By Strider92 56 Comments
Recently I branched out into reading more comics from Valiant because at the time I was only reading Harbinger and the occasional Bloodshot issue. Having decided to pick up a few of the other series I went out and picked up a couple of TPB's and issues (that weren't too expensive) and ended up reading at the very least 5 issues from everyone of Valiant's ongoings. There are currently 6 on-goings at the moment with an upcoming one sometime over the next few months:
- Archer and Armstrong
- Harbinger Wars
- X-O Manowar
- Quantum and Woody (upcoming)
And you know what? Every single one of these titles and I mean every single one (aside from Quantum & Woody that hasn't started yet) is amazing. Not only are they good but they put most of DC's and Marvel's top titles to shame. I dropped Batman for Harbinger quite a while back and its been so amazing that I haven't regretted it in the slightest (despite feeling a bit sad at missing out on Snyder and Capullo) and i'd have no problem saying that for pure story it seems the superior title. Granted they do only have 6 ongoings at the moment but I put it to you to name 6 on-goings from DC or Marvel that are not just great but incredible. I tried and I couldn't.
What I do like about it is that despite only having 6 titles Valiant have done their best to cater to nearly every reader. There is everything from Tech related characters, to supernatural ones, to assassins, to super-soldiers and powerful telepaths and telekinetics. I have gotten the feeling that despite a very few titles (Scarlet Spider, Batwing to name 2) DC and Marvel have become very lazy allowing their name to sell the comic rather than actual interesting plot-lines. So in attempt to get more people to give them a shot I made this blog to talk about their titles and why you should be reading them!
Archer and Armstrong:
I actually got introduced to this title when I bought some Harbinger issues off of eBay. The seller was nice enough to throw in a free comic and it was the first issue of this ongoing. I don't know whether to love the seller for introducing me to genuinely the most fun i've had reading a comic in a long time or hate him because now I have to spend more money every month.
The two main characters as the title so rightly puts are called Archer and Armstrong:
Archer is an 18 year old brought up to be a killer. If you've played the Hitman games think 47's origin and Archer has had the same sort of deal. Trained since he was very young to be the most deadly killer possible. Archer also possesses the innate ability of "Perception" which allows him to psychically copy any skill perfected by human or immortal. Think Taskmaster if he didn't job all the time.
Armstrong is an immortal who has been around for a loooooong time (don't remember the exact time but he was seen in Ancient Egypt at one point). Due to his long life and almost un-killable nature Armstrong has taken on a humoristic and laid-back kind of attitude. Basically he's like Deadpool but without the craziness and nowhere near as violent.
The story initially follows Archer who is tasked with hunting down and killing Armstrong. It turns out however the people who trained him were actually part of a devil worshiping cult called the Sect so of course they didn't want Armstrong dead because he was bad man as Archer was led to believe but because he was a threat. After discovering this Archer and Armstrong team-up to take the fight to the Sect.
This is the best comic book duo i've read in a while the two characters play off each other brilliantly despite the fact they look and act completely differently. This comic also blends in seriousness and humor seamlessly. Its definitely one of the most amusing titles i've read this year. I wanted to try and compare it to one of Marvels or DC's on-goings so you could get an idea on what it feels like but honestly I can't there isn't really anything like this going in either company at the moment! If you like comics with a bit humor but are also balanced with quite a lot of serious stuff too then pick this up!
After the Harbinger tie-in I thought i'd give Bloodshot a go and i'm glad I did because this series is awesome. If you're a fan of the whole military super-soldier Sci-Fi genre then this series if for you.
Bloodshot is about a super-soldier who's body is filled with nanites. These nanites give Bloodshot the ability to recover from fatal injuries with almost no trouble, superhuman stats, turn invisible as well as many other bonuses. Bloodshot has the opposite to Jason Bourne's problem. Every memory he has was in fact implanted in his head so some of them may be real and some may be falsified or they may all be fake. Upon realizing what has been done to him Bloodshot reacts pretty badly (as would anyone) and attacks his creators. As the series progress's you see the focus shift from Bloodshot into a much bigger scope.
I honestly can't say a whole lot about it without spoiling things from Bloodshot, Harbinger and Harbinger Wars as these are quite entwined at the moment. All I can say is read it! You won't be disappointed!
As the super-solider has become pretty saturated in the comic world I was sure if anyone could continue to keep the idea fresh and interesting then Valiant came along and proved me wrong.
This was the first Valiant title I ever read and as such is probably my favorite. Having been used to seeing Telekinetics and Telepaths in Marvel and DC I was surprised by how differently they were portrayed here. These ones aren't nice. They don't just push people around with their mind. They go around clicking their fingers and blowing peoples heads off (frankly after this series i'd be surprised if the military had any men left). This is definitely the best psionic based series i've read in a while (X-men eat your heart out!).
Harbinger initially follows the story of Peter Stanchek a Harbinger with vast psionic powers that range from TK and TP to psionic screams and deconstruction.
