Valiant’s super-team, Unity, survived their first outing against X-O Manowar, and have even recruited him to their team! A new enemy, Dr. Silk, has arisen and now Livewire, Gilad, Ninjak, and Aric need to assemble to stop this madman. Given how much I loved both the previous arcs of Unity and X-O Manowar, I went into this issue with high hopes. Did this next outing for Unity live up to my expectations?
Unity #5 begins with a focus on Livewire as she plans to investigate a strange crash in rural Taiwan, all the while musing about her departure from the shadow of Toyo Harada. After Livewire’s new handlers, MI-6, loses touch with her, they dispatch Ninjak to rescue her with help from the rest of his new team. The Eternal Warrior and X-O Manowar soon join their comrade in arms, and the trio heads out to liberate their ally. Dr. Silk’s reach is wide, however, and the machinations he initiated decades ago begin to bubble back to the surface.
Matt Kindt shepherds fans both new and old into this arc, title “Trapped in the Webnet.” The opening has a decent amount of exposition, which will help new readers feel at home with this issue. Furthermore, while some fans of the early issues may not like this reminder narration, I found it interesting and enjoyable, since it also helped explore the deeper mindset of Livewire, one of my favorite Valiant characters. Kindt lays some excellent groundwork for not only the Unity series, but also the Valiant universe; I love how he presented a WWII-era team (who I hope we get to see more of in future issues). The team interaction in this issue is great as well, with evidence that these individuals are working together more out of duty and convenience than friendship; it’s clear that the old scars between Aric, Gilad, and Colin haven’t healed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a lot of difficulty as they attempted to work as a unit.
Cafu replaces Doug Braithwaite for this arc’s artwork, but if anything this is an improvement. While I love Braithwaite’s tight lines, I feel Cafu’s bolder presentation does wonders for a team book like Unity. The battle scenes are excellent, the character designs are beautiful, and the panel layouts are novel. Once again, the WWII-era heroes caught my eye especially, with their designs reminiscent of the time period while still appearing in the Valiant style. Colorist Brian Reber does excellent work on this issue as well. I love his use of some brighter colors for this arc, which I think does well to contrast the darker tone of the story within. Probably the most awesome piece of artwork was the single panel of Colin King driving his sports car, which I’ve dubbed the Ninjak-mobile given its design that resembles his alter-ego’s costume. Furthermore, Clayton Crain’s cover for the series, shown above, is downright awesome. I’ve got no gripes whatsoever about the art.
If I had to find one downside of this issue it would be that I feel the set up for Dr. Silk was rather vague. Sure, it seems that Silk is a madman genius and clear threat, but I still felt his connection to all the events and his overall plan felt muddled, or, arguably, nonexistent. Still, this is only the first issue of the arc, so I’m sure there will be more explanation and development of the character later (especially since his face features so prominently on the cover of the next issue).
Unity #5 is a great start to another exciting arc of Valiant’s premier super team. I really enjoyed this issue, and feel that this arc holds even more promise than the first. If you’ve been waiting to check out the Valiant Universe or the Unity series, this is the perfect place to join in.
-excellent examination of the new team’s dynamics
-another great Clayton Crain cover!
-amazing art throughout
-great jumping-on point for new readers
-Dr. Silk still seems a bit distant to feel truly interesting or threatening
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He’s holding out for a “1940s Valiant” miniseries.
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