Welcome to Thursday’s Valiant Effort. For those of you new to this column, I review each book released by Valiant each week. I try not to spoil them for you, but I give you my opinions and a rating at the end of each section. Plus, I always have an image of the cover. What more could you ask for? Maybe a giveaway once in a while? I could do that.
For those of you who missed it, last week there was a big giveaway. A copy of X-O Manowar Deluxe Edition hardcover and X-O Manowar #0 Gold Edition. Sounds cool, right? Something you might want to win? Sure. The only rules were to comment on the article with your favorite Valiant character from the current universe and to “like” the article. I would giveaway the hardcover no matter what and the gold edition if we reached 200 likes on the article. Yeah, so we got up to a whopping 36 likes. Truly amazing… not. I will be replying to one comment on the article to pick one winner, so be on the lookout.
Anyway, big stuff this week, Ninjak #1 and I have 3 issues of Unity to review, so here goes.
Unity #13 – #15
Last issue we saw the appearance of the United, a group of super powered beings sent to stop Unity. Issue #13 starts off with a little background on each member of the team. Gang is a psiot who absorbed the powers and psyches of hundreds of dead psiots, so extremely powerful but very unstable. Stock is a pacifist and super hacker built like a brick house. The Myth is a mystery all the way around. No one remembers him or lives to tell the tale. And, Ultimo, with the power to change his molecular structure at will is a force that may be beyond anything Unity has encountered. A very powerful team, but definitely on the shady side of the law even though they were sent by a group of UN members.
As the Unity squad heads out on a mission to catch someone they hope will lead them to Unity, they have faith… I mean, they have Faith with them, Zephyr from the Renegades. I feel that she is an awesome addition to the team and look forward to how she is portrayed as she tends to be light hearted and naive but still a loyal team member. Meanwhile, the United threaten to detonate a dirty bomb on Gin-Gr, the giant robot retrieved from the battle with the Armor Hunters.
In issue #14, we see the havoc wrought by Ultimo, who himself turned out to be the dirty bomb. Gin-Gr immediately moves to decontaminate the area and save as many lives as possible while the Unity team battles the United. this issue is interesting because there are two stories going on, one is the fight and the other is Gilad on a TV talk show defending their team’s actions. On one hand we see the hard-fought battle as it plays out and on the other hand we see the ignorance and fear-mongering. But, I do want one of those Faith plushies.
As the battle takes place on two fronts, we see that Gin-Gr is much more than we knew before. Both biological and mechanical, she has a variety of other skills, like the ability to cleanse an atmosphere, recycle chemicals, and assist with medical needs. She is integral in capturing three of the four members of the United, but the true casualty of this issue is Zephyr… Faith leaves the team. Very sad.
Issue #15, new this week, is a stand alone issue that gives us a deeper dive into who Ninjak is and what he is all about. Is he just a joking ninja with a proclivity for weapons and gizmos? Or is he a rich man with so much going on in his head that he really needs the life as Ninjak to make him feel alive and useful? Perhaps this life of adventure is the only real thing… For all the Ninjak fans, this one comes at an opportune time as we transition to our next review. My Rating: 4/5
Matt Kindt brings us the first issue of the new series about one of my new favorite characters. I knew about Ninjak before, but he was never a big focus for me, so this issue was really a cool way of drawing me into who he is. I love the art in this book. It just feels new and awesome. I think that Valiant is doing a lot to step up their game and not just be a company that uses artists who all draw and color the same way. A big high five to both Seth Mann and Ulises Arreola for their work on this great launch.
The story in this issue has Ninjak going on a mission undercover to help ferret out the leaders of a weapons manufacturer catering to criminal clientele. In the beginning, he fights a woman named Roku, all around a pretty tough cookie and cool character. She will lead him to their first target and from there… Well, Ninjak, or Ninja-K as he realizes, will just do what he does best, which may be kill people and blow stuff up, but still, it will look pretty cool while he is doing it.
The flashbacks to Colin’s childhood are very interesting as we see the impact of his absentee parents and his lack of respect for the authority that was in place in his life. But also, the fear. There is a fine line.
The main story is intriguing and I am excited for issue #2 already. Then I turned the page and found “The Lost Files”. This is a tale of Colin’s first mission as a spy. Very good stuff. The shift in artwork is a cool way to place us back in the past. I enjoyed every part of this issue and recommend this to any Valiant fan. My Rating: 5/5
That’s it for this week. No other really big news, right? Oh, wait… Valiant movies! That’s right, Valiant Entertainment and DRG, a China-based entertainment conglomerate, have teamed up to produce movies and TV shows based on the Valiant Universe. This is some really cool news. Comic book based movies have been all the rage lately, but who wants to be limited to just the big publishers owned by massive corporations? I would rather see films built in a cohesive universe with continuity and believable characters. The true test will be if they use the same writers for scripting, or at least have those writers and creators working closely with the screenwriters to ensure that Valiant’s quality stories make a smooth transition to the screen. More on this as it develops.
Leave me a comment on which Valiant U character you want to have a trendy fashion makeover just like Superman and Wonder Woman and I will tell you why you are wrong… and you may even win something!