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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
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