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Review: Divinity III Stalinverse: Aric, Son Of The Revolution #1

div3-aric_001_cover-b_bernardReturned to Earth from the stars with the ultimate nuclear deterrent – the indestructible X-O Manowar armor – the champion of socialism has single-handedly consolidated the state’s military and political superiority at home and abroad. But when a surprise attack from the Deadside shines an untoward light on the modern-day Soviet Union’s darkest secret, will Aric pursue his mission…or justice for the quiet dead of an empire’s oppression?

The first question you’re probably going to want answered is whether this tie-in is going to be essential reading if you’re loving the Divinity III main series thus far, or if it’s merely a pleasant distraction?

The good news is that it’s a bit of both.

We get quite an interesting take on X-O Manowar, complete with some scenes lifted straight from the fourth issue of X-O Manowar, that allows us some insight into Aric of Dacia’s state of mind in the Stalinverse. Although it remains to be seen how much of an impact this comic will have on the remaining three issues in the main series, getting the peek into his mind via the narration boxes we get is still interesting.

If you’re an X-O fan already, you’ll probably really enjoy this comic’s alternate take on one of comicdom’s most underrated characters – I did. Likewise, if you’re loving the overall Stalinverse.  However, it’s unlikely that unless you’re already reading Divinity III or you’re already a fan of X-O Manowar, that you’ll actually find anything here beyond an enjoyable story – which isn’t anything to turn your nose up at.

You’ll notice I purposely avoided talking about the story because I don’t want to give anything away when it comes to the plot that has an incredibly interesting moment midway through that will make several Valiant fans happy.

For X-O fans this is bordering on a must-read comic, for those reading the main series, you’ll want to check this out for the moment mentioned above, and for the rest of you? Well, that’s on you. This is a well written, wonderfully illustrated one-shot comic from one of the most exciting publishers around right now.

Story: Joe Harris Art: Cafu Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Divinity III: Aric, Son of the Revolution #1

DIVINITY III: ARIC, SON OF THE REVOLUTION #1

Written by JOE HARRIS with MATT KINDT
Art by CAFU with JUAN JOSE RYP
Cover A by CLAYTON CRAIN (NOV161926)
Cover B by DIEGO BERNARD (NOV161927)
Cover C by CAFU (NOV161928)
Character Design Variant by TREVOR HAIRSINE (NOV161929)
Variant Cover by KANO (NOV161930)
$3.99 US | 32 pgs. | T+ | ONE-SHOT | On sale JANUARY 18 (FOC – 12/26/16)

Out of DIVINITY III: STALINVERSE, Valiant’s leading legend – the unstoppable X-O MANOWAR – becomes the supreme fighting force of the CCCP in the next essential special ripped from the pages of the winter’s visionary comics events!

From bustling urban centers to the collective farms of the countryside, men, women, and children alike all idolize the same hero of the global Soviet republic: ARIC, SON OF THE REVOLUTION!

Returned to Earth from the stars with the ultimate nuclear deterrent – the indestructible X-O Manowar armor – the champion of socialism has singlehandedly consolidated the state’s military and political superiority at home and abroad. But when a surprise attack from the Deadside shines an untoward light on the modern-day Soviet Union’s darkest secret, will Aric pursue his mission…or justice for the quiet dead of an empire’s oppression?

The Valiant Universe as we now know it continues to reveal itself…as acclaimed writer Joe Harris (Snowfall) and explosive artist CAFU (Ninjak) present a star-shattering tale of sins, secrets, and tragedy for the global hero of the worldwide Communist state!

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Russia’s Reign Endures in Divinity III: Aric, Son of the Revolution #1 – Coming in January!

Then, the event-level blockbuster of the season continues in Divinity III: Aric, Son of the Revolution #1! This January, Russia rules the New Year as the Valiant Universe continues its transformation into a Soviet-ruled super-state…one where the world’s most powerful heroes now serve and protect the Motherland from all threats to the USSR’s global Iron Empire!

On January 18th, X-O Manowar becomes the guardian of the CCCP in Aric, Son of the Revolution #1 – the next essential standalone epic torn straight from the heart of the Stalinverse! Acclaimed writer Joe Harris and powerhouse artist CAFU present a star-shattering tale of sins, secrets, and tragedy for the worldwide hero of the communist state: ARIC, SON OF THE REVOLUTION!

From bustling urban centers to the collective farms of the countryside, men, women, and children alike all idolize the same hero of the global Soviet republic: ARIC, SON OF THE REVOLUTION! Returned to Earth from the stars with the ultimate nuclear deterrent – the indestructible X-O Manowar armor – the champion of socialism has singlehandedly consolidated the state’s military and political superiority at home and abroad. But when a surprise attack from the Deadside shines an untoward light on the modern-day Soviet Union’s darkest secret, will Aric pursue his mission…or uphold justice for the quiet dead of an empire’s oppression?

