A Strider92 Rant: Valiant>>>>DC and Marvel

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
  • Bloodshot
  • Harbinger
  • Harbinger Wars
  • Shadowman
  • 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:

Infiltrating an enemy base.......level: Boss

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.

Training
Getting shot in the eye makes women less hot? Who knew!?

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!

Bloodshot:

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.

Just a little problem huh?

Harbinger:

I'm sure i've heard my sister scream at me that loud before

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:

Bloodshot Vs Stanchek

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.

Well that got out of hand fast!

Shadowman:

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.

X-O Manowar:

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.

Conclusion:

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!

56 Comments
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Edited by Veshark

I won't go so far as to call them more entertaining than DC/Marvel books, but Valiant is pretty fantastic. They're not exactly groundbreaking or revolutionary, but their books are definitely fun to read. X-O Manowar and Shadowman, in particular. Bloodshot's not bad, though not of the same caliber. Overall consistent quality in both writing and art.

Posted by Xwraith

X-O Manowar is probably my favorite comic right now. And if Ninjak ever gets his own ongoing Valiant will be the only publisher with more than one book I'm reading.

Online
Posted by i_like_swords

I have Shadowman #0 which was very impressive, and I've ordered the #1-5/6 trade. Also planning on picking up Quantum and Woody because it looks like it'll be pretty humorous from the ad I read. I like how the indie companies manage to put together so many quality books, and they don't all have to be massive controversial crossover events. I like the solo books more most of the time. I'll probably start following Valiant more in the future.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@strider92: I agree, I'v also sacrificed all my DC/Marvel books so I can pick up every Valiant book. I started with X-O and Harbinger and they where that amazing I just started putting every book on my pull. The creators at Valiant love these characters and all they wan't to do is write amazing storys with them, there is no advertising ploys, no gimmicks, no cinematic universe synergy crap and the result is amazing quality books that are far better than anything DC and Marvel have.

Posted by laflux

@k4tzm4n - Do have give Strider approval :P

I'm already following Bloodshot and its really good. I'm thinking of putting a respect thread up for him actually.

Archer looks pretty good, as does shadwoman.....

Posted by TDK_1997

Bloodshot is an amazing book and it is above some Marvel and DC books and I can't wait to see Quantum and Woody.

Posted by SmashBrawler

Valiant's amazing, I love everything from them I'm reading.

Posted by Pokergeist

@strider92: Awsome blog. Just had to say this tho. Your not a fan of Supernatural titles, yet you love Darkness..... just saying ;)

Posted by Strider92

@strider92: Awsome blog. Just had to say this tho. Your not a fan of Supernatural titles, yet you love Darkness..... just saying ;)

Oh snap I knew i'd forgotten one! Yes the Darkness is one of the exceptions to this rule!

Edited by Pokergeist

@cadencev2 said:

@strider92: Awsome blog. Just had to say this tho. Your not a fan of Supernatural titles, yet you love Darkness..... just saying ;)

Oh snap I knew i'd forgotten one! Yes the Darkness is one of the exceptions to this rule!

I plan on reading Shadow Man. I do love my Spawn, Ghost Rider, Werewolf By Night, and Stephen King's Marvel Series. Bit of a Super Natural fan.

I also might still pick up Bloodshot, as I love everything I had seen from him. Being a fan of Ultimate Captain America, Ultimates, Space Marines, Terminator, Mass Effect, I am in the Sci Fi Super Soldier thing as well. lol.

Posted by Strider92

@cadencev2: Yeah Bloodshot is pretty awesome. If you do get into his series also check out Harbinger Wars because Bloodshot's been awesome in that so far.

Edited by Killemall

@strider92: Ok lets give this a try. I am not much into street levels and i think you more or less know what kind of comics and characters i am into. Give me a suggestion please, i will totally check it out, i am free the whole day tomorrow :)

Posted by Strider92

@killemall: Ah crap putting me on the spot :p. Errmmm I would try reading either Harbinger #1 or X-O Manowar #1. I would even recommend giving Harbinger a shot until issue 2 (thats when some serious sh*t goes down).

Posted by Killemall

@strider92: Lets starts with Harbinger first, i can find few issues from 2012 and few old ones from 1992. I'll give the 2012 one a try. Do they have a subscription deals? If i like it, totally going to subscribe some , i am currently flushed with cash for few months before i get back to my normal state of being bankrupt :p

Edited by Pokergeist

@strider92: Sigh, I first need to make some more money to keep buying books. As of now I have (1) Metal Gear Solid Graphic Novel Omnibus, (3) Spawn Graphic Novels, (4) Ultimate Hard Backs, (2)Alien vs Predator Omnibuses, and up to 300 dollars of Warhammer 40k Graphic Novels on my to order list.

