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Valiant Hero Of The Week: Ninjak, Doctor Tomorrow, Rai and Livewire

Valiant Hero of the Week

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 Ninjak, Doctor Tomorrow, Rai and, Livewire. 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. If you’ve read previous columns, then you’ll probably notice that there’s nothing new here. All of these characters have been featured before, and as such the books I’d recommend haven’t changed for first time readers.

Ninjak

Who is he? A blend of Batman and James Bond. Colin King is at the peak of human conditioning, both physical and mental, has access to near limitless financial resources, and also works on contract for MI6 as a high tech ninja operative. If you’re looking for something familiar from Valiant, then you’d think that Ninjak would scratch the Batman itch, but unlike Batman, Ninjak has no problem using his weapons to their full deadly potential. Although Ninjak has yet to feature in a movie, he was the star of Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe, a webseries produced by Bat In The Sun that you can probably find on Youtube now. My money would be on Ninjak taking the week.

What should you read? Ninjak: Weaponeer.

Every master spy…has to start somewhere.

Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.

Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven — a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.


This collection covers the first five issues of Ninjak’s Valiant Entertainment relaunch, and is written by Matt Kindt and features Clay Mann, Butch Guice, and Juan Jose Ryp‘s artistic talents. This is where you’ll want to go for your introduction to the character, despite his first appearance coming in an issue of X-O Manowar a couple of years prior. We’re (re)introduced to Colin King and discover how he became Ninjak in flashbacks that twin with the present as King hunts down the Shadow Seven. It’s a spy thriller in the vein of James Bond, but starring a character who is closer to Batman than most other agents.

Purchase: Amazon (Hardcover)Amazon (Paperback)KindlecomiXologyBookshopTFAW

Doctor Tomorrow

Who is he? A time travelling dimension hopping hero who has appeared in the present day to stop the villain Hadrian from destroying the world. In doing so, he takes on a sidekick – a younger version of himself! There’s really not a lot to say about the character seeing as only two or three issues in the debut miniseries have come out as of this writing (full disclosure: I’ve read three, but can’t remember if they’ve all been published). The comic is Valiant’s first all-ages series within the main continuity, although it’s not shy at depicting fight scenes with consequences throughout the three issues I’ve read (Valiant High is an Archie inspired take on the Valiant characters as a stand alone project).

What should you read? Doctor Tomorrow #1-5. Teen hothead Bart Simms is about to meet the Valiant Universe’s greatest hero… himself!

You’ll only able to find these at you local comic shop once they’re all published until the inevitable trade is released, which will likely be in the next six to eight months or so depending on the post COVID release schedule.

Find your local comic shop (US and Canada): Comic Shop Locator
Purchase: comiXologyTFAW

Rai

Who is he? The guardian of New Japan, a floating city orbiting the earth in the year 4001 A.D., the noble Rai protects the city and serves the will of Father, the AI who runs New Japan. There’s so many layers to this character that you’ll peel away issue by issue as you read the book. The Rai in issue one is vastly different to the Rai in issue twelve, but because Matt Kindt’s character development is subtle but so effective.

What should you read?

Welcome To New Japan

The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Pacific and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the first murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity…


I want to tell you read the 2019 Rai series, but it hasn’t been collected yet, so instead, start with the first volume of the first series, Rai: Welcome To New Japan. Because Rai’s story is set apart from the rest of the Valiant universe in many ways, it’s really easy to follow across the first volume of Rai, 4001 A.D. and Fallen World. So start at the beginning.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW

Livewire

Livewire

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?

Secret Weapons.

Secret Weapons

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.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXology


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Valiant has Revealed its Updated Summer Publishing Schedule

Valiant Entertainment has revealed its updated publishing schedule for Summer 2020 after consulting with comic retailers and partners throughout the industry.

Through August, Valiant will complete the fun and critically-acclaimed limited series Doctor Tomorrow and Quantum & Woody! The ongoing sci-fi series RAI is back with a brand-new story arc and a trade paperback collecting the first fan-favorite story for only $9.99! Plus: a new edition of Bloodshot #7, which kicks off a thrilling new story, arrives with eight pages of bonus content, including an interview with the hero’s co-creator Kevin Vanhook!

