While other superhero comics publishers are mining their pasts for big crossover events this spring and summer, Valiant is blasting ahead into the future, specifically, its characters' end times.
The new, four-issue event series Book of Death, written by Robert Venditti and with art by Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite, promises to reveal how characters including Ninjak, Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Toyo Harada and others will bite it, be redeemed, be replaced, or otherwise change in the future.
X-O Manowar. Harbinger. Bloodshot. Archer & Armstrong. Shadowman. These are the heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the 1990s, they were some of the hottest properties in all of comics. With top-notch talent and huge amounts of buzz, Valiant became a legitimate challenger to the dominance of the big two publishers, Marvel and DC. Their first issues (along with their fancy-schmancy chromium covers) became enormous collector’s items, and their series dominated the sales charts. Valiant was eventually sold to Acclaim, who later shuttered the imprint, but in 2012 Valiant returned from a new publisher with relaunched series and it’s been steadily growing ever since. So it’s next area of growth, naturally, is movies.
Those of you who have been keeping up with Valiant may have wondered just what's in store for Bloodshot (the character who has the best, most '90s comics name of all time) in the future. He's currently teaming up with the rest of the universe (including Ninjak) in the pages of The Valiant, but that's only a four-issue miniseries, so what comes next? Well, if the art for the new Bloodshot: Reborn ongoing series is any indication, we know exactly what he's going to be doing for the forseeable future.
When I talked to writers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire about their new Valiant Comics miniseries The Valiant at San Diego Comic-Con this year, they said that the kernel of the story, the real heart of it, was something small and personal.
It's not that I don't believe them -- the new, nine-page preview of the series released by Valiant this week includes one page in which Geomancer has a conversation with an unseen person in a library, and it's fairly quiet -- but the eight other pages are full of historical battles, prehistoric battles, future battles, and mythical battles. There are a lot of battles, with Eternal Warrior in the center of some, and Bloodshot in a few others. Artist Paolo Rivera makes it all seem gigantic.
Following the successful launch of a Valiant Comics roleplaying game on DriveThruRPG.com, the publisher announced this week that it will partner with the RPG site's sister site, DriveThruComics.com, to offer its entire comics library -- the old and the new -- DRM-free, as PDFs. New comics will be available day-and-date.
Not only that, but for the next 30 days, Valiant will offer eight of its number-one issues for free through the DriveThruComics website; Archer and Armstrong, Unity, Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, Quantum and Woody, Shadowman and X-O Manowar.
Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, the co-writers of the upcoming miniseries The Valiant -- a prestige-format miniseries featuring Bloodshot, Geomancer and Eternal Warrior -- have each done superhero work in the past, but they've really made their names with creator-owned work that they wrote and drew. Kindt's Mind MGMT has taken off, and Lemire struck a chord with series including Sweet Tooth and Trillium.
Those credentials are part of why Valiant invited the two creators to work on the new miniseries -- one that's being touted as an entry point for new readers, but also as a turning point for the whole Valiant Universe. They've been given some wiggle room to develop a character-based story and put their creative voices to work. The result is something both writers seem really proud of, not to mention a story that's bound to look good, with artwork by Paolo Rivera.
We sat down with Lemire and Kindt at San Diego Comic-Con International to ask them about their collaboration, how their backgrounds in cartooning inform their superhero work, and how Valiant's universe differs from others.
Never let it be said that Valiant Comics doesn't try new things with its characters.
The publisher's latest experiment is something you don't see a lot of in comics any more: An "entirely self-contained" prestige-format miniseries titled The Valiant. It's certainly a project loaded with talent. It's co-written by Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), and features art by Paolo Rivera (Daredevil).
Two classic Valiant Comics characters, Rai and Doctor Mirage, are set to make a splash in the new Valiant universe later this year, with the publisher introducing a slew of new titles in its Valiant First initiative all the while. There's a new team-up, a major crossover event, and a few spinoffs in the mix.
Valiant is planning to release seven new #1 issues between May and September. Creators include Matt Kindt, Clayton Crain, Robert Venditti, Doug Braithwaite, Jen Van Meter, Kano, Fred Van Lente, James Asmus, Trevor Hairsine, Joe Harris and more. Check out the full list of new titles and some exclusive art after the jump!
As previously announced by Valiant, running in the back of each of their titles in July will be a six page short story titled Who Will Lead the H.A.R.D. Corps. Written by Jim Zub with art by Edwin Huang -- the acclaimed team behind Skullkickers -- and featuring color by Dave McCaig, the short promotes the upcoming Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #14 with an inside look at the interview process other Valiant characters went through with Project Rising Spirit, in the hopes of being hired to lead the Corps. Valiant has provided ComicsAlliance with the complete six page story -- featuring a desperate Quantum, a drunk Armstrong and dejected Master Darque -- which you can check out in full after the cut.
2012 may have seen the rebuilding of the Valiant Universe as the revived comic publisher relaunched books like X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong and Shadowman, but 2013 could be the year it all falls apart with the first crossover of the new era hits: Are you ready for Harbinger Wars?
The new storyline brings together plot threads from the Harbinger and Bloodshot series, as Bloodshot decides to attempt to make up for his previous missions by unleashing the super powered prisoners of Project Rising Spirit into the world - unaware that they'll become involved in the ongoing battle between Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek for the future of the harbinger population of the planet. Executive editor Warren Simons said that the story will "mark a pivotal moment
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