Comics publisher Valiant rose from the ashes two years ago with a successful launch of some of its original characters in new books. This month’s The Valiant #1 is the beginning of the company’s next leap forward, called Valiant Next, and it’s an indication of great things to come.
The story in The Valiant, by writers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, focuses on the Eternal Warrior, Gilad Anni-Paddi, who, over his 10,000 year career, has failed to protect the Geomancer and civilization three times. Each time, the Immortal Enemy has killed the current Geomancer, destroyed a civilization, and left a scar on Gilad’s face. Now, there is a new Geomancer in modern times, and the Immortal Enemy has returned once again.
This issue mostly serves as a set up of the premise and sets all the pieces in motion. It introduces us to the major players: the new Geomancer, The Eternal Warrior, Armstrong, Bloodshot, and, of course, the Immortal Enemy itself. If you were waiting for a place to get into reading Valiant comics, this is your chance.
Besides the scenes where Gilad is facing the Immortal Enemy, which are brutal and heartbreaking, the best part of this comic is the scene that introduces the new Geomancer. It’s a great piece of character work that gets the reader, especially one new to the universe, invested in the story and the characters.
Paolo Rivera’s art in this book is amazing. I was a huge fan of his work on the Daredevil relaunch, and he brings his great talents here as well. He does everything he’s asked to do in this book extremely well: action set pieces, emotional beats, expressive faces, creepy monster design; it’s all beautifully done. One two-page spread that shows a dejected Eternal Warrior standing against a backdrop of battles past has been my desktop background for the past two weeks, seriously. The whole book is just nice to look at.
Valiant describes the event as ‘epic’, and so far I’ve found nothing that will debunk that claim. This first issue gives you just enough to want more. The series is scheduled to run for four issues, and it seems like it will be paced perfectly to tell an epic story that won’t overstay it’s welcome.
In the hands of such talented creators, The Valiant could be the rocket that sends Valiant into the stratosphere. If you’ve been hesitant in the past, now is time to put these comics on your pull list. Besides, any comic that leads to the return of Ninjak has to make any comics fan’s shortlist of must-reads.
CBH Score: 4.5 of 5.0
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