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Review: Harbinger #24

This is it! After two years of being manipulated and hunted by Toyo Harada, Peter Stanchek and the Renegades lay all the cards on the table and NOTHING will ever be the same again!

Joshua Dysart has been promising major changes to Harbinger with his current “Death of a Renegade” storyline and he has delivered on all accounts! After last issues shocking death of the team’s sexy fire bird, Flamingo, fans have stood slack-jawed for what would come next. Be fair warned, by the stunning conclusion of this issue, every aspect of the Harbinger series will be completely changed!

In a medium that treats death of characters with as little respect or second thought as a used tissue, Joshua Dysart is one of the few writers that takes the time for the emotional weight to register with his characters. Even amidst the chaos of Peter and Toyo’s epic battle, the individual remorse and regret felt by the rest of the Renegades is what drives this issue past the shackles of the normal “grieving issue” and into something astounding. Dysart takes the time for each character to ponder their own actions during the tragic event, brewing up a maelstrom of emotion that is rarely seen in current comics. From guilt and being overwrought with sadness to deflection and levity, Dysart makes each moment feel real and connects his characters to the reader even more so than he has in the past. That connection and depth of character development is what continually makes Harbinger one of the best reads on the market month after month. You owe it to yourself to grab it as soon as you can!

Destruction on a physical and emotional level awaits you this issue. The teacher and the student will war until the very fabric of the Valiant Universe changes and you will be on the ground floor to witness it! After this issue, I have no idea where Peter Stanchek, the Renegades or even Harada will be — but I truly cannot wait to find out!

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Review: Unity #1

When it comes to company crossovers, fans are generally more excited by the hype of a product then the final execution of it. There is always something lacking. Weak story, exclusions of characters or just plain horrible endings make the “big event” seem minimal and contrived by the time it wraps up. But here, with Valiant’s Unity, there is no wrap up, there is no “big event” because this ongoing book IS the “big event” month after month!

Superstar writer, Matt Kindt, helms the tale of all the biggest, baddest beings in the Valiant Universe coming together to stop a single, common threat — X-O Manowar! That’s right, Valiant’s flagship character and hero(?) decides that it is time his people have reparations for the hundreds of years they have been missing from earth. He stakes his claim and the world responds with threats of their own, but mere armies are no match for the power of the Visigoth and his armor. So, in secret, other powerful beings unite to stand against such a threat, but are even they enough to overcome the sheer might of the Manowar?! Maybe!

This is how you do “big events” in comics, “Big Two” take note! Kindt lays everything out on the table, A + B =C and we are off to the races! Fans of any Valiant book will be thrilled not only because it corresponds to almost every other book Valiant creates, but because the story is so imbedded in the rich history of their entire Universe! But, the biggest draw, is that ANY comic fan can pick up this series and fully understand exactly what is happening!

Kindt is a master of storytelling, slowing the pace to inform the reader of the background of the characters (giving each their own splash page) before blasting you with all out chaos and carnage the next moment. The tale is rich enough to hold sway over the reader looking for more than just a brawl infused slugfest but not pretentious enough to know when to let go and have some amazing fight sequences. Just like the characters assembled in the book, the story is a myriad of layers that culminate in one fantastic entity that will blow you away!

With outstanding interiors by Doug Braithwaite and a perfect tale by Matt Kindt, this is THE  book every comic fan should be reading. There is no excuse to miss the further solidification of an already honed universe — the Valiant Universe! Where “big events” don’t just happen once a year but everyday!

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Review: Archer & Armstrong #10

A brand new story arc awaits you in this months pages of Archer & Armstrong #10! Slightly building off of what we learned from last months amazing zero issue, Fred Van Lente amps up the action and intrigue in a tale that mixes hilarity and truly compelling plot devices into one of the best series on the market today!

Mary-Maria comes a callin’ when Archer and Armstrong seek out information regarding Archer’s latent powers in America’s most highly secured places — Area 51! Unbeknownst to the duo, Archer’s “dead parents” souls have been trapped in Mary-Maria’s body and they want nothing more than the obliteration of their “son!” Van Lente blends perfect comedic retorts and some intrigue that will change the relationship of Archer and Armstrong and the rest of the Valiant Universe in vast ways!