DOCTOR TOMORROW #3 (of 5)

Written by AJELANDRO ARBONA
Art by JIM TOWE
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by  CLAYTON COWLES
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT

The entire world vs. a madman… the world is going to need more heroes!

It’s the can’t-miss clash of 2020 as Hadrian stands against the Valiant Universe!

On sale JUNE 24th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

DOCTOR TOMORROW #3 (of 5)

QUANTUM & WOODY #4 (of 4)

Written by CHRISTOPHER HASTINGS
Art by RYAN BROWNE
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by  HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMA
Final Order Cutoff (FOC) is JUNE 15th

Home Alone, the boys are left to defend their lair against would-be bandits!

What is Woody’s dark secret? The truth is finally revealed!

On sale JULY 8th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

QUANTUM & WOODY #4 (of 4)

DOCTOR TOMORROW #4 (of 5)

Written by AJELANDRO ARBONA
Art by JIM TOWE
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by  CLAYTON COWLES
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Final Order Cutoff (FOC) is JULY 6th

The true origin of Doctor Tomorrow is finally revealed!

Can Bart Simms ready himself in time to rescue the Universe from complete annihilation?

On sale JULY 29th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

DOCTOR TOMORROW #4 (of 5)

RAI BOOK ONE TPB

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Final Order Cutoff (FOC) is JULY 13th

Welcome to the 41st century: New worlds, new characters, new adventures.

The cyborg ronin named Rai embarks on a thrilling quest to save the future. Side by side with his prototype and predecessor – the robot boy called Raijin – the spirit guardian of the fallen nation of New Japan will journey into the wastelands of Earth to set right the wrongs of their onetime overlord once and for all.

Multiple New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) joins forces with breathtaking artist Juan José Ryp (X-O MANOWAR) to begin the essential sci-fi series of the next two thousand years!

Collecting RAI (2019) #1–5.

On sale AUGUST 5th | 208 pages, full color | $9.99 US | T+

RAI BOOK ONE TPB

BLOODSHOT #7 “FULLY LOADED” EDITION

Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MARC LAMING
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Final Order Cutoff (FOC) is JULY 20th

An explosive new story starts here

Featuring Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot on the cover, the BLOODSHOT #7 “Fully Loaded” Edition is packed with eight epic pages of bonus content that includes new artwork, classified information, and commentary from Bloodshot’s co-creator KEVIN VANHOOK!

On sale AUGUST 12th | 40 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

BLOODSHOT #7 "FULLY LOADED" EDITION

RAI #6

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover by NETHO DIAZ
Final Order Cutoff (FOC) is JULY 27th

A brand-new arc of the critically-acclaimed series begins here!

Rai and Raijin are drafted into the positronic Roman legions to face a savage threat.

On sale AUGUST 19th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

RAI #6

DOCTOR TOMORROW #5 (of 5)

Written by AJELANDRO ARBONA
Art by JIM TOWE
Colors by KELLY FITZPATRICK
Letters by  CLAYTON COWLES
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Final Order Cutoff (FOC) is AUGUST 3rd

After a universe-spanning journey, Doctor Tomorrow must face his greatest foe yet — himself!

Will the combined forces of the Valiant Universe be enough to avert total annihilation?

After the epic conclusion will there be a tomorrow?

On sale AUGUST 26th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

DOCTOR TOMORROW #5 (of 5)

Valiant Hero Of The Week: Rai, Livewire, Punk Mambo, and Eternal Warrior.

Valiant Hero of the Week

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 Rai, Livewire, Punk Mambo and Eternal Warrior. 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. If you’ve read previous columns, then you’ll probably notice that there’s nothing new here. All of these characters have been featured before, and as such the books I’d recommend haven’t changed for first time readers.

Rai

Who is he? The guardian of New Japan, a floating city orbiting the earth in the year 4001 A.D., the noble Rai protects the city and serves the will of Father, the AI who runs New Japan. There’s so many layers to this character that you’ll peel away issue by issue as you read the book. The Rai in issue one is vastly different to the Rai in issue twelve, but because Matt Kindt’s character development is subtle but so effective.

