Last month, The Valiant premiered to much well-deserved fanfare. I counted the days until I could read the second installment, continuing the adventures of Gilad, Kay, Bloodshot, and more as they face the Immortal Enemy.
The previous installment ended with the new Geomancer coming face-to-skull with the Enemy itself. While in a compromised position, the heroes of the Valiant Universe don’t give in easily, and allies are never far behind. Let’s take a look at The Valiant #2.
Our story begins with Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior on a mission to rescue one of Gilad’s old comrades, a code cracker who is the only person capable of opening the mysterious box Bloodshot retrieved on his last mission. Meanwhile, Kay draws parallels between a fairytale of her youth and her current predicament as she faces the Immortal Enemy, a monster who embodies the deepest fear of his foe.
Kay struggles to use her new powers to fight off the monster, with little success. Luckily, her comrades arrive to help her. But can even the greatest forces of the Valiant Universe stand against a seemingly unstoppable horror?
Paolo Rivera is a master. There, I said it. If anyone doubted why Rivera receives the accolades he has over the years, hand them this comic. Without a doubt, The Valiant #2 possesses perfect visuals. From the silent panels that convey emotion through character facial expressions, to the amazing action sequences, and the absolute fear embodied in every page including the Immortal Enemy, the artwork is flawless and gripping.
I particularly liked the sequence inside Ninjak’s head. The art style shifted to resemble Japanese Ukiyoe prints, as the Immortal Enemy is redrawn like one of the beasts of ancient Japanese lore. Though a short series of panels, it showcased Rivera’s talent for altering his style to suit the story’s needs.
Furthermore, writers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire are artists in their own right, and provide the visuals for a brief storybook sequence. I think this is clever on the part of the creators, as the the different art styles offer an intriguing contrast that juxtaposes Kay’s childhood fears of the imaginary to her present state of utter terror before a creature of pure evil.
This issue also continues the highly engaging story that began last month. This issue allows us to get inside Ninjak’s head, and learn how this espionage master views the world. We learn about his fears, as well as his relationship with Gilad.
Kay receives the greatest exploration, which is welcome since the story focuses on her trials as the latest Geomancer. Her interactions with the Immortal Enemy were highly engaging, as we watched her struggle against a monster that even history’s greatest soldier cannot defeat. The end of the issue also promises some interesting interactions on the horizon between her and a certain living weapon.
The Valiant #2 floored me. It is the single best comic Valiant Entertainment has published, and is so far my favorite single issue of 2015. A combination of amazing artwork, which takes numerous chances that all pay off, and an enrapturing narrative make this a series that can’t be missed. Even if you’ve never read a comic before, The Valiant is a series you need to pick up.
-exceptional artwork, especially in terms of visual storytelling
-original, experimental style
-it left me wanting more! The one month wait will feel interminable
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