The subtle hints that Van Lente reveals to the reader as his characters progress through a bevy of chaos, is what drives this series past just being an action romp. It is that underlining intrigue and genuine camaraderie that keeps the reader vested in these characters that otherwise could become another cheesy “buddy book” under a lesser skilled writer. Paired with Pere Perez’s stunningly vibrant, eye candy renditions of the characters and you have a book that will please even the most fickle of readers!

Get to your local shop now and demand Archer & Armstrong be placed on your pull list immediately! Then kindly ask them if they still have any of the 8-bit variant covers left. Donkey Kong, anyone? Too cool!

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Review: Shadowman #7

In this harrowing issue that will change the world of Shadowman forever, Jack Boniface discovers that to defend the earth from ultimate evil, he must choose to separate himself from from everything he holds dear and trust an ancient power more demonic than anything he has ever seen!

Justin Jordan pulls the gloves off for a highly intense issue that is teeming with action, moral dilemma and a final panel that will completely change the future of Jack Boniface and the Shadowman loa forever. Coming off of the single best issue to date, Shadowman #0, this issue has a hard time living up to the characterization bestowed upon us from last month but more than makes up for it in the sheer volume of action throughout. There is no time to catch your breath as all out destruction is displayed before your eyes as even the Deadside has more than it’s share of terrifying action sequences that culminates in the final pages! I don’t want to give any spoilers but a tower of impaled souls will need a few sacrifices in order to continue to grow in power!

Jordan continues to push the envelope with this series and does a perfect job of whetting the readers appetite for next months chilling issue. Besides a storyline that pushes Jack to the brink, artist Neil Edwards makes his full issue debut at Valiant comics with this issue and fans will be pleasantly pleased by the Marvel alums rendition of the Shadowman! 

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Advanced Review: X-O Manowar #12

When Aric of Dacia was bonded with the Shanhara, the X-O armor, all he dreamed of was revenge against the Vine that destroyed his life. Seething from the atrocities against himself and his people, Aric vowed to wipe all remnants of the Vine’s touch from the Universe. But, what happens when his vengeance blinds him from everything else, especially since there is a secret that proves Aric may not be the last of his kind?

Continually proving that this book is more than the sum of it’s parts, Robert Venditti crafts a fantastic tale about a warrior that may lose himself in the red rage of vengeance, thus becoming the very thing he hates the most! X-O is a true warrior’s tale that focuses not only on all out action, but the journey of a man that has lost everything. With surprises, plot twists and the general evolution of the character, Venditti has transformed a sci-fi epic into an amazing opus for the ages!

The Planet Death storyline continues to astound readers as the scope of Aric’s rage changes in this issue. Could there actually be remnants of his fellow Visigoth alive even under the Vine’s oppressive thumb? Can Aric refrain from the ultimate slaughter of the Vine in order to learn from them, be worshipped by them and to eventually coexist with them? Or will he become something more horrific, more vicious than the Vine ever where all in the name of revenge?

For the answers to everything, get X-O Manowar #12 this week and prepare yourself for Revolution to unfold next month!

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Advanced Review: Bloodshot #10

As the Harbinger Wars runs rampant through the Valiant Universe, one man must find himself in order to preserve the lives of the most powerful children in the world. Through massive amounts of blood, bullets and rendered flesh, this man will become more than just a killing machine, he will become — a father!

Duane Swierczynski (X,Punisher,Godzilla) is a master crime novelist and an extraordinaire when it comes to dark, bloody tales revolving around hatred and vengeance. In Bloodshot #10, you will receive more than your fair share of all those things but it is the further development of the Bloodshot character and his supporting cast that will truly grip you.

Though briefly touched upon in other issues, Bloodshot’s quest for his own humanity is what drives this book. When faced with protecting some of the most dangerous and powerful children ever born, this engineered weapon of mass destruction delves inward in order to dredge up every ounce of humanity in order to guide him. Though he is beaten, berated and almost mentally manipulated, he only focuses on the safety of the children. It is this surge of “fatherhood” that shatters his visage of a one dimensional character, creating instead a hero that fans will not only root for but clamor over!