Featuring covers by Clayton Crain, Ryan Diego Bernard, CAFU, Trevor Hairsine, and Kano.

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X-O Manowar Smashes the Stalinverse in Divinity III: Aric, Son of the Revolution #1

This January, in the wake of the Stalinverse’s stealth takeover of the world we once knew, Valiant’s leading legend is about to become the CCCP’s greatest weapon!

Valiant has released a first look at Divinity III: Aric, Son of the Revolution #1 – the next essential special ripped from the pages of this winter’s visionary comics event! On January 18th, join acclaimed writer Joe Harris and explosive artist CAFU as they present the tragic new origin of the hero we once celebrated as X-O Manowar…and reveal his righteous place in the Stalinverse’s twisted new world order! In 2012, a man from the stars crash-landed into the Soviet-ruled territory of Romania. Wielding an extraterrestrial weapon of immense power, the Visigoth warrior known as Aric soon found himself conscripted by the military forces of the global Communist regime – a force that he now serves without question. With a past as mysterious as his power, Aric, Son of the Revolution now fights to protect the worldwide Soviet Union from threats foreign and domestic…and himself from the dark past that now threatens to undercut his very humanity itself!

From bustling urban centers to the collective farms of the countryside, men, women, and children alike all idolize the same hero of the global Soviet republic: Aric, Son of the Revolution! Returned to Earth from the stars with the ultimate nuclear deterrent – the indestructible X-O Manowar armor – the champion of socialism has singlehandedly consolidated the state’s military and political superiority at home and abroad. But when a surprise attack from the Deadside shines an untoward light on the modern-day Soviet Union’s darkest secret, will Aric pursue his mission…or uphold justice for the quiet dead of an empire’s oppression?

Featuring covers by Clayton Crain, Diego Bernard, CAFU, Trevor Hairsine, and Kano!

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Review: Ninjak #22

ninjak_022_cover-a_segovia++Ninjak is on the hunt for the woman who took everything from him — the sadistic assassin known as Roku! When Roku’s trail leads to a heavily guarded citadel in the Nevada desert, silence is of the essence as Ninjak undertakes a dangerous stealth mission where even the faintest noise could mean execution! But even if Valiant’s top super-spy can reach the woman once known as Angelina Alcott undetected, will he truly be able to face the former love of his life?

Ninjak #22 is an almost entirely silent issue (I say almost because there may be six words at most throughout spoken throughout the entire issue), with the story being told almost exclusively with Cafu’s art. Generally I find silent issues like this to be quite hit and miss, although usually far more miss than hit as a comic without words often struggles with the set up and execution of the story, so I wasn’t really expecting much from a silent issue in a series that hasn’t really met my expectations for the last couple of issues

Much to my surprise and delight, the silent issue I wasn’t looking forward to is probably the one that I’ve enjoyed most over the last five or six months. The irony of a silent comic about a ninja being such an enjoyable read isn’t lost on me.

Matt Kindt doesn’t try to do too much with the story; it’s actually a fairly straightforward action comic on the surface, albeit with a dash of humor at the very beginning, the overall simplicity of the story is its strength. By not trying to over complicate things, Kindt allows Cafu to work his magic and illustrate one tense action sequence after another. This is an ideal comic for fans of ninjas whether you’re reading Ninjak or not; a standalone issue in every sense of the word. Honestly, I feel like any narration or dialogue would take away from the quality of the comic, which is something I never thought I’d ever say, but the handful of words within the comic are so much more powerful and impactful when surrounded by the silent pages of this comic. My faith in Ninjak has been restored after the last couple of missteps –  truly a fantastic issue.

Trust Valiant to put out the one silent issue I actually enjoyed.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Cafu Colours: Ulises Arreola
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Ninjak #22

NINJAK #22

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by CAFU
Cover A by STEPHEN SEGOVIA (OCT161999)
Cover B by DIEGO BERNARD (OCT162000)
Variant Cover by CLAYTON HENRY (OCT162002)
Valiant Cat Cosplay Cover Also Available (OCT162001)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale DECEMBER 7 (FOC – 11/14/16)

Silent might!

Ninjak is on the hunt for the woman who took everything from him — the sadistic assassin known as Roku! When Roku’s trail leads to a heavily guarded citadel in the Nevada desert, silence is of the essence as Ninjak undertakes a dangerous stealth mission where even the faintest noise could mean execution! But even if Valiant’s top super-spy can reach the woman once known as Angelina Alcott undetected, will he truly be able to face the former love of his life?

The Harvey Award-nominated sensation reaches its most innovative chapter yet as New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (4001 A.D.) and visionary artist CAFU (RAI) present a special silent issue with minimal dialogue and groundbreaking visual storytelling!

