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Valiant Hero Of The Week: Eternal Warrior

Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter 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. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Rai, Punk Mambo, Livewire and the Eternal Warrior.

Valiant Hero of the Week

This week’s winner was…

Eternal Warrior

The 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. Perhaps one of the things that interests me most with Gilad is the ability to set his stories in any time period.

What should you read?

The Valiant

A battle ten millennia in the making…

The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.


The Valiant written by Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire is the first of two books you’ll have seen before. The premise is centered around a loose group of allies headed by the Eternal Warrior trying to stop the Immortal Enemy from murdering the Geomancer, the person who speaks for the planet. As a showcase for the various Valiant heroes, this is arguably still the best way for new-to-Valiant readers to get introduced to the publishers characters. It’s also a fantastic story.

Buy Now: Amazon Hardcover/PaperbackKindlecomiXologyTFAW

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


Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior: Risen

For five millennia, the Eternal Warrior has shaped history at the end of his sword. He’s razed empires, toppled civilizations, and broken armies as an immortal soldier in service to the Earth. But now, the Eternal Warrior has been torn from the world he once protected and finds himself stranded in a hostile alien landscape unlike any he’s faced before. Separated from his earthly environs, can history’s deadliest soldier survive a realm far older, far deadlier, and fare more ruinous than anything he’s ever encountered? Beyond Earth lies eternity…


I’m not going to cover this in detail because it’s also the subject of this week’s Underrated column. The first volume, Risen, is pretty good when you first read it, but as the series continued then you realize how necessary the story is and as you go back to the volume then you realize that “pretty good” is an understated recommendation when you take in the series as a whole. The entire Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior series is on my Top Five all-time comics list. Read it, and find out why.

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleBookshopTFAW

Incursion

Beyond the margins of human reason lies a realm known as the Deadside, where the souls of the dearly departed linger – and where demons wait for us in the dark. For countless ages, Earth’s chosen protectors have guarded the veil between both worlds – but there are other doors to the Deadside, through which gruesome terrors from galaxies untold can trespass… With the planet’s freedom at stake, can the reigning Geomancer and her steadfast Eternal Warrior stand together against an invasion unlike any they’ve ever witnessed?


A sequel of sorts to Book Of Death in that it features both the Geomancer and the Eternal Warrior, this book both emphasizes the relationship between the two characters but it also shows just how far the Eternal Warrior will go in pursuit of his goals.

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleBookshopTFAW

Eternal Warrior: Days Of Steel

The Eternal Warrior…Gilad Anni-Padda, the Earth’s Fist and Steel…is forever charged with guarding the Geomancer and securing the Earth’s safety. After completing another brutal mission, the Earth’s undying guardian is approached with a cryptic task: find and save a baby — in whose hands might rest the fate of an entire people! But the Eternal Warrior is no nursemaid…and, to complicate matters, a thousand Magyar invaders want the baby dead. At the edge of civilization, can history’s most expert killer keep one precious life alive?


This isn’t generally thought of among the classics. but it’s worth checking out. Eternal Warrior forced to choose between protecting one of two siblings; whether he chooses right or wrong… he’ll have to wait decades to decide. Clocking it at only three issues, this is one of the short stories on the list, and it’s one of the lesser acclaimed books, but I was more than happy with it when I closed the final page.

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleBookshopTFAW


It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.


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.

Our Favorite Eternal Warrior Covers

The Eternal Warrior gets the spotlight this week as the winner of Valiant‘s “Hero of the Week“. Fans chose him over Ninjak, Punk Mambo and Livewire, and we (well, me) thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite covers featuring the character. All of these covers will be post the 2012 relaunch of Valiant and are shown in no particular order.

The below covers are some of the most striking, iconic or just plain cool images featuring the Eternal Warrior across the various series he’s appeared in.

Sound off on your favorite covers below!

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

The Thin Line Between Good And Evil: Toyo Harada

When you look at the typical comic book bad guy, there is often a clear cut case of black and white. Hero and villain. Good verses evil. This is never clearer when it comes to the Joker, or Sabretooth (although that has been known to be more in flux over the last half decade or so).  However with some antagonists it can be a bit murkier, sometimes a villain’s motivations are almost understandable when you take a moment to remove yourself from the hero’s narrative. When you look at the antagonist’s motivation removed from the protagonist’s story you can begin to see that when experienced from a different angle, these characters wouldn’t be seen as villains.

The Thin Line Between Good And Evil aims to take a look at the characters traditionally portrayed as villains within the world of nerd culture, primarily comics, and explore if it were their story we were reading, whether the villain would instead be seen as a hero.

Toyo Harada

This month, in honour of Valiant’s Hero Of The Week event, we’re taking a look at Toyo Harada.

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that Toyo Harada is just your standard evil overlord/CEO, but that would be doing a huge disservice to the character. Instead, it’d be slight more accurate to suggest he’s a blend of Professor Xavier and Magneto, but only in broad strokes.