I say initially follows because as the story goes on more and more characters join until its more of a team-based series with Peter as the leader. After going through life with only his best friend for company (the only person who knows about Peter's abilities) he is approached by Toyo Harda another powerful Harbinger who offers to teach him about his powers and who even has an establishment dedicated to keeping Harbingers in control of their abilities. However all is not as it appears and things get very bad very quickly when the true nature of Toyo's intentions are revealed. This is another title I can't go to in-depth with due to its connection to other Valiant titles to to avoid spoilers i'll end here.
This was yet another genre that I thought was stale and overused. However Harbinger has again proved me wrong. The no-holds-barred universe that Valiant has created allows all of Harbinger's characters to cut loose. Something unfortunately Marvel and DC does not have the luxury of (well its mainly their decision.......but still). As I said this is my favorite series from Valiant at the moment the story is brilliant, the art is great and the characters are all amazing too. There is nothing to dislike about this series and if it isn't on your pull-list then do something about it!
Harbinger Wars is the current event going on in Valiant involving Harbinger and Bloodshot. Due to the fact it takes place well into the both Bloodshot and Harbinger I can't say a lot about it spoilers and all. All you really need to know is that everything that has been built up in both Bloodshot and Harbinger comes together in an all out war between Bloodshot, Peter Stanchek and Toyo Harada.
Thus far its been awesomely brutal and brilliantly written. One thing I really like about what Valiant have done with this is that everything that is relevant to your favorite character also happens in their own title. For example a fight that happened in Harbinger Wars was repeated in Bloodshot but from Bloodshot's perspective in his own title.
I remember being really annoyed at Marvel and DC when I really wanted to see what happened next but to do so i'd have to buy a comic completely unrelated to the character I was interested in so just to see what happens next I had to buy another comic that wasn't on my pull-list. Valiant very kindly did away with that BS so you can see everything that happens to the character you're following in their own title as well as Harbinger Wars.
This title is one I actually haven't been following that long. In fact i'm only 5 issues into it but thus far it has shown the same high quality of story and art that is fast becoming the norm for Valiant titles. I said before that Valiant was making an effort to appeal to all audiences and this is the supernatural title.
Shadowman is about a guy called Jack Boniface (I know I laughed at the surname too) who's father was a Shadowman. Having never really known is his parents he hires a PI to get information on them. This ends with the PI discovering that both his parents were supposed to have been criminals. In a fit of rage he throws the talisman his mother gave him into a river however this was actually a protection rune and as soon as it was removed from Jack's ownership all the nasty beasties his father used to hunt and kill can now sense him. Jack soon discovers like his father he is a Shadowman who has super-human strength, speed and agility, can manipulate darkness and who is almost completely un-killable as long as he is in shadows. Not a moment to soon as his fathers enemies come after him.
I'm not really a big fan of supernatural type titles. In fact off-hand the only title involving the supernatural I really liked was Hellblazer. Suffice to say this isn't my preferred area of comicdom having said that this is still a top-notch title. The story is great, the art is great and the characters are also solid. If I was more into this sort of genre i'd probably be really into it. However given that i'm not and I still like this title is a credit to its execution as i'm quite a hard person to please if I dislike something.
This is by far one of the most unusual titles I have ever read and quite honestly when I looked into what it was about I thought "Nah sounds stupid" and wrote it off before even trying it. I eventually gave it a shot after seeing some scans and damn was I wrong. The concept may seem bizarre and even stupid but how its executed makes it brilliant.
X-O Manowar is about a Visigoth (nah this isn't some code name I mean an actual Visigoth) who was abducted by Aliens waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the Roman Era. He and a lot of his people were taken as slaves and during an escape attempt Aric bonds with the Manowar suit a piece of Alien tech revered as a god by the Alien race. He escapes the Aliens and returns to earth which is now in the present day so everything is pretty damn confusing for him. The story continues to progress into to Spies, Alien invasions and Military operations. There is basically a bit of something for everyone. Although the story is about Aric there are many interesting characters in this series the best of who (imo) is Ninjak.
This series is nowhere near as odd as it sounds and how it plays out on paper is very entertaining. I don't think i've ever heard of a concept as different from the norm as this that plays out so normally in the comic. There isn't really anything I can compare it too.
Quantum and Woody (Upcoming):
Don't really know much about this series apart from its about two-half brothers who gain abilities through accidental means. If Valiant follows its current trend then this should also be an above average series. Oh and theres a goat in it too? Dunno how thats going to work but Valiant have made a habit of surprising me.
Every single comic on-going Valiant has released since its relaunch has been awesome. There is not one that I would say is below average and there is definitely not a bad one among them. If Valiant does ever make it big (unlikely but still) then for pure story it looks like it could take out both Marvel and DC quite easily especially considering some of the current runs that are going on (Yes Slott i'm looking at you!). If you don't have at least one of these on your pull-list yet then do it now! I definitely recommend trying one of these out! Because of Valiant i'm only reading 1 DC title (Batwing) and 1 Marvel title (Scarlet Spider) i've dropped everything else for all of Valiant's ongoing and it was damn worth it!