. Perhaps this coming week can be different!
From everything I’ve seen around me, Valiant Comics is emerging as a publisher with some solid clout in the industry. Much as Top Cow did when it was created, Valiant is redefining the superhero genre in its own way by giving us a fresh generation of superhero(ish) characters to get invested in. And they publish some non-superhero titles as well, such as Fred Van Lente’s excellent Archer & Armstrong, of which I’ve read the first volume so far. Unity #1 marks my first Valiant comic in several months as I finally take the full plunge into the universe/setting that Valiant is creating.
Unity #1, the attraction is that it is being presented as a team-up book, Valiant’s own version of a Justice League team-up or an Avengers team-up. Despite how complex they can be, I find team books to be a good starting point, especially when they bring several different type of heroes such as, again, Justice League or Avengers. And that’s what I’m seeing in this comic as well. Written by Matt Kindt, I had some doubts about it since his writing of late hasn’t really been working for me, but I gotta say that this was much better than I expected!
Given the way that DC’s last big crossover event, Trinity War, ended and the way that the current event, Forever Evil, started, the big question on everybody’s mind has been just what the hell happened to the three Justice League teams. Forever Evil #1 jumped forward in time a bit and its opening act is disconnected with the ending of Justice League #23, which was the final Trinity War issue. It was only until the final page of this month’s Forever Evil #2 that we were able to get a glimpse of that in-between time, or rather, the result of it.
With Justice League of America #8, the first JL issue to hit stands since Justice League #23 in August, we finally begin to explore where the heroes are, what’s happened to them, and what the future has in store. Matt Kindt begins his 6-issue arc on this title with this new release, and it promises to be an interesting time, if he can get rid of all the kinks in his script.
This week was filled with reading a lot more than just the regular DC books. I read a fair amount of Marvel stuff this time, and also other titles from other publishers, particularly Vertigo, which is a DC imprint. A lot of these comics were really good, some not so much, and that’s pretty much normal really. Never a full week of solid comics. An impossibility I think.
I wasn’t able to get around to reading any graphic novels this time around, sadly, mostly because I was caught up reading a really big fat military space opera novel. It was written by a favourite author so that helped get over that a little bit but the book still took too much time. Not to mention that I was generally short on time so had to make do with reading single issues.
Perhaps this week I can get a couple graphic novels down!