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Divinty III: Stalinverse #1 – Matt Kindt & Trevor Hairsine Lead the Most Explosive Comics Event of 2017!

This winter, the Valiant Universe you once knew is no more… Only the Stalinverse remains!

Valiant has released a first look inside Divinity III: Stalinverse #1 – the FIRST ISSUE of Valiant’s all-new event-level epic from the seven-time Harvey Award-nominated creative team of writer Matt Kindt, artist Trevor Hairsine, inker Ryan Winn, and colorist David Baron!

On December 21st, the sold-out sci-fi saga that redefined the Valiant Universe begins a reality-shattering comics event that will collide the world’s most formidable heroes with a disturbing new vision… One where a worldwide Soviet empire now rules a world order… The Iron Curtain extends across continents, shattering governments and armies in its wake… And the communist global super-state rules not only with an iron fist, but with powers far beyond the comprehension of mortal men.

Earth has a new god. The world you know is gone. Welcome to the Stalinverse, comrade.

Then: the revolutionary upheaval continues on December 28th as New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire and comics superstar Clayton Crain present a blood-curdling examination of the Stalinverse’s ultimate state-sponsored assassin in Divinity III: Komandar Bloodshot #1 –  the first of four essential specials revealing the super-powered Soviet regime behind the winter’s most incendiary comics event!

He’s put down protests, led the purge of political undesirables, and executed dozens of traitors to the Soviet super-state. His name is KOMANDAR BLOODSHOT…and his existence is a hushed whisper among the terrified populace of the 21st century’s global Soviet Union. But just who is this unrelenting enforcer of state superiority… and what is the shocking truth about his power, his allegiances, and his true identity?

Featuring an iron-clad line of covers from Clayton Crain, Ryan Bodenheim, Greg Smallwood, Trevor Hairsine, and Kano!

Plus: The Staliverse’s subversive spread continues in Divinity III: Aric, Son of the Revolution #1! On January 18th, join acclaimed writer Joe Harris and Valiant-exclusive superstar David Lafuente as they reveal what happens when Valiant’s leading legend – the unstoppable X-O Manowar – becomes the supreme fighting force of the CCCP in the next must-read one-shot!

From bustling urban centers to the collective farms of the countryside, men, women, and children alike all idolize the same hero of the global Soviet republic: ARIC, SON OF THE REVOLUTION! Returned to Earth from the stars with the ultimate nuclear deterrent – the indestructible X-O Manowar armor – the champion of socialism has singlehandedly consolidated the state’s military and political superiority at home and abroad. But when a surprise attack from the Deadside shines an untoward light on the modern-day Soviet Union’s darkest secret, will Aric pursue his mission…or justice for the quiet dead of an empire’s oppression?

Featuring covers by Clayton Crain, Diego Bernard, CAFU, Trevor Hairsine, and Kano! Don’t miss the next riveting moment of the winter’s most mind-shattering comics event when Joe Harris and David Lafuente present an empire-breaking tale of sins, secrets, and tragedy for the global hero of the worldwide communist state!

DIVINITY III: STALINVERSE #1 (of 4)
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TREVOR HAIRSINE
Cover A by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC (OCT161948)
Cover B by TOM MULLER (OCT161949)
Variant Cover by JEFFREY VEREGGE (OCT161952)
Variant Cover by GREG SMALLWOOD (OCT161953)
Variant Cover by ADAM GORHAM (OCT161954)
Valiant Cat Cosplay Variant Also Available (OCT161951)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | VALIANT PRESTIGE | On Sale DECEMBER 21st (FOC – 11/28/16)

DIVINITY III: KOMANDAR BLOODSHOT #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by CLAYTON CRAIN
Cover A by CLAYTON CRAIN (OCT161955)
Cover B by RYAN BODENHEIM (OCT161956)
Cover C GREG SMALLWOOD (OCT161957)
Character Design Variant by TREVOR HAIRSINE (OCT161958)
Variant Cover by KANO (OCT161959)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | ONE-SHOT | On sale DECEMBER 28th (FOC – 12/5/16)

DIVINITY III: ARIC, SON OF THE REVOLUTION #1
Written by JOE HARRIS
Art by DAVID LAFUENTE
Cover A by CLAYTON CRAIN
Cover B by DIEGO BERNARD
Cover C by CAFU
Character Design Variant by TREVOR HAIRSINE
Variant Cover by KANO
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | ONE-SHOT | On sale JANUARY 18th (FOC – 12/26/16)

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Review: Rai #16

RAI_016_COVER-A_MACKAs New Japan’s current protector, Aboto, slips beyond Father’s control, nothing can stop the unhinged warrior from destroying the orbiting nation from the inside out. To defeat this monster of his own making, Father must create his last and greatest Rai! But when Father’s fallen son and newest champion clash in the the streets of their sovereign nation, what dark information will Aboto bring into the light of day… and how will it fuel the flames of rebellion that await in the year 4001 A.D.?

