By Robert Venditti, Cary Nord, & Various
In a lot of ways, X-O Manowar is the lynchpin of the Valiant Universe. Aric, the time displaced warrior in a suit of mega-powerful alien armor, caused the entire world to show its hands. Super soldiers, immortal warriors and secret organizations came out of the woodwork to battle the invincible Visigoth. This was the book that relaunched the Valiant line, and it remains one of their best titles.
Is X-O right for you? If you like epic space battles, alien warlords, unstoppable barbarians, and tons of crazy action, then you’ll love this book. There’s great character work being done as Aric tries to adjust to our modern world as well as heaps of brutal action crammed in every issue. Just wait until you see X-O punching a grenade into a guy’s chest! It’s Conan the Barbarian meets Iron Man armed with a lightning sword.
archer and armstrong
By Fred Van Lente, Clayton Henry, & Various
By Matt Kindt & Doug Braithwaite
By Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans, Clayton Henry, Mico Suayan & Various
By Justin Jordan, Patrick Zircher, Peter Milligan, Roberto De La Torre & others
By Greg Pak, Robert Gill & Trevor Hairsine
Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps
By Duane Swiercyznski, Manuel Garcia, Christos Gage, Joshua Dysart, Bart Sears & Various
QUANTUM AND WOODY
By James Asmus, Tom Fowler & Ming Doyle
Less superhero comic and more adventure series, Archer & Armstrong is the kind of book only Hunter S. Thompson could love.
It’s a bizarre trip filled with Nunjas (ninja nuns, naturally), Hitler clones turned holy monks, spirit monkeys, aliens, and lots booze. Armstrong is an immortal with a serious drinking problem and Archer is the politest assassin to ever grace a comic page.
Month after month, this title ramps up the insanity. There’s even a healthy dose of social commentary in these pages, although it’s usually peppered with so much humor and madness, it never feels preachy.
Unity is the newest Valiant kid on the block, but it’s also the title most closely tied to the other books. Basically, this is about a super team assembled to battle X-O Manowar. That premise will no doubt evolve, but so far this book serves as a solid companion to the main X-O title. Plain and simple, this is big, bold superhero action done right. The stakes are high. In addition to the armored Visigoth, this comic features the Eternal Warrior, Harada (of Harbinger fame) and the one and only Ninjak. If nothing else, Unity is the place to go to get your monthly Ninjak fix, and we all need more Ninjak in our life, guys.
The themes of Harbinger are probably those that comic fans are most familiar with. This is the story of two incredibly powerful psychics who are set on very different paths and, understandably, clash. Lines are drawn as each man finds other empowered youths and attempts to bring them to their side. Fans of the X-Men comics will find a lot to love here, but Harbinger takes things a step further. Imagine a world where Magneto has won, not with war, but rather corporate takeovers and capital gain. That’s Harada, a guy set on making the world a better place, but only if he’s the one running it. On the other end you have Pete and the Renegades, a group of super powered teens bent on taking Harada down and exposing him to the world for what he really is. It’s an underdog tale and a bloody one at that.
Shadowman is the place to go for your horror fix. The tale of Jack Boniface and the Deadside is packed with demons, spirits and gore. Jack is the current Shadowman, a figure charged with keeping the dark things at bay and protecting the world of the living. What makes this title work is Jack's reluctance to accept his role and the deep New Orleans mythology. It’s bleak stuff and things rarely work out of our hero, but that’s part of the book's intrigue. A new creative team recently stepped into the book, and it has become a must-read comic. If you like the darker things in life - the blood, gore and evil - then Shadowman is the Valiant comic for you.
Eternal Warrior is the story of Gilad, an immortal with some serious family issues. The book skips back in forth in time, jumping back to tell tales in the past and, in the most recent issues, jumping forward thousands of years into a bleak future populated by nuclear powered robots. It fully takes advantage of its lead character’s immortality and holds nothing back in the story department. Plus, when it comes to action, Eternal Warrior takes the cake. Tons of sword fights, gun brawls and the like fill these pages and man, it is all great. If you are looking for a Valiant book that stands all on its own, this is a title to check out.
Bloodshot often reads like a pitch for the perfect 90s action movie. A nano-bot powered super soldier who goes rogue and hunts down his former handlers? Sign up Jean-Claude Van Damme and get this thing greenlit. If you are the type of reader who likes to see the lead character take some abuse, this is the comic for you. Bloodshot has had his face ripped off, his arms broken, his body chainsawed and just about every other horrific torture you can think of. He takes a licking, for sure, but always comes back and dishes out his own violent justice. Recently, this monthly put Bloodshot at the head of H.A.R.D. Corps (sounds like "hardcore"), a group of super-powered black-op soldiers who have clashed with Harada from Harbinger.
These new characters have really energized the title and added a whole new layer of betrayal, violence and mystery.
Quantum & Woody is offensive, dirty and borderline racist. It’ll attack your sensibilities and dare you to laugh at two of the most awful characters to ever populate a comic book. It also happens to be freaking fantastic. The tale of two very different brothers and one genetically-modified goat, Quantum & Woody manages to have a huge amount of heart. Mixed in all that violence and potty humor are these two guys trying to remember that family always comes first. It’s this emotional core that propels the title even when it’s bathed in sex jokes and political commentary. Plus, the impact of the goat cannot be understated.