Harada is a rare psiot born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers; within the Valiant Universe, most psiots are dormant until they’re activated – usually by an incredibly painful and risky procedure – but very few, often the most powerful, are born with their abilities activated. Harada’s abilities were activated by the nucleor weapon dropped on Hiroshima, and this understandably shaped a lot of the man he would become (explored in detail during The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada, though it is touched upon in Harbinger and Imperium briefly).

Toyo Harada is arguably one of Valiant Entertainment’s more complex characters. He is a Psiot using his incredible telekinetic and telepathic powers in order to shape the world into a better place for everyone by using his company’s immense wealth for philanthropic efforts. Harada’s methods haven’t always been perfectly angelic, and he exemplifies the phrase “the end justifies the means.” But his heart has always been in the right place.. his end goal is to end war, to which he conquered a small country… and then tried to turn it into a Utopian free state (in Imperium).

Toyo Harada

The more you learn about Toyo Harada, the more you realize that he’s far from an evil man. He spent decades trying to influence political policy, gradually and gently nudging the world in the direction of a Utopian future while gathering and training the smartest minds and craftspeople of their generation to further the technologies that humanity will come to rely on.

Only for some ungrateful little drug addict that wants to start to tear down everything you’ve worked for (which you can read all about in Harbinger). Now it wasn’t all Peter Stanchek’s fault; circumstances didn’t quite favour Harada. He’d spread himself too thin, and eventually the final straw landed upon his back and things started to fall apart, but one has to wonder whether things would have been different if not for Stancheck. Whether Harada could have continued to guide the world in the shadows rather than forcibly showing governments how to create a self sustaining society.

But this column isn’t about recapping the man’s history; there’s a great resource here if that’s all you want to know, or you can check out the links below with the first volume of Harbinger, which kicks the saga off.

Instead, we’re here to look at why Toyo Harada is considered a villain, and I genuinely think it’s because of how he’s been framed in stories. When reading Harbinger, you’re following the story of Peter Stanchek and the Renegades. In X-O Manowar and Unity you’re naturally rooting for X-O because of Harada’s desire to acquire the armour whilst also preventing a cataclysmic confrontation.

Toyo Harada

If it wasn’t for that, and his penchant for making some questionable decisions in pursuit of (what he believes to be) the greater good, then I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in viewing Toyo Harada as Valiant’s greatest hero. He’s doing what he feels he needs to do to save the world, despite our best efforts to the contrary. He’s been working for decades to make the world a better place, and in the grander scope of things he forms the question: can we save ourselves, even if we wanted to?

That’s what this really comes down to; as a global society, are we really capable of lifting the most unfortunate and desperate members up and coming together to save ourselves? Toyo Harada clearly doesn’t think so, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Toyo Harada is the villain we need to save our world.

And he’ll do it, by any means necessary.


Read the start of Toyo Harada’s story here:

Purchase: Amazon – Kindle – comiXology – TFAWBookshop

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 Hero Of The Week: Toyo Harada

Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter 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. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Toyo Harada, Father, Eidolon and Master Darque.

Valiant Hero of the Week

This week’s winner was…

Toyo Harada

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.

What should you read?

Here’s the thing to be aware of here; Joshua Dysart’s epic run with the character starts in volume one of Harbinger. If you jump into the story later on, it will be tough to enjoy it and/or get. So when I’m recommending the first book below, I’m actually encouraging you to read the entire story that spreads across Imperium and The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada. You can read those two series independently, but this is a story designed to be read in publication order. That said, I’ll still include the opening trade to Imperium and the Life And Death trade below.

Harbinger: Omega Rising

A better future. Or no future at all.

Harbinger: Omega Rising

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

Imperium: Collecting Monsters

A psychic dictator, an inhuman robot, a mad scientist, a murderous alien, and a superpowered terrorist are about to try and take over the world…and you’re going to be rooting for them every step of the way!

Imperium: Collecting Monsters

Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet. Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous, and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now! 


This is honestly one of my favourite Valiant stories. It tells the tale of Toyo Harada’s attempt to create a paradise for those willing to work. Yes, he invaded a country to do so, but his goal is to create a world without hunger and sickness. By any means necessary.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWBookshop

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada

In 1945, the bombing of Hiroshima awakened an immense and terrifying power inside young Toyo Harada, a power that he could one day use to build a better world.

With the existence of superpowered psiots revealed to the world and his Harbinger Foundation left in ruins, Harada has been run to ground, and the world’s most powerful man is about to become its most dangerous…

Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart (HARBINGER) returns to the Valiant Universe alongside CAFU (RAI) and a lineup of all-star Valiant artists for a sweeping, continent-spanning chronicle of Toyo Harada’s last gambit to remake Earth in his own utopian image…or sacrifice everything in the process.


The culmination of Joshua Dysart’s run with the character, this is a great story if you haven’t read the other book, but it’s beyond compare if you have.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAWBookshop


It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.


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.

Our Favorite Toyo Harada Covers

The supervillain Toyo Harada gets the spotlight this week as the winner of Valiant‘s “Hero of the Week“. Fans chose him over Father, Master Darque, and Eidolon, and we (well, me) thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite covers featuring the character. All of these covers will be post the 2012 relaunch of Valiant and are shown in no particular order.

