I’ve loved the various series Valiant Comics has released since their revival in 2012. Their ambition hasn’t slowed, and they’ve been promoting their latest new series, Unity, for the last few months. I’ve been really excited for this new series, which stars Valiant’s first superhero team (well…unless you count The Renegades over in Harbinger). Nevertheless, Valiant invested a lot in this new story that ties directly into the events of X-O Manowar. With A-list talent on board, does this new series live up to the hype?
Unity #1 focuses on Toyo Harada’s construction of a team of specialists to take down Aric of Dacia who recently instated himself as King of the Visigoths in modern day Romania. The Russian military, after a failed assault on Aric’s kingdom, has prepared a nuclear warhead strike. Harada, however, asks for twenty-four hours to stop Aric on his terms in order to prevent a nuclear catastrophe; as a survivor of the atomic bomb in Japan at the end of WWII, Harada vehemently opposes such weapons. Can Harada’s team hope to take down a man controlling the most powerful weapon in the universe?
I can sum up my initial reaction to Unity #1 with a single expression: wow. Valiant’s been promoting this book for months, and they definitely have lived up to the hype. Matt Kindt’s writing is stellar, bringing together a number of disparate players expertly and making them all fit into place. This issue is friendly to new readers, expounding on the main characters while not boring hardcore Valiant fans with extended recaps. I’m amazed by how much occurs in just this one issue, which is helped by the high page count, making this issue an especially good deal. Kindt also takes time to expound upon some of Ninjak’s technology which I liked quite a bit. Similarly, I like the crazy powers Kindt developed for some of the new characters he introduced in this issue. My only complaint is that the opening exposition with the food-blogger-turned-journalist felt a little odd and out of place.
Unity’s art is equal to, if not better than, its writing. Doug Braithwaite is a name I was never familiar with before this series, but now I may just have to track down some of his other work. Braithwaite is a master of facial expressions, compressing emotion into every close-up panel. The fight scenes are quite fun as well, utilizing some crazy and inventive angles. Brian Reber, this issue’s colorist, is a perfect match for Braithwaite’s designs, strengthening them with the depth of his palette. Both Braithwaite and Reber also honor devoted Valiant fans by staying true to previously established character designs, but infusing some of their own flair into these characters.
Valiant deserves another round of applause for Unity #1. This long-touted release did not disappoint me, and no doubt will please Valiant fans both new and old. This comic really sets the tone of the Valiant universe, and I look forward to the continuing adventures of Harada and his crew.
-excellent story that sets the tone of the next phase of the Valiant Universe
-ideal jumping on point for new readers
-opening pages starring the blogger were awkward
-next issue is a month away
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He really hopes Gilad gets a chance to use the Manowar armor some day.
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