Welcome back to another Thursday’s Valiant Effort here at Comic Booked, where I review every comic book released by Valiant Entertainment. Things have been amazingly crazy here in the rollercoaster that is comic book journalism. Comic Booked has a clean and fun new theme, so the look and feel is very different than what you may have been used to. Also, we are on a new server and still working out some of those kinks, so bear with us. On top of all that, we have several great new additions to our writing and leadership staff, which is both very helpful and very time consuming.
Because of all that, I got a little behind and I apologize. This is my massive Omega Edition because I am catching you up with enough reviews to explode your brain, so buckle in and get ready. I will try not to spoil anything. We will be wrapping up the Armor Hunters storyline in our next article as well. One other article will be published reviewing several first issues and continuing stories through the end of October.
Harbinger: Omegas #1 – Picking right up from the end of Harbinger #25, this new series begins with Toyo Harada on an aircraft carrier where he has been commanded to surrender to the government. We all know how good Harada has been at taking orders from anyone, and this time is no exception. The tables are turned as Harada and his team of psiots establish themselves as a force to be feared, taking command of the ship they are on and daring anyone to attack them. This issue actually sets off a scary chain of events as Harada begins his play for world domination. Meanwhile, the Renegades are spread across the world, some helping with the disaster in Mexico City and some just hiding out hoping to never be found. I love the tension in this issue and really look forward to the way this one will play out. Check this out and jump into a great series with a new #1 as the fate of the world hangs in the balance and the heroes are not around to stop it. My Rating: 4.5/5
Harbinger: Omegas #2 – Continuing the tale of what Toyo Harada will do with no one to stand in his way, let’s jump right into issue #2. The Foundation Age has begun. In Somalia, Harada is creating an embassy and a safe haven for anyone who wants to follow his rules. Of course there are problems. “Where your personal philosophies conflict with my vision, you will find yourself in conflict with me.” This situation is very similar to what was recently dealt with by Harada’s Unity team against Aric and his Visigoth’s. Interesting that he does not see that he is ultimately creating the same situation. Perhaps his ego cannot see that far because he believes that he is the only one who can do good in the world. Meanwhile, the UN is frantically searching for Peter Stanchek, the former leader of the Renegades and the only person strong enough to stand up to Harada… even if it did not end well. And how better to find him than we an app. Yeah, it automatically searches for him and reports back. But, this must makes him dig in deeper, hiding under water. What will happen? Who will face Harada? My Rating: 4.5/5
The Delinquents #1 – Bringing together two of the best teams in the Valiant Universe, The Delinquents sees Archer and Armstrong and Quantum and Woody teamed up for an adventure. Well, sort of teamed up. You see it all started with a treasure map that had been tattooed on some hobo’s butt. It was entrusted to Armstrong a long time ago, but over the years, the butt cracked… well, split into two parts. One part currently owned by a major corporation, Mondostano, and the owner has hired Quantum and Woody to find the other half and then find the treasure. There is money involved, so they are in. Archer and Armstrong are pulled in because Armstrong was entrusted by the old king of the hobos to protect the hobo treasure, and he has been lax in his duties. All the expected comedy and great writing of two of the best comics that Valiant puts out, combined into one series makes for an awesome read. My Rating: 5/5 (it has a map on a butt…)
The Delinquents #2 – This half-assed adventure continues. The teams of Quantum and Woody and Archer and Armstrong finally come face to face in this issue, and no amount of witty reparte will stop this from being a major dust up. The battle rages and ends just as quickly with both groups realizing that they should team up and find the treasure if for no other reasons than to keep it out of the hands of the evil Mondostano Corporation. However, the teams have a mysterious stalker, Mr. Meat, an employee (product?) of Mondostano Coproration and all around evil kind of creep. He is out to shut down this little treasure hunt. James Asmus and Fred Van Lente do a great job playing the two teams off each other. I love the jokes and the story is top notch. My Rating: 5/5
