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Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 TPB

HARBINGER WARS 2 TPB

Written by MATT KINDT and ERIC HEISSERER
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO, RENATO GUEDES, RAÚL ALLÉN, PATRICIA MARTÍN, and ADAM POLLINA
Cover by JG JONES

A seismic universe-spanning event! Nothing will ever be the same…

From New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR. DIVINITY, Mind MGMT) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR), the most powerful Valiant event ever attempted erupts in full force as X-O Manowar, Livewire, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, the Secret Weapons, Ninjak, and a cast of thousands draw their battle lines in HARBINGER WARS 2!

For the rare and immensely powerful subset of humanity known as psiots, their unique abilities have come with an enormous cost. Once, their existence was known only to a select few. Now, the revelation that thousands of these latent telekinetic “harbingers” secretly live among us – with the potential to be activated at any moment – has led the American government to a dramatic tipping point…

Armed with new extra-governmental authority, the deep-black military contractor known as Omen has been authorized to identify, evaluate, and, if need be, eliminate all super-normal threats to the homeland. H.A.R.D. Corps units have been deployed into cities and towns across the United States to enforce their orders.

In the East, one of the most powerful minds on Earth, Peter Stanchek, is leading his band of Renegades across the country, activating any potential psiots willing to join them, and building an insurrection force of ultra-powerful and unwieldy new abilities that will soon bring war to Omen’s doorstep…and the unstoppable force known as X-O Manowar raging back to Earth…

In the West, Livewire – the telekinetic technopath with the ability to bend machines and computers to her will – will be forced to choose between her former allies…or her newfound team of Secret Weapons. As the situation escalates beyond human control, the United States will be plunged into darkness from coast to coast, launching Bloodshot and Ninjak into a dangerous mission to neutralize their one-time teammate – and setting the stage for the most shocking, most violent, and most consequential clash of powers ever witnessed in the history of the Valiant Universe!

Collecting HARBINGER WARS 2: PRELUDE #1, HARBINGER WARS 2 #1-4, and HARBINGER WARS 2: AFTERMATH #1.

$19.99 | 160 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 28th

Review: Valiant Free Comic Book Day Shadowman Special

VALIANT_FCBD_2018_COVER_DELATORRESuperstar writer Andy Diggle and high-octane artist Stephen Segovia present an all-new introduction to Shadowman as Jack Boniface reemerges from the Deadside to reclaim his birthright… and forges a new legend of magic, might, and malice for the long-awaited return of Valiant’s most-demanded hero! Then, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and legendary artist Ariel Olivetti return Aric of Dacia to Earth in X-O Manowar – just in time for the seismic comics event of 2018! Finally, Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer and artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín plunge the whole of the Valiant Universe into an epic power struggle in the prelude to Harbinger Wars 2!

If you pick up Valiant‘s 2018 Free Comic Book Day release on May 5th, you’ll be treated to snippets from three different Valiant series. Snippets from comics already published, but none of which have more than two issues out in the arc you would be starting with if you were to look further into the respective series after picking this taster up, and aside from the first issue of Shadowman all the comics this Free Comic Book Day Special encourages you to pick up have been released within the last couple of weeks.

Regardless, on to the stories.

The first taster you will get comes in the form of Shadowman. With seven pages from the first issue you get juuuuust enough to encourage you to go hunting for the first and second issues in the newly relaunched series, but not quite enough of the story that will make you feel like paying for the first issue is a waste of money. Andy Diggle (writer), Stephen Segovia (art) and Ulises Arreola (colours) have already delivered two issues of a high quality, and the seven pages you’ll see here are indicative of that. You can find reviews of the first issue here and the second here. For those interested, the first half of Black Sabbath’s first album makes an excellent audio companion (I say first half because I was listening to it on vinyl).

