Valiant Hero Of The Week: Eternal Warrior, Archer & Armstrong, Livewire, and Doctor Mirage.
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 Eternal Warrior, Archer & Armstrong, Livewire, and Doctor Mirage. 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 or two to check out. 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? The immortal guardian of the Earth and it’s Geomancer. Gilad Anni-Padda has lived for thousands upon thousands of years, and has become a master combatant and strategist. He is also, unquestionably, my favourite character in the Valiant universe and easily within my top five comic book characters – needless to say, I’m hoping that he wins the week so I can spend the week writing about the Earth’s Fist and Steel.
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, and 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 Eternal Warrior 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. That Book Of Death leads directly into Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior, easily one of my favourite Valiant stories (are you sensing a theme with this?) and there’s no question in my mind that this is the place to start if you want to read about the Eternal Warrior
Archer & Armstrong
Who are they? Yes, they. Archer is a young man trained from birth by a secret religious sect in every possible form of combat to take down the devil incarnate. Armstrong is, according to the religious sect who trained Archer, the devil incarnate because of his hedonistic lifestyle that has carried on for millennia. Yes, Armstrong is immortal. Yes, he’s partied his way through history. But is he really the devil incarnate? Depends who you ask, I guess.
What should you read?
The Michelangelo Code
It’s history in the breaking!
After years of meditation and training, 18-year-old Obadiah Archer has been dispatched to New York City to carry out the sacred mission of his family’s sect – locate and kill the fun-loving, hard-drinking immortal known as Armstrong! But as this naive teenage assassin stalks his prey, he’ll soon find that both hunter and hunted are just pawns in a centuries-old conspiracy that stretches from the catacombs beneath Wall Street to the heights of the Himalayas. And Archer & Armstrong will have to work together if the future is to stand any chance of surviving the past’s greatest threat!
It has been a long time since I read the 2012 volume of this series, but even still it still sticks with me. For that reason, Archer And Armstrong: The Michelangelo Code is the story that you should be reading. Not only is it a great story, it’s also only $10 or so (recommended retail price), and is one of the best places to get to know the characters.
Who is she? A psiot who can talk to technology, Livewire has always been a complicated person. Right now her position in the Valiant Universe is tenuous at best after the events of Harbinger Wars II, where the world at large views her as a domestic terrorist. A former pupil of Toyo Harada, Livewire is one of the more powerful characters in the Valiant Universe because of the access to data that her powers provide. The character has been involved in some pretty interesting stories over the years – some far better than others, but the below is one of the very best you’ll see her in.
What should you read?
The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive disappointments. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rex-O seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…
This isn’t strictly a Livewire story, but it does focus on a group of outcasts with utterly useless powers that Livewire gathers together for their protection because they’re being hunted by a psiot killer. This one of the best stories to come from Valiant, and is worth checking out whenever you get a chance.
Who is she? Shan Fong. A woman who can communicate with the dead, including her late husband Hwen (who is the Doctor Mirage from the original Valiant run that began in the 90’s). She is also a former reality television star and a woman versed in magic. If there’s a supernatural threat, then Doctor Mirage is going to be the first person that the general public turn to.
What should you read?
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage
Doctor Mirage talks to the dead…but the only spirit Shan Fong can’t ﬁnd is that of her late husband, Hwen. Instead, America’s favorite semi-retired paranormal investigator is haunted and raw, using her gift to solve homicides and bring peace to the recently bereaved. But when a big-time occultist with a classiﬁed military past hires her for a special job, Shan discovers a lead that might close the greatest mystery she’s ever tackled – how to get Hwen back. Now, Doctor Mirage must enter the undiscovered country and cross all the realms of the underworld, if she has any hope of rescuing the man she loves…or be forever lost beyond the earthly plane.
I copied the above directly from Valiant’s website because I couldn’t remember much about the book other than I really enjoyed the story, which is great because this also happens to be a great place to pick up the character’s story.
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