This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: the comics from comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment
I’m not going to lie to you, folks. I haven’t had a lot of time (or desire, truth be told) to read comics over the last couple of weeks, so I was sat in front of my laptop on a Friday night (yup, the height of socialization, me) wondering what the bloody hell I could write about for this week’s Underrated knowing that I had less than twelve hours to get something halfway decent, maybe even entertaining, written for your enjoyment.
Well I got something written, but I’ll leave it to you to tell me if it’s enjoyable.
Inspiration struck when I noticed a certain email containing review copies of a couple of pop up in my inbox and I realized that for the first time in a couple of weeks I was genuinely excited. The comics in question, rather obviously, came from Valiant. And that got me thinking about the series that Valiant have been publishing over the past year, and which you should be reading.
- X-O Manowar (2017) After the first series concluded after 50 issues, Valiant relaunched X-O Manorwar with a new creative team who took the character into the far reaches of space. Aric of Dacia is a time displaced Visigoth prince in command of arguably the most powerful weapon in the universe – the X-O Manowar armour. On the planet Gorin, Aric has found a peaceful existence that is disturbed when he’s conscripted into a war not his own. A war he wants to fight without the armour.
The retired gunslinger style story is set against fantastic operatic visuals that leave you in no doubt as to the setting, and odds, of the war depicted in a series that has been getting better with each issue. You don’t need to have read the previous 50 issues (I didn’t) to enjoy this story. Look for the collected editions at your LCS (X-O Manowar: Soldier is the first, and would make an excellent gift for your comic loving, uh, loved ones this season).
- Bloodshot Salvation Bloodshot: a man who was subjected to untold tests from a shadowy organisation, whose blood is full of tiny little machines (called nanites) that give him various different powers (the one you’ll see most often is rapid healing), and was frequently brainwashed after each mission. Now, finally, he’s free, and he has a family. This series picks up after the at-times-phenomenal Bloodshot Reborn (which, again, isn’t required reading) and finds the former killing machine trying to protect his new family, as well as a tale set eight years into the future. The two stories have yet to intertwine, but they’re bound to at some point. Only four issues in, this series is far more grounded than X-O, and yet just as exciting to look at.
- Ninja-K The second issue is due to hit the shelves this week, which is perfect timing for those of you who want to dive into this stylish spy thriller that meshes Batman with James Bond. Once again, no prior knowledge is required when picking up the first issue. Personally, this is the reason I got all giddy over the week’s comics.
- Divinity/Eternity Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine have created a really interesting character in Abram Adams, the Russian Cosmonaut with the powers of a god. The Divinity trilogy has been released sporadically over the years, and is worth reading in its entirety (which is why I’m breaking my own rule), which will get you prepared for the latest sequel Eternity which is laced with a Kirby-esque space background of incredibly vivid colour.