Archer & Armstrong #23 – The Lizard King has the Wheel of Aten and is ready to start his ceremony. Sounds ominous, right? Using Percy Vale (Who really is as annoying as the Beiber he is parodying), Morrison is about to try to unlock the power of the Wheel and do some wonderful horrible things. I love his philosophy about people. “The minute they fall out of mom they start begging somebody else to take away the baffling terror of their own free will.” So, throw in a little time hopping and a huge concert soon to turn mystical Cuisinart and you have a recipe for either a really messy margarita or an awesome wrap up to a very interesting storyline. Now channeling the spirit of Ron Popeil, “But, wait, there’s more!” That’s right, this may be the end of Morrison, but the Wheel could still be an issue. Did the team really solve the problem by creating the solution? This was a great issue, full of funny one-liners and all the antic you expect from Archer & Armstrong, but not quite as much booze as usual. My Rating: 4.5/5
Archer & Armstrong #24 – This is another awesome issue of Archer & Armstrong, just without so much Archer & Armstrong in it… like none. This issue completely focuses on the origin of Mary-Maria Archer, Obie’s adopted sister and currently leader of the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness and assassin extraordinaire. This issue traces her origins back to Brazil, to her family. In the now, she is sent to Brazil to take out an evil loan shark that has placed the people in a stranglehold of terror. In the past, we see her as a child, the birth of her twin sisters, the death of her mother, and the life that her father led under the burden of an evil loan shark. Could this be the same person? The twists and turns of this issue are an interesting and refreshing change from the sometimes fantastical adventures of Archer and Armstrong, but still a good story. This is one to check out as Karl Bollers story is written very well and kept my interest through to the last page. My Rating: 4/5
The Death Defying Doctor Mirage #1 – Jen Van Meter has started an awesome supernatural adventure with this first issue of The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage. The mystery behind the life of Mirage, in addition of the talents she has, combine to make an interesting basis for the story, but then we jump right into a deeper mystery as she is hired to help a reclusive billionaire extricate himself from a supernatural situation. There is definitely more to the story than we have seen so far, but this story does not leave us wondering. Great character development really makes this story worth reading. I have to commend Roberto de la Torre for his art in this issue. I love the way that the “sketchy” borders for the characters and scenery play into the supernatural theme of the book. This marriage of art and story make this one of the best Valiant books I have read for a long time. I would recommend this as a must read from Valiant. I look forward to seeing what next issue brings us as Doctor Mirage steps past the threshold into the world of the spirits. This is one of the first books we have seen that looks into the supernatural instead of psychic powers and alien armors. You got me all in on this one. My Rating: 5/5
Rai #4 – Speaking of art, have I mentioned how much I love Clayton Crane’s artwork in Rai? This is truly beautiful work. The detail and intricacy help to tell so much more of the story than any words can do. Crane truly captures the features of a future world and brings them into relatable images that capture the reader’s interest. This issue brings us to the truth behind who or what Rai really is. We knew that he was a being created by Father to protect Japan, but has Father not been completely truthful? Or is Silk just trying to drive a wedge between father and son? Rai begins his hunt for Father and may not like the answers that he receives. One question that will weight on Rai’s conscience is the one asked by Silk in this issue. “Where does the waste go? Where is the exhaust?” And the answer will shock you. A great ending to Book One of Rai, and an awesome story by Matt Kindt. My Rating: 4.5/5
Bloodshot #24 – This is a test… this is only a test. Remember that as you read through this issue. Bloodshot is sent into the Ukraine as the whole country has fallen under the control of a covert sleeper cell. Murders, espionage, and more murder, just a day in the life of our nanite-driven protagonist. Will Bloodshot be the obedient little soldier that the US government has tried to make him? Will he be able to subdue this uprising, find the culprit, and save the people? Or at least kill all those involved? The secrets uncovered in this issue are very interesting as we see some resistance from Bloodshot, but, for the most part, he sticks to his programming. And that programming? Kill and follow orders. B. Clay Moore and Will Rosado make a great team on this book to bring this bloody prelude to the big #25 coming up for Bloodshot. If you want some good old fashioned Cold War-ish battles, check out this issue. My Rating: 4/5
That is it for this installment. These are all the regular non-Armor Hunters books from September and early October. I will be doing another article summarizing all the Armor Hunters books and then a third article bringing you all up to date on the Valiant Books for October. So many things to read and so little time, so Read Valiant First.