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, Faith, Roku and Ivar, Timewalker. 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. For fun, I’ll also note who I think is most likely to win (bear in mind this is being written on Sunday).
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. 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.
Who is she? Valiant’s resident comic book fan who develops super powers, Faith Herbert is all of us in some form or another. Her alter ego, Summer, is based entirely on what Faith thinks a superhero should be. She uses the codename Zephyr as a superhero, which means that Faith is trying her best to be who she things she should be, rather than who she is – which all comes to a head in a certain scene in Holywood and Vine. For a time, Faith was being pushed as Valiant’s Next Big Thing, and I totally understand that, but unfortunately she didn’t resonate as well with readers as she perhaps could have.
What should you read? Faith: Hollywood and Vine is the character’s debut miniseries, and has one of my all-time favorite scenes in the book. Jody Houser takes every comic trope regarding secret identities you can think of and the laughs. It’s the single thing I keep thinking about when rereading this book, and her act makes me question other heroes who won’t do the same.
Despite Faith featuring in the utterly phenomenal Harbinger series, it is her solo miniseries that really propels the character forward – and it doesn’t hurt that the story is really cool.
Who is she? One of Ninjak’s rogues gallery, Roku is an assassin with the ability to control her steel-like hair. A former MI:6 agent, she has a deep history with Ninjak that she barely remembers.
What should you read? Honestly, the best thing you can read actually prominently features Ninjak because up until Roku had her own miniseries, she was used as a villain in the Ninjak series. That miniseries… well it was okay, but it isn’t one I’d recommend as the best thing to read featuring the character, so instead check out Ninjak: Weaponeer. Yes, that’s the same book I mentioned above, but because Roku isn’t the protagonist, her story isn’t the focal point of the series, so if you want to at least enjoy what you’re reading of her, it helps to understand the story itself.
Who is he? The older brother of the immortals Armstrong and Eternal Warrior, or Aram and Gilad Anni-Padda, Ivar is an incredibly intelligent man who has the ability to hop through time portals from one era to the next. Ivar reminds me of Doctor Who in someways, done only as Valiant can. Ivar’s time travelling can mean he visits his brothers every couple of jumps, which could easily mean a good couple hundred years between sights of Ivar if you’re Gilad or Aram. It’s a fun aspect to the brother’s relationship that’s played well in the below series.
What should you read? Ivar, Timewalker: Making History is the only real series that features Ivar with anything more than a cameo or featured appearance. It also happens to be one of my favorite comic book stories from Valiant or any publisher. It’s definitely the best time-traveling comic I’ve read, in part because you can start with any of the three volumes and still get a fantastic story so long as you read in consecutive order. Whether you’re reading 1, 2, 3, or 3,1,2 you’re in for an absolutely fantastic piece of comic book storytelling.
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