Thanks for putting up with one final catch up article as a supplement to my regular Thursday’s Valiant Effort. Just a few series to wrap up and we are back to the regular stuff.
I started to really think about what I loved about Valiant Entertainment. Is it the types of characters? There are a wide variety of books published each month. The characters range from space alien sci-fi to classic swords and sorcery to military tactical adventures with some great buddy comedy thrown in for flavor. It is awesome to see new readers discovering Valiant now that the announcement is out about movies coming soon.
On with the reviews!
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #4 and #5 (of 5)
Shan has been searching for some sign of her husband ever since he died. How can she do this? Well, she can talk to the dead… just not her husband. So, she has taken up a quest that has led her deep into the afterlife, facing many challenges and dangers, to uncover this mystery of why her husband, Hwen, would abandon her in death. Last issue we found out what happened as we see him trapped by the Pale Mistress, ruler of those who died at sea. She is keeping him as a trophy and now Shan must figure out how to free him so they can be together again. But in the physical world, Shan had to leave her body behind and things are not looking good as it is taken away.
Issue #4 gives us some more backstory on Shan and how she started to gain some control over her powers. We also see how Hwen was able to help by giving her a tattoo that was a ward to allow her to shut out the spirits sometimes. There are also scenes to update us on the status of her body, the plight of Ivros, a demon leader of an army set to invade Earth, after she trapped him in the cage, and the evil men and the spirit they have bound to them so they can misuse his power. Now Shan must bargain with the Pale Mistress for Hwen, convincing her to release Hwen to her so that they can search for the Pale Mistress’ staff.
So, the Mirages travel, in a much easier way this time now that Hwen revealed he had made Shan’s suit to be able to travel the astral plane, to where they died. They retrieve the staff, but Hwen wants to see the breach. This is where we find out that Ivros had made a deal with March and his fellow evil dudes to open the breach and allow the demons to enter the Earthly plane and bring all sorts of scariness with them.
With Issue #5, the end is near. Hwen breaks the staff and hands half to Shan. The plan is for her to head for the breach and to stop herself from being killed in the real world. Oh, and also to stop the demon invasion. That is important, too. The rest of this series is just too good to spoil, as Hwen and Shan have to separate over the veil between worlds… but don’t worry, they will see each other again. Jen Van Meter lays out an awesome story here, both heart warming and heart wrenching with just the right amount of supernatural mystery.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #2 and #3 (of 3)
Gilad Anni-Padda is the Eternal Warrior. Through time he has stepped into the role of a warrior in every major conflict and time period. This is his power and his curse. This mini-series tells of a time when Gilad, fed up with the manipulations of the Geomancer, went off on his own to find inner peace. Of course, his curse still follows as he becomes embroiled in war as the Magyars are invading the land of the Franks. He meets a couple with a newborn baby and, as issue #2 begins, he has to defend this child. The Geomancer has taken the form a crow and told Gilad that this child would be a savior. No matter what, it seems, he can’t escape destiny.
The problem is that there are two babies, twins, both with the distinguishing mark. Gilad chooses the first born, hoping he made the right choice. As the years progress, he returns to try to train the child, but the boy, Falk, is weak and more inclined to music and peace. The other boy is the one who proves strong and deadly. As issue #2 draws to a close, in a dream the Geomancer confirms to Gilad that he made a mistake and must fix the error… Sadly, this may mean that he needs to kill Falk. What he doesn’t know is that the other brother was killed while fighting Magyars.
With the third issue, we see that the decisions we make and the outcomes we expect are not always the ones that lead us down the right path. This series is superb in that it is a deep insight into who the Eternal Warrior really is. We all have a path to walk in life and, at times, we question our place in the world. Whether through self-doubt or outside influences, the choices have to be ours. We each must realize our place, where we put our trust, and where we put our faith. The power of a song and the power of a sword can both change the course of history, given time.