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Up next is an excerpt from X-O Manowar #14, which was reviewed here. This arc finds Aric of Dacia returning to Earth after a lengthy absence (possibly around two years) only to discover that things have moved on without him. But you don’t get that in this six page preview, you only get to see part of his journey from deep space back to Earth. Matt Kindt‘s  script is given a stunning visual treatment by Ariel Olivetti, and although there were some questionable backgrounds in the rest of the comic, what you get here is an utterly fantastic piece of art. Audio companion: the second half of Black Sabbath’s first album.

Finally there are the first six pages of Harbinger Wars II: Prelude #1, a comic that was released May 2nd (yes, this week), which you can find a full review of here. Valiant’s big summer event will kick off next month, and this preview will give you a perfect taste of what Eric HeissererRaul Allen and Patricia Martin have in store for you in the rest of the prelude comic. Audio companion: silence, because the record player doesn’t repeat the album. It was oddly fitting, however.

For those hoping for a new short story starring Shadowman in the same vein as last year’s X-O Manowar FCBD Special you will be disappointed as the comic is essentially just an extended print based preview of three of Valiant’s current series. Which, ironically enough, is perfect for Free Comic Book Day and those who may not already be reading all three of these series like myself. If you see this in your comic shop on Saturday, and you’re at all curious about Valiant, then this is a must… uh… pick up.

Preview: Valiant FCBD 2018 Shadowman Special – On Sale May 5th!

VALIANT FCBD 2018 SHADOWMAN SPECIAL

Written by ANDY DIGGLE, MATT KINDT, AND ERIC HEISSERER
Art by STEPHEN SEGOVIA, ARIEL OLIVETTI, MJ KIM, and RAÚL ALLÉN with PATRICIA MARTIN
Cover by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE (JAN180046)
FREE! | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale MAY 5th (FOC – 2/5/18)

Superstar writer Andy Diggle and high-octane artist Stephen Segovia present an all-new introduction to SHADOWMAN as Jack Boniface reemerges from the Deadside to reclaim his birthright… and forges a new legend of magic, might, and malice for the long-awaited return of Valiant’s most-demanded hero! Then, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and legendary artist Ariel Olivetti return Aric of Dacia to Earth in X-O MANOWAR – just in time for the seismic comics event of 2018! Finally, Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer and artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín plunge the whole of the Valiant Universe into an epic power struggle in the prelude to HARBINGER WARS 2!

Review: Harbinger Wars II: Prelude #1

HW2_PRELUDE_001_COVER-A_ALLENThe Harbinger Renegades have been scattered across America… battered by the brutal MASSACRE that decimated their ranks.

Now, Livewire – leader of the Harbinger Foundation’s most unusual group of SECRET WEAPONS – is about to incite the coast-to-coast clash that brings them all together in an inescapable collision of power.

Pushed to the brink by the government she once served, Toyo Harada’s former star pupil is about to make an irreversible decision… and deactivate America’s power supply in a last-ditch bid to save the extraordinary individuals called “psiots” from extinction. As a nation goes dark, the paths of our world’s most powerful heroes will soon converge…and the stage will be set for the most cataclysmic confrontation in the history of the Valiant Universe!

Although there are comics to read before this that will foster your enjoyment of what Valiant are promising will be a crazy event, the first Harbinger Wars isn’t one of them. Think of the name more like the name of the war rather than the name of the story; a person doesn’t need to be intimately familiar with the first to follow the second (think about the NHL videogames – you don’t need to play NHL 17 to enjoy NHL 18). That being said, there are comics to read that will help with your understanding;

  • Harbinger Renegade #5
  • Secret Weapons #1-4

Although there are a few more comics that will enhance your enjoyment, those five are the driving force behind this issue, and as such are the ones you’ll  want to read.

Harbinger Wars II: Prelude #1 was produced by the same creative team behind the Secret Weapons  miniseries, so expectations for writer Eric Heisserer and artists Raul Allen and Patricia Martin are high based upon their prior work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they combine once again to produce a fantastic comic that can be considered a sequel of sorts or a bridge from that series into the event itself.

