There is only one world left to conquer…
Entire planets have suffered and died at the cold, close-fisted hands of the alien Imperatrix Virago – and now her gruesome sights are set on our world. As Earth’s chosen protector, the Geomancer named Tama fights for her life, while the Eternal Warrior goes on the ultimate mission through the perilous realm of the Deadside to find the secret to saving her…and the entire planet in the process.
This is an exciting time for Valiant. The long anticipated The Life and Death of Toyo Harada is due to hit shelves any day now, Livewire is beginning to pick up steam, and The Forgotten Queen is looking to be a sleeper hit. But it’s Incursion that has this reviewer most excited; chiefly because it features Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior (though I can’t deny LADOTH isn’t high on my list, either).
Conveniently enough, Incursion is what we’re talking about today, and, spoiler alert, it’s pretty freaking great.
Andy Diggle and Alex Paknadel wasted no time in establishing the threat and setting the tone for the story in the first issue, and they keep the plot rolling here at a steady pace. Picking up almost immediately after the conclusion of the first issue, we follow Gilad as he seeks aid for Tama’s condition. The ensuing scenes show a subtly touchy (and touching) Gilad as he fusses over the young Geomancer, with his advanced years and experience showing through in an interesting, yet almost throwaway line about the sound of dry leaves over flagstones. Which brings me to an aspect of the comic that could easily be over looked; the dialogue between Gilad and Doctor Mirage. It’s incredibly well written, with each character clearly owning their own voice, culminating in an almost terrifying question for the Valiant universe (though the answer, one can argue, can be gleaned from The Valiant).
The reason the dialogue can be over looked so easily is because Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez are working with an almost symbiotic relationship – there are fine details from Braithwaite that Rodriguez highlights that seem almost too subtle to be intentional. The furrow in Gilad’s brow when he’s leaning over Tama, the concern in Doctor Mirage’s eyes… and the gradual scrapes and tears to Gilad’s clothing. Subtle details that add more to the story than you’d expect.
Up until this point, I’ve only been talking about the first nine pages of the comic; there’s a lot of comic here to dissect, a lot of comic to absorb – you certainly get a good bang for your buck here. The rest of the comic remains at a consistently high quality level, although there are moments of pure brilliance sprinkled throughout – whether it is from the art, the dialogue or the plot as a whole, this comic offers something very special.
If you wondered, you don’t need to be a Valiant fan to enjoy this story (of course, it helps). You can read this easily as a standalone story because the creative team are able to easily impart the depth of Gilad and Tama’s relationship and the weight it bears. The stakes in the comic are world-endingly high, but because the central pillar of the story is the relationship between Geomancer and the Eternal Warrior, the one against many nature of the story doesn’t seem out of place or conceited. It feels just right.
Incursion #2 is, once again a great comic. The series is on pace to end up as one of my very favorite Valiant stories – and certainly one of Valiant’s very best.
Story: Andy Diggle and Alex Paknadel
Pencils: Doug Braithwaite
Colours: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Marshal Dillon
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review