UNITY is ready to amp up the level of action and adventure in the Valiant Universe. With a company wide event, it could be easy to want to shy away out of fear of not knowing what's going on. With this very first issue, you find out everything you need to know within the recap on the very first page.
We see the focus begin with Aric, the bearer of the X-O Manowar armor. A fifth-century warrior, he and his people were taken by an alien race and tortured. This lead to his coming upon the armor. When he managed to escape and return to Earth, 1600 years had gone by. He has found the descendants of his people and is now determined to reclaim his homeland by any means necessary. It just happens that his "kingdom" happens to currently be occupied by the people of Romania. Thus, a major conflict has ensued.
With the area transformed into a war zone, others have turned to Toyo Harada and his Harbinger program to ready themselves to confront and stop Aric. We also see Ninjak and others thrown into the mix. What we get is a massive beginning that sets the stage for more incredible action to come.
Matt Kindt sets everything up perfectly. We get an immediate sense of the situation and even if you're unfamiliar with the characters, you'll be able to figure out who everyone is without a lengthy and obtrusive introduction being forced upon the page. We rarely see conflicts such as this in the pages of "superhero" comics and it's great to see a character like X-O Manowar take such a drastic stand.
Doug Braithwaite's art is breathtaking. There is a nice variety to the scenes and locations and each is filled with detail and the feeling of what is going on. You can feel the panic as characters find themselves in a war zone or the tension as others need to prepare for a deadly confrontation. The art captures the mood of each character and it doesn't just look like just another comic book story. Without going over the top, you get a good sense of the importance of everything going on. Brian Reber's colors really make everything shine as well.
No complaints here. The only unfortunate thing would be for those readers that have missed out on the Valiant books prior to this issue. It's unfortunate not because readers will be lost but more so that they've missed the build up with the characters up until this point.
You can't walk into a comic shop without seeing issues containing crossovers. They're all around but Valiant gives it a different approach. This is a story that anyone can easily jump right into. The stakes are high and it's made perfectly clear within the first few pages. Matt Kindt builds up the action and suspense as the story progresses and Doug Braithwaite's art is top notch. Many comic book crossovers have an almost flamboyant feel. UNITY is a more than just an event - it has the makings of a great story. There's no flashy gimmicks necessary. With a focus on that story and the characters, you know we'll be treated right with what is delivered. Do yourself a favor and pick up this issue to find out what you've been missing.