With this comic leading into Harbinger Wars II proper, it sets the stage perfectly, reminding you of the tensions in the Valiant Universe that you wouldn’t be aware of if you’re reading the publisher’s other series (Ninja-K, Bloodshot Salvation, X-O Manowar, Shadowman and Quantum & Woody don’t touch as much on psiot activity). Heisserer masterfully builds the tension and anticipation leading into the first issue proper, giving us glimpses of Livewire’s power and the skill with which the Secret Weapons are able to use their formerly useless powers.

As a prelude comic, I honestly can’t fault this in any way, and that surprises me. The writing and art are very on point. If this isn’t enough to get you excited for Harbinger Wars, I don’t know what is.

Story: Eric Heisserer Art: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2: Prelude #1

HARBINGER WARS 2: PRELUDE #1

Written by ERIC HEISSERER
Art by RAÚL ALLÉN with PATRICIA MARTÍN
Cover A by RAÚL ALLÉN (MAR181990)
Cover B by MICHAEL CHO (MAR181991)
Variant Cover by CARY NORD (MAR181992)
HW2 Icon Variant by FELIPE MASSAFERA (MAR181993)
Pre-Order Edition by KHARI EVANS (MAR181989)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale MAY 2nd

Before HARBINGER WARS 2 begins, JUMP ON BOARD HERE with A STANDALONE INTRODUCTION TO THE VALIANT UNIVERSE’s most powerful forces from the master storytellers behind SECRET WEAPONS: Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer (Arrival) and Harvey Award-nominated artists Raúl Allén (SECRET WEAPONS) and Patricia Martín (BLOODSHOT REBORN)!

The Harbinger Renegades have been scattered across America… battered by the brutal MASSACRE that decimated their ranks.

Now, Livewire – leader of the Harbinger Foundation’s most unusual group of SECRET WEAPONS – is about to incite the coast-to-coast clash that brings them all together in an inescapable collision of power.

Pushed to the brink by the government she once served, Toyo Harada’s former star pupil is about to make an irreversible decision… and deactivate America’s power supply in a last-ditch bid to save the extraordinary individuals called “psiots” from extinction. As a nation goes dark, the paths of our world’s most powerful heroes will soon converge…and the stage will be set for the most cataclysmic confrontation in the history of the Valiant Universe!

Witness the ground-zero moment for the future of the Valiant Universe with a startling, self-contained prelude to HARBINGER WARS 2 – and the perfect introduction to all of Valiant’s biggest icons from one of the most acclaimed creative teams in comics today!

Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0 Returns for a Second Printing in May

Valiant has announced that Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0 – another essential special issue from the world of 2017’s best-selling independent limited series by Academy Award nominee Eric Heisserer and Harvey Award-nominated artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín – has sold out at the distributor level and will return to store shelves everywhere with the Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0 Second Printing!

On May 2nd, the complete Secret Weapons creative team reunites for an all-new, standalone tale spotlighting a day in the all-too-complicated life of Owen Cho, one of Livewire’s new recruits and quite possibly the Secret Weapons’ most unique talent of all!

Owen Cho is a conjurer, which can be a great deal more frustrating than it sounds. You see, Owen’s “psiot” ability – unlocked at great expense and even greater danger by Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation – allows him to materialize objects out of thin air, but he can’t control what to summon or when it might arrive. Worse yet, his gift has landed him in a heap of trouble over the years… Namely, it got him locked away in The Willows – an off-the-grid facility for abstruse superhumans like himself – before Livewire and her team of like-minded “secret weapons” gave him a path with purpose…But what do you do with a heap of undesirable objects summoned from parts unknown, anyway? Have a garage sale, of course!