What should you read?

Welcome To New Japan

The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Pacific and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the first murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity…


I want to tell you read the 2019 Rai series, but it hasn’t been collected yet, so instead, start with the first volume of the first series, Rai: Welcome To New Japan. Because Rai’s story is set apart from the rest of the Valiant universe in many ways, it’s really easy to follow across the first volume of Rai, 4001 A.D. and Fallen World. So start at the beginning.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW

Livewire

Livewire

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?

Secret Weapons.

Secret Weapons

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.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXology

Punk Mambo

Who is she? A sarcastic biting magician in the vein of John Constantine, Punk Mambo has very few figs to give about anybody. Her complete disregard for authority is fitting given the character’s name, and as such she works incredibly well against characters with a more straightforward motivation seen in books like Rapture or her self titled miniseries.

What should you read? Ninjak: Operation Deadside

Of all the characters in today’s poll, Punk Mambo is the one who hasn’t had that many appearances I’ve actually read. She first appeared in Shadowman #13, which is a series I haven’t even come close to finishing yet (I’ve got the first eight issues, so haven’t seen her introduction). My introduction to the character came in the story I’m going to recommend to you; Ninjak: Operation Deadside. Watching Punk Mambo and Ninjak interact with each other is one of the absolute highlights of the story as she ends up being the foil to everything Ninjak says and does. It was this story that got me hooked on the character, so I’m hoping you’ll have the same result.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyBookshop

Eternal Warrior

Eternal Warrior

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

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

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Valiant Villain Of The Week: Toyo Harada, Master Darque, Eidolon, and Father.

Valiant Hero of the Week

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 Toyo Harada, Master Darque, Eidolon and Father. The week’s hero villain 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).

Toyo Harada

Who is he? One of the most complicated and interesting characters in comics, this is a man who has lived through utter horror and who just happens to be one of the most powerful people in the world. Toyo Harada is the kind of character that lives in the moral grey area; more often than not, I’ve found myself actually agreeing with and rooting for him, because his entire raison d’etre is to secure peace and improve the lives of people at any cost. Initially, he’s subtle and manipulates world events behind the scenes… but eventually Toyo Harada wages war on the world. He’s introduced in Harbinger, and so a lot of the stories that you’ve seen recommended in Peter Stanchek‘s spotlight you could expect to see for Toyo Harada.

I’m hoping against hope that the fans vote for Toyo today, because I would love to explore his characterization a lot more.

What should you read?

Harbinger: Omega Rising

A better future. Or no future at all.

Super-powered teenager Peter Stanchek is on a dangerous path. Skipping across the country in a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, Peter is quickly realizing that he’s a psionically-charged “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. But Peter’s plight has not gone unnoticed. Respected philanthropist and fellow harbinger Toyo Harada is about to offer Peter the chance at the things for which the boy has always longed — family, inner peace, self-control — and induct him into the sprawling, secret network of conspiracy and subversion known as the Harbinger Foundation. Now Peter begins his long road towards a destiny that will shake the very foundations of the Valiant Universe. His first lesson? All power comes with a price.


This volume kicks off an epic tale by Joshua Dysart that spans Harbinger and Imperium, and because I devoured the first twenty issues in two days I don’t really remember exactly what happened in the first volume, so I took the above text directly from Valiant’s website.

Purchase: Amazon – Kindle – comiXology – TFAWBookshop

Master Darque

Who is he? Nicodemo Darque is the Valiant Universe’s most powerful necromancer. Initially introduced in the Shadowman series, he’s also popped up in Ninjak and as the antagonist in Book Of Death. Unlike toyo Harada, there isn’t much to Master Darque beyond his lust for power,; there’s not really an angle that allows you to root for him, but he does make for a high level threat for the heroes of Valiant to come up against. Arguably one of the more traditional villains in Valiant’s line up, Darque always elevates the stories he’s in.

What should you read?