So maybe next year with Tax Income :/

Posted by Strider92

@killemall: You can read the 1992 run if you like but you don't need to as the 2012 ongoing rebooted the entire series so really its not necessary.

Posted by LimpoyzLoan

Haven't heard of these series' before. But looks good, I'm not sure I would call them more entertaining than Marvel and DC, but I'll give them a look.

Edited by SideburnGuru

I personally prefer Marvel and DC, but I do collect Archer And Armstroong and Bloodshot.

Posted by ccraft

I'm only reading Shadowman and X-O Manowar, those 2 titles are better than most DC titles.

Posted by Chaos Prime

Friend of mine been telling me for awhile to give Shadowman a read & after reading this i might just do that :)

Great Blog BTW

Edited by Killemall

@strider92: I have read some of Harbringer, reached issue 11, its surpringly a lot better than any comics i have in a long , long time. Its really cool.

BTW is the old 1992 version similar to this, the whole Peter super power but cant control his power kind of a kid? I also absolutely love Faith as a character, absolutely adore the concept, i smile everytime she appears on panel :p

Posted by Strider92

@killemall: Sort of. The original Harbinger wasn't quite as dark as the current one.In the 1992 version when his powers manifested Peter went to the Harbinger foundation for help controlling his abilities. 1992 Peter was nowhere near as brutal or volatile as current Peter. The current Harbinger series has basically been modernized. You could check it out if you like but its a very different feel from current Harbinger. If you're enjoying Harbinger check out Harbinger Wars as well when you reach that event. The last issue is out next month and it looks like the conclusion is going to be epic!

P.S yay I have someone I can talk Harbinger with now lol!

Posted by DoomDoomDoom

Awesome blog. I'm only reading Shadowman, which has been awesome by the way, but I'm planning on giving Quantum and Woody a shot.

Posted by Strider92

@doomdoomdoom: Cool :) Shadowman is the one i'm behind on at the moment i'm going to try and catch up with it soon. Glad it stays good throughout.

Posted by gunmetalgrey

@xwraith said:

X-O Manowar is probably my favorite comic right now. And if Ninjak ever gets his own ongoing Valiant will be the only publisher with more than one book I'm reading.

The question is when (exactly), not if.

Posted by Xwraith
Online
Posted by Strider92

@xwraith said:

X-O Manowar is probably my favorite comic right now. And if Ninjak ever gets his own ongoing Valiant will be the only publisher with more than one book I'm reading.

The question is when (exactly), not if.

Mother Of God!!!!!!!

Valiant:

Edited by gunmetalgrey

@strider92: @xwraith: This was actually announced since FCBD. I was surprised so many people missed it.

Edited by Strider92
Edited by TheAcidSkull

Indestructible Hulk ,daredevil and Scarlet spider beat all of these :P

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

/\/\ nope

Edited by God_Spawn

@strider92: I like X-O Man-O-War and I'm reading Harbinger Wars and Harbinger, and while I enjoy the series, it's just something that hasn't really been able to keep me sucked in so I'll probably end up dropping it. Oh, well. Time to completely immerse myself in Bloodshot then.

Moderator
Edited by Strider92

@god_spawn: Guess its a matter of taste. Harbinger has always been my favorite followed closely by Archer and Armstrong. The new Ninjak series may knock them both down a bit though!

Posted by Guardiandevil83

I have always supported the little guy. Darkhorse, Valiant, Malibu and Image, so you ain't gotta worry about pulling me in. Lol

Posted by God_Spawn

@strider92: It probably is just a preference in taste. I just can't stay behind Harbinger. I'll probably drop once Harbinger Wars is complete. What sucks is I really like the concept, I like the characters, I just don't like the execution. It's a great series, but not my cup of tea.

Moderator
Posted by Strider92

@god_spawn: Are you going to try Ninjak when it starts? If I want to i'm going to have to drop something from my pull-list and theres nothing I really want to drop T.T

Edited by laflux

@strider92: After seeing Ninjak get his own ongoing, I not ashamed to say I have the horn........

But the thing is, its already summer 2013 :(

Posted by gunmetalgrey

@laflux: Of the books announced in FCBD to release in "Summer 2013", only Eternal Warrior has been solicited and it's still set for September.

