Valiant Hero Of The Week: Shadowman, Savage, Punk Mambo, and Geomancer (Tama)
Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on their Twitter feed to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the Hero Of The Week from four choices – this week, the poll features Shadowman, Savage, Punk Mambo and Tama. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways and more.
At Graphic Policy, we’re going to be running a spotlight on the winning character all week through various features depending on the character, but at the very least you’ll see our favorite covers and stories.
But Valiant has a lot of great characters, and it’d be a shame to not let you know which stories to read to get to know some of them a little more in case they don’t end up winning the fan vote. This week’s characters are a prime example of this, and the exact reason that we wanted to shine a little light on all four ahead of the week.
Below you’ll find a brief snapshot of the character and a trade paperback to check out, including the blurb from Valiant’s website. For fun, I’ll also note who I think is most likely to win (bear in mind this is being written on Sunday).
Who is he? Jack Boniface is a man possessed by the Shadowman loa, a legacy that was passed to him from his father. As the Shadowman, Jack and the loa must defend New Orleans from supernatural threats. Shadowman was one of the second round of characters in the original Valiant universe, after Solar, Magnus and Turok, and he made an early appearance in the modern era, too, debuting again late in 2012. I’ve actually read more of the original run of Shadowman than I have the modern comics, and as such a lot of what I know about the character doesn’t really apply here, but across both iterations, Shadowman remains one of the more interesting comic book characters with his ties to voodoo and the afterlife.
What should you read? Shadowman: Birth Rites
There are a million dreams in the Big Easy. But now its worst nightmare is about to come true.
As the forces of darkness prepare to claim New Orleans as their own, Jack Boniface must embrace the legacy he was born to uphold. As Shadowman, Jack is about to become the only thing that stands between his city and an army of unspeakable monstrosities from beyond the night. But is the mantle of Shadowman a blessing or a curse? And what is the true cost of his otherworldly power?
I don’t remember whether this was the first story I read with Shadowman in it or not, but it is the one that helped me understand the most about the character’s origins in the modern Valiant era, and so it’s fitting that this is the place you should start reading, as well.
Who is he? The fifteen year old son of a young couple marooned on an island with Dinosaurs, he was born on the island. His parents eventually succumb to the island’s inhabitants (this isn’t a spoiler – that story is told in flashbacks that weave in with the main story where it’s established early that Savage is alone). Think a modern reinterpretation of Tarzan and the Swiss Family Robinson, but with Velociraptors.
What should you read? Savage.
Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife –pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by prehistoric creatures from another time…
This is the story of how they lost their humanity.
It’s the only thing you can read, currently, so by default it’s your only choice. The art is utterly phenomenal, and the story is compelling.
Who is she? A sarcastic biting magician in the vein of John Constantine, Punk Mambo has very few figs to give about anybody. Her complete disregard for authority is fitting given the character’s name, and as such she works incredibly well against characters with a more straightforward motivation seen in books like Rapture or her self titled miniseries.
What should you read? Ninjak: Operation Deadside
Of all the characters in today’s poll, Punk Mambo is the one who hasn’t had that many appearances I’ve actually read. She first appeared in Shadowman #13, which is a series I haven’t even come close to finishing yet (I’ve got the first eight issues, so haven’t seen her introduction). My introduction to the character came in the story I’m going to recommend to you; Ninjak: Operation Deadside. Watching Punk Mambo and Ninjak interact with each other is one of the absolute highlights of the story as she ends up being the foil to everything Ninjak says and does. It was this story that got me hooked on the character, so I’m hoping you’ll have the same result.
Who is she? The Earth’s voice, Tama is the latest in a long line of Geomancers; powerful mystics who can communicate with the Earth itself. The Geomancers have been guarded and trained by the Eternal Warrior for thousands of years as they navigate a world that they often weren’t expecting to be thrust into.
What should you read?
Book Of Death
The Valiant heroes. X-O Manowar. Bloodshot. Ninjak. The Harbinger Renegades. Unity. This is how they lived. This is how they died.
Now we know. The Book of the Geomancer has recorded it all. But only a young girl – the last in a line of the enigmatic mystics who protect the Earth known as
Geomancers – has seen this future come to pass, from the coming cataclysm to the dawn of the 41st century. Alone with her sworn protector, the Eternal Warrior – a soldier battle-forged across five thousand years of combat – the duo must defy their allies to stop the Dark Age that now threatens to eclipse our world.
Together, they are the number one target of every hero and villain on Earth. Either the Eternal Warrior hands her over…or they take him down. But can even he single-handedly protect one child when the entire Valiant Universe wages war against him?
This was my introduction to Gilad Anni Padda and the Geomancer Tama. It was also what sold me on the Valiant universe as a whole. Book Of Death is technically a sequel to The Valiant, a book that I’ve recommended already in these weekly columns, and will again if Tama wins the week. But you don’t need to read that story to enjoy this. You get an immediate sense of what an absolute monster the Eternal Warrior is very early in the series as he faces down Valiant’s premiere super team, Unity, entirely alone. But you also see how the relationship between Gilad and Tama evolves over the course of the story; we haven’t seen a lot of books featuring these two characters together, but what we have seen always ranks highly for me because of their relationship – and that begins here.
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