The below covers are some of the most striking, iconic or just plain cool images featuring Toyo Harada from Imperium and Life And Death Of Toyo Harada.

Sound off on your favorite covers below!

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.

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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

Our Favorite Vintage Archer & Armstrong Covers

The super team of Archer & Armstrong gets the spotlight this week as the winner of Valiant‘s “Hero of the Week. Fans chose the team over Eternal Warrior, Livewire, and Doctor Mirage, and we (well, me) thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite covers featuring the character. All of these covers will be pre the 2012 relaunch of Valiant and are shown in no particular order.

The below covers are some of the most striking, iconic or just plain cool images featuring Archer and/or Armstrong.

Sound off on your favorite covers below!

Valiant Hero Of The Week: Archer & Armstrong

Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter 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. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Eternal Warrior, Livewire, Doctor Mirage and Archer & Armstrong

This week’s winner was…

Archer & Armstrong

Who are they? Archer has been trained since birth in a wide variety of martial arts and weapon skills to take out the devil by his ultra rich, ultra religious parents.

What should you read?

The Michaelangelo Code

It’s history in the breaking!

After years of meditation and training, 18-year-old Obadiah Archer has been dispatched to New York City to carry out the sacred mission of his family’s sect – locate and kill the fun-loving, hard-drinking immortal known as Armstrong! But as this naive teenage assassin stalks his prey, he’ll soon find that both hunter and hunted are just pawns in a centuries-old conspiracy that stretches from the catacombs beneath Wall Street to the heights of the Himalayas. And Archer & Armstrong will have to work together if the future is to stand any chance of surviving the past’s greatest threat!


If you want to start reading from the very beginning of the modern series, then this is your gateway. You can’t go wrong with this trade. Fred Van Lente weaves a tale that’s reminiscent of one of Dan Brown’s novels featuring a man who was there during the history (but may have been too drunk to remember). There’s a lot of laughs to be had along the way, but this book is like Raiders Of The Lost Ark when it comes to it’s comedy; it’s there, but it isn’t the focus. Utterly fantastic all around, the full 25 issue run (or five trades) is well worth checking out, and it all begins here.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyBookshop


The Delinquents

Quantum and Woody are the world’s worst superhero team. Archer & Armstrong are a mismatched pair of conspiracy-busting adventurers. When a mysterious force collides these ill-suited and irresponsible “heroes” for a cross-country race through the darkest corners of American mythology, all hell is bound to break loose. Can two busted pairs become four of a kind in time to defeat the Hobo King, save the day, and make it back home in time for happy hour? Let’s hope so…’cause these guys make a really, really bad team. (And you don’t even want to know about the goat.)


This miniseries staring Valiant’s two most popular duos is probably one of the most entertaining stories you’ll find with this foursome. It’s an off the wall comedy that delves into the secret network of hobos from the golden age of rail travel with a tongue firmly planted in cheek. Lighthearted, and amazing.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXology


In The Bag

Meet Armstrong: Since the ancient city of Ur, this immortal adventurer has spent the last 7,000 years drinking and carousing his way through history alongside some of the greatest merrymakers the world has ever known.

Meet Archer: A sheltered teenage martial arts master and expert marksman that was raised for a single purpose – to kill the devil incarnate. Little did he know that this undying evil was actually Armstrong (he’s actually a pretty good guy…once you get to know him) and, since hitting the road together, the two have become great friends and even better partners.

Now: Archer is about to set off on his most dangerous mission yet – a quest into the mystic reaches of Armstrong’s bottomless satchel to liberate his friend and comrade from the clutches of the mad god Bacchus! (Okay, so, Armstrong went into the satchel himself to get a bottle of whiskey that he kinda misplaced and got stuck. It’s like the Amazon warehouse of arcane treasures in there…and he doesn’t exactly have a maid service.)

Imprisoned in Armstrong’s satchel for centuries, Bacchus now commands a legion of monsters, goblins and golems bent on escaping back into the world of man and enacting revenge on their captor… Can Archer single-handedly combat the godly embodiment of intoxication himself – and rescue his best buddy – without becoming lost amongst Armstrong’s endless repository of bizarre artifacts and historical oddities in the process?


This is the first volume of the second series featuring these two, A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong. It isn’t as critically acclaimed as the first series, but I enjoyed it just as much as the first (I also read it first). Rafer Roberts leans more into the comedic elements of the duo than Van Lente did, and it worked well for what I wanted out of the book.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXology


It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.


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.

Our Favorite Archer & Armstrong Covers

The super team of Archer & Armstrong gets the spotlight this week as the winner of Valiant‘s “Hero of the Week. Fans chose the team over Eternal Warrior, Livewire, and Doctor Mirage, and we (well, me) thought it would be a great chance to highlight some of our favorite covers featuring the character. All of these covers will be post the 2012 relaunch of Valiant and are shown in no particular order.

The below covers are some of the most striking, iconic or just plain cool images featuring Archer and/or Armstrong.

Sound off on your favorite covers below!

Almost American
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