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 X-O Manowar, Livewire, Rai and Archer & Armstrong. 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 warrior from around 500AD who was abducted by aliens and somehow acquired the most powerful weapon in the galaxy. The sentient sacred armour of Shanhara.
What should you read? There are a lot of great X-O Manowar stories to choose from, some set in the past before he was taken by aliens, some set at various points in time thereafter. If I had to choose just one story… I’d probably start you at the very beginning of the second volume from 2017, X-O Manowar: Soldier. X-O has left Earth and everyone he knows behind, and finds himself on a new planet where nobody knows who he his. Why has he forsaken the armour he has bonded with? Well dear reader, all may be revealed eventually over the course of Matt Kindt’s twenty five odd issue run with the character.
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, but the character has been involved in some pretty interesting stories over the years – some far better than others.
What should you read? Secret Weapons. 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.
Who is he? The guardian of New Japan, a floating city orbiting the earth in the year 4001 A.D., Rai protects the city and serves the will of Father, the AI who runs New Japan.
What should you read? 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.
Archer & Armstrong
Who are they? Yes, they. Archer is a young man trained from birth by a secret religious sect in every possible form of combat to take down the devil incarnate. Armstrong is, according to the religious sect who trained Archer, the devil incarnate because of his hedonistic lifestyle that has carried on for millennia. Yes, Armstrong is immortal. Yes, he’s partied his way through history. But is he really the devil incarnate? Depends who you ask, I guess.
What should you read? It has been a long time since I read the 2012 volume of this series, but even still it still sticks with me. For that reason, Archer And Armstrong: The Michelangelo Code is the story that you should be reading. Not only is it a great story, it’s also only $10 or so (recommended retail price).
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