With an amazing cover by fan favorite Mico Sauyan and beautifully vicious interiors by Barry Kitson, this book will become an instant “must have” for not only Valiant fans, but comic fans in general! Plus, the final page will be enough to drive fans ravenous until the next installment of Harbinger Wars hits the stands next week!

Be bold, be determined, be — Valiant!

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Advanced Review: Archer & Armstrong #9

With the deadliest amongst their ranks possessed by the Last Enemy of the Null, will anyone be left to save the earth?

An amalgam of riveting action, historical situations and all out hilarity, Fred Van Lente continually churns out some of the most interesting and engaging story lines on a monthly basis. From a certain “grassy knoll” to an equally dangerous present, Archer & Armstrong #9 culminates with a satisfying conclusion that will leave their world literally changed!

Completely mesmerizing on so many levels, Fred Van Lente and artist Emanuela Luppacchino, have created a book that mixes complex ideas with an underlining score of humor. This pairing of different aspects can come with disastrous results making a book seem too hokey and lose the reader, but Van Lente knows when to reign in the hilarity and amp up the intrigue enough to appease even the most fickle reader. 

Full of all out action and harboring an ending that will shock readers, Archer & Armstrong #9 has everything that a comic fan could ever want in a single issue! 

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Review: Shadowman #5

After saving the world and returning from the Deadside, Jack Boniface deserves a little time to relax and be himself again. Unfortunately, the Universe doesn’t rest and neither will Jack!

Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher continue their quest to make one of the most exceptional books on the market! Shadowman is not only the culmination of two fantastic talents on one incredible story, it is the mingling of genres, horror and super hero, into a stunning read every month.

Jordan and Zircher take a step back from the all out action this month in order to delve deeper into the mythos of the Shadowman and the role that Jack must play as the new heir. For long time fans of the original series, it will be a delightful stroll down memory lane as glimpses of the past are merge with interesting new ideas converging into something truly original. For newer fans, this is the perfect issue to get acquainted with he rich history involved with Shadowman, a key issue into the future of the series. Old enemies take the spotlight while new, more violent characters make their own mark in the book. Valiant fans can also rejoice at the return of a character not seen in twenty years, albeit a wholly new version of it — Dr.Mirage!

As fascinating as Jordan and Zircher’s tale of discovery and loss is, the excitement level is turned up to eleven as some of the best artistic talent in comics bring their styles to the book! Lee Garbett, Stefano Guadiano and, my personal favorite, Roberto De La Torre descend upon this issue with their artistic fervor! Using their skills to differentiate the tale between the past, present and the story of Master Darque’s quest in Deadside, these superstars, along with Patrick Zircher, make this issue a masterpiece for the eyes! It is a delight for the senses, a rare treat that ascends the book to new levels! A fantastic tale laced with perfection!

Shadowman continues to excite, bewilder and intrigue readers with every issue, don’t you think you should become a fan too?!

Be bold, be daring, be — Valiant!

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Review: X-O Manowar #9

When a threat looms in the distance that will ultimately destroy the very fabric of your world, what do you do? Do you accept the inevitable, huddling down with your loved ones in the hopes of a savior? Do you look for solutions, rallying those of the scientific field to somehow slow down the fates? Do you pray for a change of heart in those that threaten you, leaving your future in the hands of the gods?

Or, if you’re Aric of Dacia, wielder of the X-O armor, you call down the threat and stand face to face with them. Never blinking, never questioning your abilities, you just — BRING IT ON!

That fire, that fervor, that blast of emotional rallying is exactly what Robert Venditti and Trevor Hairsine will dredge up in you with the turn of every page! It is a cavalcade of revelations, bringing things that have been brewing since issue #1 to the forefront and laying them on the table. The Vine has been embedding themselves into every aspect of the Valiant Universe and it culminates in this issue. Venditti’s prose anchors you emotionally to the tale, giving you the perfect window into all the aspects that come into play, while Hairsine’s riotous battle sequences will tantalize your senses. Where most “prelude” stories give subtle hints as to what can be expected in the upcoming arc, lulling you in with intrigue and little action; X-O #9 not only “sets the stage” it completely obliterates it! 

A mingling of high intrigue and blistering battle sequences, this issue is an all out adrenaline rush that never lets up to take a breath! So, while some other books may give you a “snoozefest,” Valiant continues to amaze and delight once again!