Review: Secret Weapons #0: Owen’s Story

SWOWEN_ZERO_COVER-A_ALLEN“Owen Cho is a conjurer…which can be a great deal more frustrating than it sounds. You see, Owen’s “psiot” ability – unlocked at great expense and even greater danger – allows him to materialize objects out of thin air…but he can’t control what to summon or when it might arrive. But what do you do with a heap of undesirable objects conjured from parts unknown, anyway? Have a garage sale, of course!”

Valiant’s Secret Weapons is a critically acclaimed four issue series that was one of the most exciting things to happen in comics last year, and it has subsequently spawned two zero issues focusing on two of the characters from the minis series. Understandably the expectation of quality lays heavily upon these prequel issues, and although the first didn’t quite meet the those expectations, Owen’s Story can still live up to its prestigious sequel series, right? It doesn’t. Not really. And unfortunately comparisons are inevitable.

Although the creative team reunites again for this issue, Secret Weapons #0: Owen’s Story lacks the magic of the main series, and unless you’ve read Nikki’s Story this won’t flow as well as it could. It’s a shame, because Raul Allen and Patricia Martin once again provide a visually stimulating comic that is deceptive in its seeming simplicity. If there is one reason to buy this comic it is the visuals. Eric Heisserer‘s script isn’t bad, but it feels a little light in comparison to the other comics under the Secret Weapons comics. Dare I say that the comic feels like an unessential addition to the series? If nothing else it shouldn’t be your introductory issue into the Secret Wars story, but it will scratch the itch you have for more from the creative team and these characters.

Story: Eric Heisserer Art: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin 
Story: 6.4 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read if you’ve read Secret Weapons

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0

SECRET WEAPONS: OWEN’S STORY #0

Written by ERIC HEISSERER
Art by RAÚL ALLÉN with PATRICIA MARTÍN
Cover A by RAÚL ALLÉN (JAN182016)
Cover B by SIBYLLINE MEYNET (JAN182017)
Variant Cover by SIJA HONG (JAN182018)
Variant Cover by LEIF JONES (JAN182019)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | VALIANT PRESTIGE | T+ | On Sale MARCH 14th

The complete SECRET WEAPONS creative team – Academy Award nominee Eric Heisserer (Arrival) and Harvey Award-nominated artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín (HARBINGER WARS 2) – reunites for an all-new, standalone tale spotlighting the Harbinger Foundation’s most unique talent of all!

Owen Cho is a conjurer…which can be a great deal more frustrating than it sounds. You see, Owen’s “psiot” ability – unlocked at great expense and even greater danger – allows him to materialize objects out of thin air…but he can’t control what to summon or when it might arrive. But what do you do with a heap of undesirable objects conjured from parts unknown, anyway? Have a garage sale, of course!

Before the Secret Weapons take center stage in HARBINGER WARS 2 this summer, witness one of the year’s most unlikely and unorthodox origin stories as Heisserer, Allén, and Martín come together once again to recount a life lived one item at a time in “Owen’s Story”!

Eric Heisserer, Raúl Allén & Patricia Martín Host a Stunning Superhero Origin in Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0 This March!

Valiant has released a first look inside Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0 – the next MUST-READ STANDALONE SPECIAL examining the origins and private lives of Livewire’s misunderstood squadron of superhuman talents! On March 14th, in the wake of January’s acclaimed Secret Weapons #0, the complete creative team behind Secret Weapons’ sold-out run – including Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer and Harvey Award-nominated artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín – returns to chronicle a day in the all-too complicated life of Secret Weapons recruit Owen Cho…in a groundbreaking storytelling style that pushes the boundaries of the comics medium!