As the 4001 AD summer event comes to a close, the final issue of Rai that’s tying into the event arrives, and honestly my feelings are mixed. 

The last few issues of Rai have focused on the earlier versions of the Guardian of New Japan, and aside from giving us an interesting perspective of New Japan’s past, there seemed to be a couple of plot threads that would be worth following down the road – whether that was in future issues of 4001 A.D. branded comics or in new series set in and around the futuristic time line of the Valiant universe.

What we ended up with, is a story that’ll tie in with the early issues of Rai, and not the event itself. The problem with this is that unless you have at least the barest idea of what happened in the beginning of the series then the events of Rai #16 will be almost meaningless to you beyond what you read in this issue, which means you’re going to be missing out on a pretty significant plot point. I’ll be honest with you; I didn’t start reading Rai until issue 8 or 9, but I remember reading about the premise of the series before it launched in a UK import magazine called Comic Heroes. Were it not for that, I’d have no idea what the significance of this issue’s events actually meant – and even then, I’m sure I’m missing something.

That being said, the comic is tough to give an opinion on, because although I enjoyed it, I felt that I was missing out  on something. Almost as if I was looking at the Mona Lisa through some foggy glasses.

Rai #16 is a solid issue, and for those who have been reading the series from the beginning I suspect it will be one of the best you’ll have read.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Cafu Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 7 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read 

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Rai #16

RAI #16 (“4001 A.D.”)

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by CAFU
Cover A by DAVID MACK (JUN161911)
Cover B by ANDRES GUINALDO (JUN161912)
Character Design Variant by CLAYTON CRAIN (JUN161913)
Interlocking Mega-Cover Variant by RYAN LEE (JUN161914)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 24th (FOC – 8/1/16)

4001 A.D. TIE-IN! Rai locked in fatal combat against…the true protector of New Japan?

As New Japan’s current protector, Aboto, slips beyond Father’s control, nothing can stop the unhinged warrior from destroying the orbiting nation from the inside out. To defeat this monster of his own making, Father must create his last and greatest Rai! But when Father’s fallen son and newest champion clash in the the streets of their sovereign nation, what dark information will Aboto bring into the light of day… and how will it fuel the flames of rebellion that await in the year 4001 A.D.?

The future as we know it takes its final horrifying shape here as 4001 A.D. mastermind Matt Kindt and fan-favorite artist CAFU reveal the final puzzle piece behind Valiant’s summer blockbuster event!

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Review: Rai #15

RAI_015_COVER-A_MACKAs Father erects his floating kingdom of New Japan, nothing will stop him from asserting complete control over the millions who now fall under his gaze! And to ensure total subjugation, he will create the greatest “spirit guardian” New Japan has ever known – the fourth Rai! But as Father unleashes his most powerful warrior yet, has even he gone too far in his bid for absolute power?

Well holy moly, 4001 A.D. is one of the best event stories I have read in years, second only to last year’s offering by Valiant, Book Of Death. Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the event is how the tie-in comics don’t have a direct impact on the story as a whole (at least, not yet), but they shed do shed a little bit of light on the time between our present and the time that the story is taking place, nearly two thousand years in our future.

While the Rai of 4001 A.D. is starring in said summer event miniseries, this series has been telling a tale about an earlier version of Rai, close to a thousand years prior to the “present” of 4001 A.D.. Initially, I expected Rai to be telling a series of one-shot tales about different versions of New Japan’s guardian through the ages after issue #13 was a fairly self contained look at the first Rai, but Rai #15 is a continuation of the previous issue, and it’s quite a strong comic in it’s own right.

Echoing [redacted] and [redacted], this is one of the more interesting stories told through the tie in comics to the main event, and I have to say that right now, I’m probably more interested in how this will play out than I am with the main event – although that’ll likely change when I get my hands on  4001 A.D. #3. Rai #15  can probably be read by itself, but if you can find it then pick up #13 as well, because although it’s only a two issue yarn, reading them both will make the second issue so much better.

It’s tough to explain why I enjoyed this issue so much without spoiling the comic as a whole for you, and because I don’t want to do that I’m going to reduce the two issue arc down to an elevator pitch (and a poor one at that):  can humanity be attained by an android questioning it’s programming?

Rai #15 should appeal to many a sci-fi fan, but especially to those who have been following the character’s appearances since Valiant Entertainment debuted in 2012 regardless of whether they’re reading the summer event. Not only are Valiant delivering on fans expectations and giving us a great summer event, they’ve been slaying the tie-in comics as well.  Rai #15 is no exception to that.

Story: Matt Kindt Artist: Cafu Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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