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Review: Archer & Armstrong #6

Everything old is new again! Last month we saw the return of Valiant’s most brutal character, The Eternal Warrior, this week we see the rise of another old favorite — The Geomancer!

As our regular band of misfit heroes take a backseat this week in order to focus on another new arrival, Fred Van Lente manages to create a tale that instantly grabs readers attention and makes you yearn to know more about Kay McHenry.

She is a character that is bold and confrontational, a loaded gun of accusation easily pointed by Elliot Zorn at his competitors. But when the tough questions arise, ones that are directed at who she is and what she stands for, this strong woman is revealed to be just a facade. She is a hardened shell of a woman with no direction of her own. And finally, when she chooses a path — it’s the wrong one!

Van Lente does another fantastic job of taking Valiant characters from the past and breaking them in order to become better, more relevant today. He infuses them with such strong characteristics that they are instantly accepted by the modern reader as fan favorites, at least in my eyes, and we cannot wait for the next installment to see where they go next. He uses such a thin veil between the action, drama and comedic elements — did I mention there is a talking monkey in a dress having a tea party? — that it gently melds into a single amazing tale the captivates you. Nowhere else have I seen this done with such great poise and respect for both the characters and the readers.

No other company this week will have as many elements in a single book that Archer & Armstrong #6 does! From pirates to news correspondents, naval ships to tea drinking monkeys, immortal warriors to talking plants — you want it, they’ve got it!

So get out there and grab something different, grab something — Valiant!

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Review: Bloodshot #7

With the shocking ending to issue #6 foreshadowing events to come, Duane Swierczynsski turns back the hands of time in issue #7 and reveals to us just why Bloodshot is known in some circles as “The Bogeyman!”

Not an origin, more like a blood soaked waltz down implanted memory lane, this issue reveals to us even more of the horrific manipulation Bloodshot has been subjected to. This tale breaks the consciousness of a multi-faceted man into a singularly driven weapon, one that can be pointed anywhere with startling results! As long as he is being told that his daughter is held captive with other children, “Ray” will allow himself to be deployed into the most heinous areas of battle in order to ensure their survival. Unfortunately, him “saving” them is not always what the children want!

Swierczynski and Clark churn out one of the most action packed books month after month and this one is more of the gory same. Intense action, dramatic characterization and shocking intrigue, Bloodshot is a book that will satiate every action junkie’s need while giving enough emotional duress to keep us vested in the characters. And there are plenty of “new” characters in this issue to intrigue us all!

This issue is the one that will pave the way for the biggest crossover the new Valiant Universe has ever seen! Harbinger Wars is on the lips of comics fans everywhere, and this is where the trigger event is that will start it all!

Cast aside all those other crossovers that promise “big” things that never deliver, Harbinger Wars is coming and nothing remains unscathed!

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Advanced Review: Shadowman #3

Shadowman must dive into the belly of the beast and survive the hollow coldness of the Deadside. It’s not the battle he must wage there but the decisions he makes that will forever change the course of his life. Can he be content living as just Jack or does he need to become Shadowman in order to truly live?

Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher meld their wildly imaginative writing talents to bring to you a story of discovery and sacrifice that will solidify Shadowman as one of the best books of 2013! Between the fever pitch action, the soul searching drama and the off the wall circumstances our characters find themselves in, there is something to please every fan no matter what their favorite genre is. 

Shadowman is a timeless tale of self discovery where the roads to our future are paved with bricks from our past. But what if the past is unknown to us and our future is strewn with things that are too strange to be real, things that cannot be conceived by the minds of mortal men. Who can take us where we need to be, who can show us who we can become? And, what if the answers to those questions are mired in shadow, where even a flicker of truth is scarier than not knowing at all? These are the questions posed by Jordan and Zircher each month. These are the ideas and plot threads that make Shadowman such a compelling read that never falters to deliver it’s promise of excellence. It is the protagonist’s sheer uncertainty about his actions in the face of horrendous odds that anchors us in our seats, breathlessly awaiting the turn of the next page!