I'm sad about Ninjak probably being late, but happy that they were able to keep their word for at least one book.

Posted by Killemall

Indestructible Hulk ,daredevil and Scarlet spider beat all of these :P

Seriously man try Harbinger, its fantastic. I just started reading it 2 days ago, and its brilliant.

That being said, i still like Scarlet Spiderman.

Hulk has been ok, i love the character but the story currently has been meh! so far. I am more interested with Hulk appearance in Avengers than in his solo series.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@theacidskull said:

Indestructible Hulk ,daredevil and Scarlet spider beat all of these :P

Seriously man try Harbinger, its fantastic. I just started reading it 2 days ago, and its brilliant.

That being said, i still like Scarlet Spiderman.

Hulk has been ok, i love the character but the story currently has been meh! so far. I am more interested with Hulk appearance in Avengers than in his solo series.

harbinger huh? strider told me about it, but i never had the chance :P, i'll give it a shot

Scarlet spider is Amazing, yost knows what he is doing

As for hulk , the first arc was nice, could have been better now that i think about it, but it's cool :), the second arc however, despite the art, was brilliant, ESPECIALLY LOVE the scientific explanation for mjolnir. i generally don't like the current avengers though :/

Edited by i_like_swords

@strider92 @killemall I really want to get into Valiant but I need to drop a title. I have one title I'm willing to drop and perhaps a second if I can be convinced. So yeah out of all the Valiant titles which one or two would you recommend above all others?

Edit: Can you guys also let me know how many issues in some of these series are in? I've become really interested in Bloodshot.

Posted by Killemall

@i_like_swords: I have read only 1 and thats Harbringer and its awesome. Its worth dropping a marvel title over it. It doesnt have many titles thus far though, its only 12 in his own series, an issue 0 and Harbringer Wars (which i havent read yet coz the story will finish next month then will read the whole thing in 1 go).

Posted by i_like_swords
Posted by Dabee

Great post, but how is this a Valiant rant? Aren't rants when you talk about the problems with something and how much they bother you? This was more just you praising the heck out of Valiant. (I still haven't gotten a chance to check any of their titles out yet, and every day I read posts like these and feel more and more like I should.)

Posted by SoA

@strider92: is it really a rant if its the truth? Valiant is great and the only title i havent read from them is quantum and woody

Posted by Strider92

@dabee: @soa: Well I always entitle my blog posts that because in general they are normally me going on about something. This post is an exception lol! This is just a positive rant instead of a negative one!

@i_like_swords: It depends what type of character to you like. Tell me what you're reading in Marvel and DC and i'll try and help out with one thats down the same lines.

Posted by Dabee

@dabee: @soa: Well I always entitle my blog posts that because in general they are normally me going on about something. This post is an exception lol! This is just a positive rant instead of a negative one!

I did mean to ask you a quick question, though. Do any of the titles require you to be reading any others? For an example, can you read XO Manowar without reading Shadowman but still know what's going on? Just a completely random example, I'm not actually judging their quality. I assume they stand alone well, but considering they are all on the twelfth issue or so, and there are relatively few titles, I am somewhat curious if there are crossovers that would require me to read them all to understand it fully.

And also, would it be better to read say, the first 12 of Shadowman, then the first 12 of Archer/Armstrong? Or is it better to read issue 1, then issue 1, 2, then 2, etc. Do they all share linear continuity, basically? Eh, these questions make no sense. I know what I'm trying to ask, but it's just so hard to word! lol...

Posted by Strider92

@dabee: No you don't have to read any of the other titles if you don't want to. Everything that happens to things relevent to the character you are following happens in their solo series for example. The Bloodshot Vs Toyo Harada fight took place both in Harbinger Wars and in Bloodshot just from a different perspective. Valiant print their comics so you don't have to needlessly spend money because the character you like appears in another series.

I would highly recommend reading them from issue 1. Valiant comics are very story based so if you want to really follow whats going on its best to read from issue 1. Bloodshot becomes Bloodshot and H.A.R.D later this year so if you'd prefer not to read all the issues of Bloodshot you could wait for that new arc to start as apparently its a jump on point.

Edited by i_like_swords

@strider92: My favourite titles are Captain America, Deadpool and Hawkeye. Also like Guardians of the Galaxy. I mostly like street level characters but the stories don't have to be completely grounded to reality like Punisher.

Posted by Strider92

@i_like_swords: Hmmm then I would recommend either Bloodshot or if you want something with a bit of humor, Archer and Armstrong.

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