Owen Cho is a conjurer, which can be a great deal more frustrating than it sounds. You see, Owen’s “psiot” ability – unlocked at great expense and even greater danger by Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation – allows him to materialize objects out of thin air, but he can’t control what to summon or when it might arrive. Worse yet, his gift has landed him in a heap of trouble over the years… Namely, it got him locked away in The Willows – an off-the-grid facility for abstruse superhumans like himself – before Livewire and her team of like-minded “secret weapons” gave him a path with purpose…

But what do you do with a heap of undesirable objects summoned from parts unknown, anyway? Have a garage sale, of course! From the minds of SECRET WEAPONS’ all-star creative team, discover the significance behind the otherwise ordinary trinkets, toys, and gadgets conjured by Owen’s otherworldly ability across a series of lavishly illustrated double-page spreads and short stories specific to each object that weave together to form one cohesive narrative…and one of the year’s most innovative single issues.

Featuring covers by Raúl Allén, rising star Sibylline MeynetSija Hong, and Leif Jones!

Review: Secret Weapons #0 Nikki’s Story

SW_ZERO_COVER-B_FISH

“Meet high school senior Nikki Finch… She’s a gifted athlete with an unusual set of medical ailments and high-aptitude test scores that have drawn the attention of an obscure and little-known NGO calling itself the Harbinger Foundation. With seemingly limitless resources at its disposal, the Harbinger Foundation has just offered Nikki a place in their newest class of recruits for a prestigious, but secretive, mission: to unlock her hidden potential via the invasive, dangerous and often deadly process known as “psiot activation”…

If they succeed, Nikki could become an extraordinary example of Toyo Harada’s vision for the future of post-human biological superiority. If they fail, she’ll likely die on the operating table…or be locked away for future study in the mysterious research facility known as The Willows…”

Valiant‘s critically acclaimed Secret Weapons was my favorite series, ongoing or mini, of 2017. So it’s with some excitement that I opened the review pdf that arrived in my inbox a few days ago (I wanted to drop everything and read it immediately, but alas I had things that I needed to do). Nikki’s Story originated from, I believe (and am unable to verify because I heard the information on a podcast and can’t remember the exact episode) character backgrounds that Eric Heisserer had created for the characters prior to the first four issues, and after one thing led to another, ended up as zero issues.

SW_ZERO_003

Even though this serves as a prequel to the main series, Nikki’s Story is best read after you’ve read the main story, because even though it details the events leading up to Secret Weapons #1, it would only  create more questions than it would answer if a reader were to start here. That being said, I’m going to assume you’ve read the best comic of 2017 if you’re reading beyond here as there may be minor spoilers.

Once again, Eric Heisserer is back behind the typewriter for this issue, but he’s joined by artist Adam Pollina and colourist David Baron provide a different visual style than Raul Allen and Patricia Martin, but the comic still feels as though it’s very Secret Weapons-ish thanks to the colour palette and the interesting art style that Pollina employs with four panels a page set up to resemble a photograph with Nikki taking center stage in almost every panel – there’s one or two where she’s not quite the main focus of the panel, but the majority have her front and center. It’s an interesting effect, and one that enables some strong visual storytelling for the majority of the issue right up until the final page or two where the comic reads more as a preview of Secret Weapons #1 than as a conclusion to an issue.

SW_ZERO_004

The glimpse into the Psiot activation process will be enough for hardcore Valiant fans to lap this up alone, but the rest of you will be happy to know that the comic does also flesh Nikki’s character out a little more. But, much like Darth Vader’s back story, the question remains whether we actually needed to find out about Nikki’s life before she was activated. To be clear, I am not equating the quality of this issue with the Prequel Trilogy, as unlike those movies, this is a very enjoyable comic that doesn’t quite measure up to the overall quality of it’s sequel – but then not much would be able to do that.

Ultimately Secret Weapons #0 Nikki’s Story suffers because of the strength of the original Secret Weapons. As creatively interesting a book as this is, it’s just not as strong as issues 1-4, and isn’t really required reading for fans if they’re not

Story: Eric Heisserer Art: Adam Pollina
Color: David Baron
Story: 8 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.25
Recommendation: Read if you enjoyed Secret Weapons. If you haven’t, Pass until you have.

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but I’ll be adding this to my collection Wednesday anyway.

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