My Rating: 4/5
Every hero has an origin story. I love how they put this issue together. Faith, or Zephyr as she is known, was kidnapped by the Harbinger corporation when she was younger and later rescued by Peter and became a part of the Renegades fighting back against Toyo Harada and his evil machinations. Reading this issue, we toggle back and forth between the fallout of events after the Armor Hunters destroyed Mexico City right up to the point where Faith is asked to join the Unity squad and a single event in Faith’s childhood that is sort of a anti-coming of age story, if that makes sense.
Faith is a kind, gentle, and happy person. As a child she loved comic books, and they were sort of a coping mechanism for her as well. This can be said for a lot of people. Even at my age, I would admit to allowing myself to get lost in the stories and characters to escape the harsh reality of trying to support a family of five in an area with a very high cost of living. Faith may not have world shattering power, but the power she has she uses for good. Her real superpower is the ability to hold her team together and hold them accountable to do good and fight for what is right. I will say that Joshua Dysart does a great job putting Faith’s story together.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Rai #5, 6, 7, and 8
Clayton Crain is my favorite artist on a Valiant book. The beauty and depth of life in each frame of Rai only enhances the story. This is how the future of comics will look in the year 4001.
Rai is the protector of a future Japan. He answers to Father, who Rai describes as a pool of self-aware particles called “Livewire”. Interesting, since we know Livewire in the present as part of the Unity squad that can control and communicate with machines. Father directs Rai and points out areas for him to focus on as the protector of this floating future nation.
The first four issues of this series have seeded some serious doubts in Rai about the true benevolence of Father and his own mission. Meeting Silk, the evil mastermind behind a visual plague in current times and a scientist in the year 4001 that is siding with the anti technology crazy people in trying to destroy Japan, has caused Rai to question a lot about his creation and continued existence.
Issue #5 really lays out three stories and provides us the stepping stones into the next storylines. Rai is seriously doubting everything and knows that Father is a liar. The information that he gains from Toshiro about his mother does not help. He proceeds to team up with Silk, Spylocke, and Toshiro to set a plan into motion.
Lula Lee turns 16 and gets her positronic companion. This is something that happens for every human on their sixteenth birthday. This companion is supposed to be as close to a perfect human as possible. But, the first thing that Lula asks her to do is to help her build a bomb…
Finally, there is Momo, the rogue positronic being who no longer has a human companion. She is searching the sewers to find Izak, a type of cyborg vampire. Momo says she is building an army and needs his help. Scary.
We learn more about the origins of Izak in issue #6. He is descended from from an alien race that Father captured and then spliced with his Livewire technology. When these creatures failed as the protectors of Japan, Father banished them to Earth, but Izak escaped and now plots to bring Japan crashing down to Earth as revenge. We also find out what happened to Momo after Rai saved her. She went back to the positronics farm where she was born and immersed herself in Livewire, thus gaining a sense of self that no other positron has ever had. In the end, the two find they have an unusual ally as Rai comes to talk with them. Meanwhile, Spylocke is headed to Earth for a secret mission.
Issue #7 is full of action and revelations. Rai and Momo talk more about Momo’s past. Silk and the Raddies attack the positrons as they try to push through to the positron farms, hoping to at least destroy them. Spylocke headed to Earth to bring back Rai VIII. Finally, Lula and her companion made their bomb from cereal and household cleaners and opened a door to a secret part of Japan. There they find the Geomancer who begs them to help her by killing Father.
Issue #8 is titled “The Fall of Rai”. Rai gives a rousing speech that leads to the armies of Raddies and Positrons joining together to fight back against Father’s rule. Rai makes it to Father to confront him for the last time, but Father has a surprise… the eleventh Rai, or X-Eye, as people call him. Will Rai prevail against this new version or suffer a terrible fate? And what will happen with the Geomancer? Looks like we may have to wait until August for all the answers.
My Rating: 4.5/5
I know this was a lot, but it gets us back on track with current issues. Next week will be a review of everything from April and then we should be back to weekly installments. Thanks for hanging out. I hope you have found something here that piques your interest. Choose something to read and love it!