Shadowman may be freezing in the Deadside but things are just heating up in Jordan and Zircher’s tale. This is the issue that will bring everything to a head, creating a scattered front against Mr. Twist and his master. Decisions will be made, friends may fall and the past emerges from the ether. This is a quintessential read for this week! Only one book is worthy of having the moniker “Superior” — Shadowman!

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Advanced Review: X-O Manowar #8

There has been a tense truce made between two completely different warriors. One has the guile and skill of the world’s top assassin, the other is a brash, brutal, headstrong warrior that barges into battle with a cry on his lips and a sword in his hand. Together they must put their animosity aside in order to do something no one else can — save the world!

Robert Venditti continues to steer Valiant’s flagship title to new heights of amazement! Issue eight is a tense, testosterone fueled cornucopia of mass destruction that will make you giddy with excitement. Secret government agents, disguised aliens, the British air force, lasers, throwing stars, a flying Visigoth, spin kicks and two sword wielding warriors! What doesn’t this book have? In a word — NOTHING! This issue is an absolute insane trip of action at it’s best and it will only get better from here! But, don’t think it is just all about devastation and mayhem either. 

Venditti has sown in some very interesting plot twists amidst the chaos of battle as well. The status quo of the Valiant Universe will begin to shift due to the actions taken in this issue. Characters are evolved past their “supporting cast” roles and it will make for some very interesting plotlines in the upcoming issues. We will begin to see things develop that have been hinted at since issue one, but Aric may not be ready for the subtlety it will take to dwell in this modern world. It is about to become a much darker place in the Valiant Universe and this issue is the one that will eventually lead to the widely anticipated “Planet Death” storyline coming in 2013!

If you are ready for an action packed issue that will completely blow you away — wait no longer! Storm your local comic shop and demand for it by name! X-O Manowar! The best flagship title you can get your grubby little hands on!

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Advanced Review: Harbinger #7

A trio runs from near death at the hands of Toyo Harada, two of them are psiots while the third — a mere mortal. But it is this mortal’s cunning that has been keeping the trio alive. Her sheer will to live has given them time to escape, time to heal their wounds and most importantly — time to plan. This trio is done with being chased into hiding, they are finished with being hunted, it is time to recruit others to their cause of justice. It is time to prepare for war!

Harbinger #7 is an in depth look at the newest recruit in the war against Harada — Flamingo!  It is a harrowing look at how a young woman, Charlene Dupre, has gone from a small town ‘bad girl” to a used and abused denizen of backwoods hell. Her tale is one all to often seen in reality, making the reader instantly connect with her on an emotional level. We may not agree with her choices or lifestyle, but we can empathize with her inner turmoil and outward pain. It is tough to “watch” her tale as we are led down memory lane from her perspective, but it is these kind of stories that make this book continually a “must buy” every month! The sheer amount of depth given to this character in but a single issue is astonishing!

Joshua Dysart is a maestro at creating powerful characters. Not just with their outward psiot abilities, but with the fractured beings underneath all that power, the “human” aspect that gives great range and duality to the character. Each character is completely multifaceted, creating a world that the reader is emotionally tethered to despite all of the “super powered” things going on in it. It is the “grounding” of the characters in an insane world that makes this book completely unique in the genre and it has captured the hearts of a new generation of Valiant readers!

Sultry, stunning and completely sensational, Harbinger #7 is the pinnacle of character driven stories! So, don’t miss the debut of the next amazing character in the Valiant universe — Flamingo! Believe me, she’s totally “hot!”

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Advanced Review: Bloodshot #6

For all of the Bloodshot fans out there, we all know that there are BIG changes coming for our abused “anti-hero.” But what exactly are those changes going to be? By the final page you will know and you will be completely blown away!

This issue sees Bloodshot continue to storm Project Rising Spirit in search of his “stolen” memories, but what awaits him is a bevy of grotesque assassins known collectively as — CHAINSAW! 

Riddled with bullets, blood and mayhem, Bloodshot #6 is an action packed barrage to the senses that won’t let up until you are gasping for breath! It is a rigorous journey alongside a character that is not just a one dimensional killing machine, but rather, a complex “anti-hero” that strives to retain the humanity he once had in the face of horrors that never stop. At its core, it is an expose’ about the human condition and how all we truly need in life to be happy is to matter to someone. To be excepted and loved for who we are and how bitterly we will fight to get back that sense of “home” once it has been stripped away from us. It is an idea that is sometimes lost under the layers of blood and discord that is ever present in the pages of this book, but it is always there driving this series ever forward.

