One of my favorite announcements earlier this year was The Valiant, a prestige format comic series from the talents of Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera. Charting a tale that brings together the greatest heroes of the Valiant Universe, told by some of the most talented creators in the comics industry, this was I comic I couldn’t miss. Did this issue live up to my lofty expectations?
Gilad Anni-Padda, the immortal Eternal Warrior, has defended the Geomancer since time immemorial. Three times, however, Gilad failed to defend his charge from the hideous Immortal Enemy, a beast of immense power whose victories usher in dark ages of humanity. Now, the enemy is rising once again, and Gilad will need to assemble a new team to protect the newest Geomancer, Kay McHenry.
The Valiant #1 possesses an excellent script from the talents of Lemire and Kindt. No strangers to shadowy, supernatural stories, these two comic creators are in their element as they weave this story of darkness and mysticism. Kay and Gilad, two of my favorites Valiant characters, receive significant development and characterization in this issue, which takes the time to explore their motivations and struggles. Gilad’s shame after his failures to stop the Immortal Enemy complement Kay’s struggles to cope with her newfound mystical abilities.
Kindt and Lemire ensure The Valiant #1 is accessible to new readers. Ever character receives a decent amount of set-up and explanation of his or her motivations and power set. Sadly, this same benefit for new fans is a detriment to old ones; those familiar with these characters may feel the dialogue drags and is shoe-horned in for the sake of exposition, which is especially evident during Bloodshot’s introduction.
Rivera, an Eisner award winner, goes all-out as he brings his unique style to The Valiant #1. With an unmistakable style, Rivera’s special brand of visual story-telling makes the scenes of this comic pop; everything from action sequences to chats in a club are masterpieces. The inclusion of extra pages detailing Rivera’s process further exemplify the quality of his craft.
The fight scenes are especially well done, and make efficient use of space; though each fight only lasts a few panels, Rivera ensures that there is enough action in each moment and thus leaves more space to explore the narrative. Rivera also made special effort to ensure that each scene throughout history feels like that time period, from a Mayan Temple, to a Babylonian ruin, and to a Viking village. Weaving in classic bits of mythology for the Immortal Enemy’s design was genius as well, and works exceptionally on the page.
The Valiant #1 is a strong outing for Valiant Entertainment. Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but I get the feeling this comic series will be one that is remembered and re-read for a long time to come. With a strong creative team behind a gripping and hauntingly beautiful story, this is a comic that cannot be missed. Fans of history-spanning epics and exceptional character work will find something to love within The Valiant. If you haven’t already picked up this comic, you need to rectify that issue as soon as possible.
-intriguing character work
-superb artwork and visual storytelling
-perfect jumping-on point for new readers
-exposition heavy, which may turn off fans with knowledge of Valiant’s characters
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