Last month, the first issue of Valiant Entertainment’s long awaited Unity series burst onto the scene. Fan response was, to my knowledge, completely positive, as if yet to read a negative review or hear a single unkind word about the new series. Furthermore, the issue was Valiant’s most popular launch so far, selling out its entire 70,000 issue print run in a matter of days. Given how much I enjoyed the first issue, I was more excited than ever to read the continuation this week. Let’s dive into Unity #2!
Toyo Harada didn’t waste time picking up the pieces of his first failed attempt to destroy X-O Manowar. Rallying anew, the CEO of Harada Global Conglomerates gathers his team and sends them into the heat of battle. Aric is prepared, however, and the quartet of Ninjak, Livewire, Gilad the Eternal Warrior, and Harada walk directly into a trap. Who will rise victorious in this duel to the death within Aric’s commandeered Vine spacecraft?
Unity #2 maintains the first issue’s impetus and cranks the action up the to a higher plane! Matt Kindt has some wild ideas for battle scenes, and Doug Braithwaite’s frenetic style complements these moments of action. The fights feel brutal and chaotic, just the way a battle between these types of characters should run. Nevertheless, Braithwaite never loses sight of each character’s chosen fighting style, contrasting Gilad’s brutal and straightforward style with Ninjak’s more lithe movements, for instance.
The pacing in Unity #2 is exceptional as well. The story moves forward at a great rate, leaving no panel wasted in terms of exposition. I like that the creative team chose to depict Ninjak’s escape, which occurred in X-O Manowar #19, from a new angle, to benefit both new readers and fans of both series. Watching Braithwaite and colorist Brian Reber tackle scenes previous illustrated by Cary Nord is interesting, and I love the different artistic style of those scenes.
If I had to lay a shortfall on Unity #2 it would be two-fold. The first is that this issue is almost entirely action; while I did pick up this series expecting lots of combat and high adventure, I hope that this series will act more like issue #1 in the future and contain more character development. The second criticism flows directly from the first, which is that I felt Livewire’s introduction was rather rushed; for those of us that read Harbinger this is not a problem, but I feel it may be difficult for new readers to get a sense of her motivations and core characteristics. Nevertheless, given that we’re still early in this series run Kindt can’t really be faulted for these shortcomings, since they’re as much a matter of page limit as anything else.
Unity #2 is a great comic overall that continues to set a precedent for high quality comics. This series is quickly jumping to the top of my reading pile as I find myself loving every single panel. Kindt, Braithwaite, Reber, and the rest of the Valiant team are giving this series their all, and its really paying off with a high quality comic. Unity is unlike any comic on the stands, and reminds me what kind of magic can occur when you give great creators the freedom to work their magic. If you haven’t already, go out and pick up Unity!
-amazing battle scenes
-interesting build-up to upcoming events
-good jumping-on point for new readers
-emphasis on action means character development and explanations fall by the wayside to some degree
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He’s forming his own super-team formed of graduate students. It will be just as awesome as Unity, he promises.
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