But, don’t get me wrong — there is plenty of action, surprises and revelations in this issue to more than whet your appetite for all things that go boom! Would the series really be called Bloodshot if Duane Swierczynski wasn’t going to continually assault your senses with more action than a “summer blockbuster” movie? I think not!

So, lace up your boots, check your supplies and put on a poncho — this one’s going to be messy! The battle against Project Rising Spirit and their horrific creations named CHAINSAW, has begun. The fight for one man’s humanity continues, but he just might lose what little he had left in order to get there. After this — everything changes!

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Advanced Review: Archer & Armstrong #5

Are you ready for the explosive debut of The Eternal Warrior to the all-new Valiant Universe? Even if you think you are ready, believe me, you are NOT!

Continuing immediately after the events of Archer & Armstrong #4, our oddly paired heroes are on the run after the death of a Geomancer, which in turn, unleashes the wrath of The Eternal Warrior! Chaos ensues as Armstrong must try to slow his brother down so his ally can escape. But can even Armstrong’s sheer brute strength be enough to stop a being purely fueled by rage with an immortality to rival his own? It’s a possibility that issue six may only have one moniker in the title!

Steeped in flashback sequences, issue five gives us a look at the past history between Armstrong and The Eternal Warrior. It is a brutal and tense relationship, one that focuses on how completely different the brothers are — mimicking the relationship between Archer and Armstrong in the present. It is a pitch perfect tale, giving the reader a sense of direction and information about such a powerful character without making it feel forced or losing the feel of the story running concurrently with the flashbacks. It is a good juxtaposition between the past and present of the Valiant Universe, making the future storylines even more rich for doing so. 

Fred Van Lente has created a series that is at the pinnacle of perfection and is a crowning jewel in the Valiant Universe! Every issue is filled to the brim with enthralling action sequences, compelling characterization and a sense of wonderment that can only be rivaled by the heaping amounts of fun you will enjoy while reading it again and again! There is no telling how far he will take us on this wild ride but I for one, have become a fan for life!

Be bold, be daring, be — Valiant!

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Review: Shadowman #2

The second book under the “Shadowman” moniker is actually a first real look at the rest of the cast of the book. While Jack Boniface takes a backseat this issue, we get to understand the “hows” and “whys” of almost all the other characters — including the nefarious Mr. Twist! 

Beginning with one of the best first pages I have read in a long time, Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher have created a slow-burn issue that answers some gnawing questions while dredging up even more. It is a focus on the history of the characters that will direct and “misdirect’ the actions of Jack Boniface for the future. A well thought out character piece that not only furthers the initial story revealed in issue one, but also helps to solidify the “world” of Shadowman for the readers. The cast of characters are so intrinsic to each other that it only makes sense to delve into their motivations at such an early start to the series and this writing duo does it flawlessly!

While the story may burst with action and intrigue, Patrick Zircher’s true contribution to this book is his gorgeous art! From squirming demon slugs to a “little person” with a firearm, Zircher makes this book absolutely come alive on the page. It is thoroughly en”gross”ing and utterly entrancing to gaze upon the images on every page, he is a true talent no matter which hat he may be wearing at the time! Just check out this interior panel to understand exactly what I mean: 

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Shadowman #2 is a shining star in an already brilliant Valiant Universe! It is no matter if you were a fan of the previous incarnations, with but a single issue of Jordan and Zircher’s collaboration — you will become one now!

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Review: Harbinger #5

The Harada Foundation has been built to train and enhance the psychic potential of humanity. To help them become the best at their own abilities, to evolve them further than they would have been able to on their own. All this for the betterment of the world at large. Or so they are told!

Issue five of this amazing series, will wrap up the initial storyarc and eviscerate a path into the next one! Toyo Harada and Peter Stancheck, the Alpha and Omega, will tear this world asunder in order to defy one another. But will the boy who rose from streets, an addict with nothing to lose, be able to stop the monster that is Toyo Harada? Not on his own! Thus begins the expansion of the Valiant Universe and the arrival of — The Renegades!

