There are a lot of ways to end a comic book series, but when the book is built around superheroic action, that's usually the way it goes out. Big explosions, superhero punch-outs, and at least one dramatic death tend to be the elements in the big final issue formula. But when Unity comes to an end in December with #25, following the world-shattering events of Valiant's big Book of Death crossover, that's not how it's going out.
Instead, they're doing an oversized All-Comedy special, featuring Valiant mainstays like Matt Kindt and James Asmus, and bringing in The Daily Show's Elliott Kalan, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert's Daniel Kibblesmith, and the comics writing debut of Steven Universe's Tom Scharpling --- and that's just the tip of Unity's final issue iceberg.
If you're anything like me, then you want - no, you require --- as much Ninjak as humanly possible to be delivered into your waiting eyballs at all times, and if that's the case, I've got some good news for you. Next week, Valiant's #1 ninja --- or, you know, their #11 ninja, if we're going alphabetically --- is taking the center stage in not one, but two new stories.
First, Ninjak #6 continues the awesome ongoing series with a brand new story arc that pits Colin King and his high-tech ninjutsu against La Barbe, a mysterious French adversary who preserves his anonymity with a Scrooge McDuckian pile of money and some Ninjak-hunting laser weapons.
And if that wasn't enough, Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak jumps a hundred years into the future to see what he's up to in the post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the Armor Hunters. Can you handle that much Ninjak?!
Since their first tiles appeared on comic-shop shelves in 2012, the resurrected Valiant Comics has established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Their new take on the characters and mythology of the original 1990s Valiant line, their pursuit of top-shelf creators, their focus on storytelling and world-building, and their gift for unorthodox marketing and promotion has drawn praise from both fans and press, led to a film development deal with Sony, and won scores of industry awards (and award nominations). They've proven themselves to be not just cashing in on past glories, but a company that's capable of pushing their stable of characters in new and exciting directions while remaining true to their roots.
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.
The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.
On the surface, Valiant's Ninjak is an almost silly fantasy character: He's a hyper-capable ninja with the word "ninja" in his name. He's also a British spy. He lives in a castle.
The first issue of the new Ninjak series by writer Matt Kindt and artists Clay Mann and Butch Guice certainly embraces those preteen wish-fulfillment elements, but adds some surprising depth, too, with character flashbacks and quieter moments that dig deep into who this updated version of Colin King really is.
We sat down with Kindt to talk about how he struck a balance between the silly and the serious in the new series, as well as the trippy sci-fi action of Divinity, his new Valiant series with artist Trevor Hairsine, which debuted earlier this month.
DATELINE: MOSCOW! The top men at the KGB have sworn to beat America in the space race, spreading the red tide form behind the Iron Curtain to a colony of Stalinist Stars! Fifty years later, their Soviet Spaceman returns from his journey to the stars with powers far beyond those of mortal men! He is a threat to worldwide democracy! He is Abram Adams! He is... SPACE COMMIE!
Or at least, that's how I would've sold it. It seems Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine opted for a slightly more subtle approach in the latest title from the Valiant Next initiative, Divinity. And sure, it might not have quite the excitement of a title like "The Super-Soviet From Outer-Space!", but it still looks pretty great. Check out a preview!
When the Valiant Universe returned a few years back with some of the most entertaining and engaging superhero comics on the stands, I think we all knew that it was only a matter of time before some world-shaking calamity brought a bunch of the heroes together in a big ol' crossover event. That's exactly what's happening in the form of The Valiant, in which Ninjak and other, less important heroes are gathering to prevent a scary monster from plunging the world into a new dark age.
It's pretty exciting stuff -- five years ago, I don't think any of us would've expected to see a big superhero event comic written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt -- but the biggest draw for me is the art team of Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera. Thanks to his work on books like Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, Paolo Rivera is easily one of the best artists in comics today -- and when he draws Bloodshot kicking the living crap out of a door, it looks amazing. Check it out in an unlettered preview below!
With the exception of perhaps Marvel, Dark Horse Comics may have been the publisher that broke the most news about its upcoming books at New York Comic-Con this year. That includes new stories from Eric Powell and Sergio Aragonés, the latest adventures from the Eisner-winning Itty Bitty team, prestige collections of Kabuki and Pistolwhip, brand new horror tales from some of the masters of the form, and much more.
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.
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