Unity is Valiant’s newest title, and after three months of great issues the final installment of the first arc is here. We’ve watched Harada scheme as his team took on Aric of Dacia. What will happen now that Livewire, Ninjak, and Gilad the Eternal Warrior have turned against their former benefactor?
Unity #4 is a chapter marred by conflict and reckoning. Harada’s former allies infiltrate his facility with a singular goal: liberate the Manowar armor. The powerful psiot won’t make things easy, however, causing a wild battle to ensue within the Harbinger Foundation’s fortress. By the story’s end, a new Unity team has formed with a new agenda…and a new member.
The first story arc of Unity concludes in this issue in a rather bittersweet way. Alliances and friendships seem forever destroyed, as Gilad and Amanda McKee turn against Toyo Harada. Matt Kindt expertly portrays the emotion these characters feel as they fight through these choices, backed up by Doug Braithwaite’s superb artwork. This issue also has, in my opinion, the best cover of any Valiant comic released thus far (thank you, Clayton Crain)! Unity #4 also makes use of several exciting action sequences, a staple of the new Valiant line. Ninjak’s fighting style is especially notable, as his use of tactics and technology make his fights more than simply traditional ninja combat. Lastly, I’m glad this issue had a call back to Harada’s original Unity team from the first issue; awesomely enough, we find out that The Captain, a deceased psiot whose power was to issue commands that cannot be disobeyed, extends even after his death.
Regrettably, Unity #4 is not without faults, and is definitely the weakest issue of the series thus far. While the combat was fun and interesting, I felt the action sequences dragged a little bit too long, and thus detracted from some important plot developments; as a result, some of the resolution seemed hasty, though perhaps next week’s X-O Manowar #22 will fill in some of the gaps in the story. I also must sadly report that Brian Reber’s colors seemed to mute and overtake Braithwaite’s art on more than a few pages, making some scenes a muddled mess; it’s a shame, because Reber’s shown previously that he’s one of the best colorists in the industry. Also, some of the dialogue was a little cliche, especially near the end as friendship breaks down between Gilad and Harada.
There’s a lot of talk surrounding Unity and with good reason: it’s currently Valiant’s best-selling series, and is arguably their best. Still, I feel as if this arc, which had an amazing first three issues, didn’t have as solid a resolution as I would have liked. I did enjoy this issue, but given Valiant’s high quality output, I’m a little surprised I didn’t love it. My theory is that, with the “Armor Hunters” crossover on the horizon, Matt Kindt may have been forced to shorten this opening salvo since sister title X-O Manowar needs to deal with that upcoming story. Regardless, I think Unity is a successful experiment for Valiant Entertainment, and I think fans of heroic teams and big action will want to join in the ride with next month’s “Trapped in the Webnet” story line.
-exquisite character examination
-solid, crreative action sequences
-dat Clayton Crain cover!
-resolution feels rushed
-coloring muddles some of the art
-some cheesy dialogue
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He’s going to ask Fenrir to draw our mascot as Ninjak.
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