Shadowman: Darque Reckoning

The true price of becoming Shadowman is always paid in blood…and Master Darque intends to collect…

Jack Boniface has just been to Hell and back. After surviving the horrors of the Deadside, Jack is taking his new abilities to the limit and discovering more about the legacy of the Shadowman with each passing night. But what if he wasn’t the only thing that managed to escape back to Earth? Something dark has arrived in New Orleans, leaving death and madness in its black wake. What’s more, the city’s deadliest cartel assassin is after Jack, and he refuses to die – literally…


I was going to suggest another book that has already been recommended here, but seeing as how I’m hoping you’ve read Book Of Death by now, why not look back to one of Darque’s first appearances?

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWBookshop

Eidolon

Who is she? Anything that I say about the character here will only be a spoiler for the book recommended below, so I’ll be intentionally vague here; the newest character on the list, Eidolon’s story isn’t a happy one. Does she have ties to Bloodshot? Well, obviously. Because she’s in a Bloodshot comic…

What should you read?

Bloodshot Book One

Once, he was the perfect living weapon, created to follow orders. Now, Bloodshot works alone, using his lethal skills to protect those who cannot protect themselves. But a mysterious and powerful organization is watching, and they’re not about to let something as dangerous as Bloodshot remain free…


There’s really only two options for folks to read about Eidolon, and the other is the sequel to this one. Bloodshot Book One is a lot of fun, and features some pretty intense action sequences throughout the book. The sequel is where we’re really introduced to Eidolon in detail, but this is where you’ll want to start.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyBookshop

Father

Who is he? The artificial intelligence responsible for keeping New Japan afloat, Father is also the creator of Rai. Guess what book you’ll want to read?

What should you read?

Rai: Welcome To New Japan

The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Pacific and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the first murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity…


Father is largely a disembodied voice throughout this series, and rather obviously isn’t the main focal point of the book, but seeing as how this story eventually leads into one of my favourite Valiant runs (Dan Abnett on Rai from 2019), and also kicks off a pretty damn phenomenal story in its own right, then I’ll take any chance I can to recommend this series.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Retro Review: The Unity Saga

This week Valiant Entertainment have been focusing on the superhero team Unity as their Hero Of The Week, an initiative the company are undertaking to give readers and Valiant fans something to look forward to while the comic industry is on pause.

Valiant Entertainment is the company launched by a group of folks who purchased the first Valiant’s original character rights (Solar, Magnus and Turok were licensed characters used by the original iteration of the company, and weren’t included in the sale which is why you don’t see them in the modern books). The two eras of comics often differentiated by VH1 for the original publisher and VEI for the modern company (there is a VH2, but that’s not relevant right now). Given VEI’s tendency to reuse the names of VH1’s heroes, teams and comics in ways that pay homage to the original, or just as a tip of the hat to fans familiar with the VH1 era, I thought it would be interesting look back at the VH1 version of Unity.

Unity was an eighteen chapter crossover that took place from August – September of 1992 across seven different series published by Valiant Comics, with each of the publisher’s ongoing series dedicating two issues to the crossover. X-O ManowarSolar, Man Of The Atom; Shadowman; Rai; Magnus, Robot Fighter; Eternal Warrior; Archer and Armstrong; as well as prelude and epilogue under the Unity name each had a blue banner across the top of the cover, with artwork that formed two interconnecting images of eight comics. Both Eternal Warrior and Archer and Armstrong were launched during the crossover, with both the first and second issues having the blue banner.

The cover to first part of the story as it appeared in the individual series form a giant interconnected image.

The crossover was unique in that if you only read one series, say X-O Manowar, and had no intention to read the entire crossover, then you could read just the two chapters in X-O Manowar and still enjoy an almost complete story across those two chapters. That’s something that works very strongly in favour for the ongoing series that Unity crosses over, but when reading the story twenty-six years later it does have the effect of causing a sense of repetition as numerous scenes are retold – often from another character’s perspective, but not always. This also allowed for a slower build for the story, almost too slow by today’s standards, with a non-linear timeline that is perhaps necessitated by each contributing series having a complete story across both chapters.