Fast paced and hard hitting, Harbinger has consistently been a top-notch book every month! Filled with emotional duress and outstanding action sequences, Joshua Dysart has taken a concept and characters from the past and evolved them to a level that outshines everything that came before! The character of Peter Stancheck, is such a sorrowful icon – a character that is broken emotionally and is continually left to suffer. He literally has nothing left after this issue and that makes him a very dangerous character. One that we, as readers, can identify and empathize with. He is the everyman bestowed with a power that others seek to exploit with a chesire grin on their lips and a knife behind their back. 

This is the defiance issue, where some background characters make a decision to push themselves to the forefront and finally do something about the tyranny of Harada. It is a fundamental need to preserve oneself, but at what cost. Is it worth the lives of others in order to do so? That is the core of this book. What does it take in order for someone to do the right thing for someone else? It is a question well thought out and executed in this series, making it as effective emotionally as it is visually stunning!

This is where the battle lines have been drawn! The Valiant Universe is about to become a very different, very dangerous place and your have a front row seat!

Be bold, be daring, be — Valiant!

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Advanced Review: Archer & Armstrong #3

Fred Van Lente creates a seemingly never ending cavalcade of hilarity, excitement and action, in a book that deserves to be on everyone’s pull list!

Archer & Armstrong #3, brings the search for the pieces of the Boon full circle as Archer comes face to face with his past! Not only has he turned his back on his parents by teaming with, “He Who Must Not Be Named”, now he must explain his actions to the person he holds most dear — Mary-Maria! Plus, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Ninja Nuns!

An emotional and enthralling read that will envelop your senses; A&A is one of those books that you look forward to ever month! It is witty and exciting, mixing “alt-history” and the ensuing hijinks of the best “buddy” stories to create a truly rare book that can please any comic fan! If you blended the intrigue and action of “National Treasure” with the charismatic characters of “Lethal Weapon”, you would be somewhere near the amazement that Archer & Armstrong brings — but, only near!

Clayton Henry, Pere Perez and Matt Milla converge their artistic talents to create a stunning visual experience that will tantalize the eyes! From highly stylized action sequences to tender emotional moments, this trio makes every panel jump off the page. There is nothing wasted, every miniscule detail has been paid attention to, making seemingly simple line art into something outstanding!

But, it is Fred Van Lente’s craftsmanship of the tale that keeps you enthralled. A page turner to say the least, it is rife with intrigue and captivating moments that keep you on the edge of your seat! Characterization is what comes first in this book and it is what will keep you coming back. From the aloof buffoon to the naive assassin, we are bewildered by how good a story about polar opposite characters can be. But it works — extremely well! 

This is the first book that begins the “shared universe” of Valiant Entertainment. From here on out, you will see details from other books working their way into different stories. Although they may seem miniscule at the time, these are the stepping stones that will solidify Valiant’s titles together. So, pay attention! You are on the cusp of seeing a universe being built before your eyes! Breathe it in!

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Review: X-O Manowar #5

The “Summer of Valiant” may be coming to a close, but the comics world continues to heat up each week as another Valiant book hits the shelves! Not only does Valiant strive to push their characters forward into the hearts and minds of fans, they also are bringing some of the best comic characters back to the forefront of the industry. This week it’s — Ninjak!

Robert Venditti’s tale of a man displaced in time continues here, and we get an inside look at just how emotionally scarred Aric is from knowing everything he has ever held dear is gone. Venditti makes the reader connect on a deeper level with Aric, revealing his vulnerabilities and even his arrogance while wielding the X-O armor. A flawed man in a desperate time, Aric is someone we can sympathize with and enthusiastically root for as he unleashes his frustrations upon an unwitting world! 

The juxtaposition between the morose barbarian Aric, and the calculated assassin Ninjak — is perfect. Ancient ideas and modern concepts clash in a too short battle. Their differences are vast, while their parallels end at a mounting body count. And believe me, the bloodshed is quite staggering in this issue! All the more reason to covet this series!

A fast paced, intelligent tale — Robert Venditti delivers lightening in a bottle yet again! If you haven’t picked up this series yet, there is still time to delve into the Valiant Universe. The “Summer” may be over but the “Arcs” are just about to begin!

Be bold, be unique — be Valiant!  

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