The plot of Unity focused on a being of pure energy, much like Solar, called Erica Pierce who sought to unify all of time into one place, known as the Lost Land, where time moves incredibly slowly in comparison to the rest of the time stream. From the Lost Land, one can enter the timestream at any point, except in the Lost Land’s past, making the place a time nexus.It’s for this reason that Pierce wants to consolidate the timeline and eliminate anything that is not in the Lost Lands. Understandably, the heroes of the Valiant universe, both past and present, band together to stop her.

The covers to the second part also form a larger image when pieced together.

It’s the past and present of the heroes that’s interesting as we get the Eternal Warrior from the 1990’s and the Eternal Warrior from 4001 in the room at the same time, which leads to some interesting interactions between the two characters. What I was perhaps most surprised about was the ease of which you could read the series from start to finish without any knowledge of 90’s Valiant; now obviously I am more than a little familiar with post-2012 Valiant, so I may have had some advantage there, but one could also easily make the case that going in with knowledge as to who the characters are now doesn’t make it easier to read about who they were. It’d almost be like a Marvel vs Ultimate Marvel, or DC before and during the New 52 and then the Rebirth era. Similar, but not the same. More of a case of the new being inspired by the old.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the crossover, and was equally as surprised when I found myself collecting the original Valiant comics as a result. It was an epic story but because it was also designed to be ready easily if you only picked up some of the series involved, say Magnus, X-O Manowar and Harbinger, when reading every single issue you will notice there is some overlap. Often from a different perspective, but it lends those issues a feeling of familiarity that can be hard to shake. Although given the time displaced setting, one can argue that this familiarity is an added layer to the story – and the saga never shies from going in depth with the character’s emotions and thoughts, which is ideal if you’re starting to read VH1 comics with Unity as I did.

As a crossover story by a then young company, this was as ambitious as it was daring. Unity is the benchmark that other Valiant crossover stories are often held to, even today. After reading the story, I understand why.

Because some of the characters and comics included in the story are no longer under VEI ownership, it can be very hard to find the trades of Unity. Fortunately, the floppies are still relatively easy to track down for a very reasonable price. I don’t think I paid more than $4 for any of the books with the average being between $1-2. That is a great price considering what’s presented in this story.

Do you think that this kind of line wide crossover could work in today’s market?

Review: Rai #5

RAI #5

Rai and the Eternal Warrior fight in a bloody war against Bloodfather’s forces in the battle for Hope Springs in Rai #5.

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, as well as the third and fourth. After how much I loved Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series is the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face.

One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspectives.

The core concept of the series is that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin, are searching for Offspirng. Not the band, but rather pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring. With that search, Dan Abnett is able to expand upon the world of 4002 A.D..

Rai #5 deals with the brutality of Bloodfather’s attack on Hope Springs. It’s a confrontation that’s designed to show how effective Juan Jose Ryp is in depicting a bloody fight. The artist is fantastic here as he captures the rage and desperation on the faces of the defenders. Andrew Dalhouse gives vibrancy to Ryp’s detailed artwork. His brighter colors are often at odds with the violence on the page in a glorious dichotomy. Severed limbs have never quite looked so pretty.

There’s more to this book than abject violence, though. Abnett waits for the majority of the fighting to be done to hit you with an unexpected combination of reveals that will leave you thinking about the book for hours. I’m not going to say anything more about that here, but rest assured the creative team have delivered another seminal comic book about a half android samurai.

Like last issue, there were a couple of minor blips for me this issue, primarily around the Eternal Warrior’s beard, but again they’re so inconsequential in the long run that I’m not factoring them in with the overall visual experience. What bothers me may not even register for you, and ultimately it doesn’t impact the quality of the comic.

I said about Rai #5 that “at this point, if I could only read one comic a month, then it would be Rai.” The same is every bit as true with this issue. Rai is easily the book I look forward to most each month.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Dragon Hoops

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Bloodshot #7 (Valiant) – With the film coming out this week, this is a series everyone will be taking a look at. Get in before everyone else!

DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless (DC Comics) – Always entertaining and fantastic. This is a perfect series for young readers.

Decorum #1 (Image Comics) – Writer Jonathan Hickman’s name is on this one and that alone has us interested. Something have to do with assassins in the universe has us intrigued.

Dragon Hoops (First Second) – Gene Luen Yang’s latest is a slice of life about a high school basketball team and based on Yang’s own experiences.

North Bend #1 (Scout Comics) – In the near future the US is at war against Russia and its own people. To regain control, the CIA recruits a DEA agent to test an experimental mind control drug on unwitting Americans.

RAI #5 (Valiant) – One of the best comics being put out, it’s a sci-fi story that’s entertaining and intriguing with some fantastic concepts and ideas.

Science Comics: Crows – Genius Birds (First Second) – Always entertaining and educational, the Science Comics graphic novel series is great for kids and adults.

Stealth #1 (Image Comics) – A superhero is waging war on crime and his reckless behavior is due to fighting Alzheimer’s as well.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was solid and ended with a twist we didn’t see coming. We want to know what happens next.

Preview: RAI #5

RAI #5

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by RAMÓN F. BACHS
Cover B by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
Cover C by ADAM POLLINA
Preorder Cover by JASON METCALF
On sale MARCH 11 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Rai and the Eternal Warrior fight in a bloody war against Bloodfather’s forces in the battle for Hope Springs.

RAI #5

Exclusive Preview: RAI #5

We’ve got an exclusive early look at RAI #5, which ends the first arc! If you haven’t been reading the series, you’ve been missing out one of the best comics out today.

RAI and Bloodshot editor Lysa Hawkins hints as to what’s to come!

Everyone should be excited for RAI #5. It answers the question that has weighed heavily though-out the last four issues. What will become of Rai and Raijin after they succeed in their mission? And what will be revealed will make the little hairs on your arms stand straight up. Although it’s the end of the first arc, as always the story written artfully by Dan Abnett allows new readers to join in on the fun.”

RAI #5 makes its way to shops on March 11, 2020 and is written by Dan Abnett with art by Juan Jose Ryp.

Review: Rai #4

Rai #4

In Rai #4, Rai’s quest to rid the world of his nemesis puts him on a collision course with one of his closest allies: The Eternal Warrior!

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have. Although it follows on from Fallen World’s events Rai can be read entirely separate from the miniseries. The overarching plot has Rai and Raijin searching for Offspirng. It’s pieces of code or AI that when returned to Father will make him nigh unstoppable.

A hallmark of the series so far has been presenting a question within the story for readers. The first issue explored the evolution of machines and what it means to be human. The second issue asked us to rethink how we take for granted the limited AI devices in our lives and how they could work toward sentience. The third issue was full of allegories for online privacy. The fourth issue tells us to rethink how we treat others, and whether a machine is nothing but a tool. Dan Abnett also touches on the nature of evil; is it something you do or something you are? Do you deserve to be judged on what might happen or what will happen?

After an issue story that played heavily into online privacy and consent, with a comatose Rai being forced into a conversation with somebody who had hacked his operating system, you could expect Abnett to give you a bit of a break this issue. And he does. Kinda. If you don’t pay attention to the undertones of Rai #4. If you want to gloss over the unspoken questions then you’ll still find a fun comic. The depths add an interesting layer to a story that is the best thing I’ve read since the previous issue.

I will never make any secret of the fact I am a big fan of the Eternal Warrior. I always enjoy seeing him in the various time periods that Valiant has shown him in across the years. Seeing him teased in the pages of the previous issues had me anticipating how he’d end up returning. I’ve got to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the character’s return, and the verbal sparring between the Eternal Warrior and Rai only serves to underline what Abnett is asking in a very natural and organic conversation.

Rai #4 once again has Juan Jose Ryp providing the artwork with Andrew Dalhouse and Dave Sharpe on colors and letters respectively. It’s hard to talk about how great this book is without heaping praise on the artists that work on it, but truthfully the team met every expectation that I had for them once again. Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house so far in this book among other elements that we haven’t conceived of yet, and each and every page has been fresh and exciting.

There were a couple of minor blips for me this issue, primarily around the Eternal Warrior’s beard, but they’re so inconsequential in the long run that I’m not factoring them in with the overall visual experience. Especially since it’s something most of you probably won’t even be bothered by. No, honestly I have no objective complaints about either the art or the writing in this book.

At this point, if I could only read one comic a month, then it would be Rai.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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