25 years ago, Valiant Comics was born.
To celebrate, the publisher has been on a tour this spring, going to comic cons around the country, telling fans about their special event this summer, Book of Death. We caught up with Team Valiant at Special Edition: NYC this weekend where we got the low down, on this event, and everything else they have planned this summer.
Book of Death is a four issue miniseries that “will define the Valiant Universe for the next century”. X-O Manowar scribe, Robert Venditti pens this summer’s event, with the art chores split between Robert Gill (Eternal Warrior) and Doug Braithwaite (Unity). This “audacious” series will explore the entire history and future of the Valiant Universe. The Eternal Warrior, Gilad Anni-Padda, as he fights to protect the young Geomancer, Tama. Tama comes from the future, and was sent back in time by an older Gilad, and was found by him at the end of this year’s hit prestige mini-series, The Valiant. With her, she brings a book, a book with the history of the world from the present day, all the way ahead to the 41st Century. This book tells about the lives of the heroes and villains of the Valiant Universe, and their deaths.
In the spirit of the classic era Valiant comic, Rai #0, this series will flash forward and give us glimpses of the Valiant Universe to come. Each 40 page(!) issue will take place in two different eras, The lead story, with art by Gill, will tell the story of Gilad and Tama, and a second story, told parallel, which will feature events from Tama’s book. Braithwaite will be drawing those pages. If 160 pages of the Death is not enough for you, Valiant will be putting out 4 one shots, each featuring the “Fall” of one of Valiant’s most popular characters, Ninjak, Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, and Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek from Harbinger. Like the in the Book of the Geomancer, we won’t see their entire story, we will just get glimpses into their futures.
Are those 8 comics not enough for?Still want more? There will also be a second miniseries, Book of Death, Legends of the Geomancer. This four issue series tells the origins of the Geomancer. Set entirely in the Stone Age, before the days of the Anni-Padda’s, the City of Ur and the Boon, we find out how the spirit of the Earth made its first voice. Legends of the Geomancer will also be a retailer incentive book. That is, if retailers want this title, they will have to order Book of Death, and for every so many copies of Book of Death they order, they will receive a copy of Legends of the Geomancer. So if you want this book, you have to make sure to tell your local comic shop to order Book of Death.
In case you thought this summer Valiant will be all gloom and doom, they have a lot more than that planned, and that includes a wedding. Since escaping the Vine, and returning to Earth with the X-O Manowar armor, Aric of Dacia has been involved with a Visagoth woman named Shana, and now, between saving the world with Unity team, and defeating world destroying alien machines, they will get married. The event will take place in issue 38 of his comic, and it will be a special giant-sized (48 pages!) story, featuring a second story, exploring Shana’s history and her life, written by Valiant newcomer, Amy Chu, who was on hand at the panel. “Who is this woman, Saana?” is the question Chu tasked with answering for us. “She a Visagoth woman… She’s a survivor, she’s been through so much to get to this point.” After the wedding, things will not settle down for X-O, as the events after the Dead Hand story will have “immediate consequences” for the X-O, and the world.
Also coming up this summer, the companies wave of Valiant Next titles will all continue to deliver the high caliber story we have become accustom to. Ivar, Timewalker writer Fred Van Lente joined the panel, despite suffering from bit of a sore throat to make sure we all knew what was coming up in the time travel romance adventure. Ivar continues his quest to save Neela from her own future self, and now he’s calling in some help, in the form of his younger brothers, Aram (Armstrong) and Gilad (The Eternal Warrior) Of course, he doesn’t bother tell either of his brothers that the other will be joining in the trip to the end of time. Imperium continues the story of Toyo Harada trying to save the world from itself, even if the world doesn’t want it. It’s a flipped dynamic, a team of “villains” whose goal is making the world a better place. Each member of Harada’s inner cadre is a fresh take on villain trope, the killer robot (Mech Major aka Sunlight on Snow) , the monster from space (Lord Vine-99), the hired gun (Gravedog), and the latest addition to his team, the mad scientist, Broken Angel She’s a “new type of consciousness that Harada has never encountered before”, an interdimensional alien who has taken over the body of a scientist. Upcoming issues will also bring in Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine’s Divinity. The Soviet era cosmonaut with the powers of a god will also be featured in the Book of Death, before return next year in a second miniseries from the entire original team who brought you the hit prestige book this spring.
Speaking of Matt Kindt, Ninjak continues to gain raves and fans. Valiant’s resident Ninja assassin, super spy Colin King continues his mission to take down the black market arms dealer Weaponeer. Issue 4, which reaches comics shops this month will feature the story of Weaponeer’s one woman killing machine Roku. It will explore origins, and how it is tied to “Japanese mythological entity”. Hunter Gorinson, Valiant’s Director of Marketing, Communications & Digital Media talked about Kindt ability to “play with form and structure”. Using the title’s back up feature, Ninjak: The Lost Files, which explores King’s childhood and early days a spy, Kindt is building to story that will pay off in the present, in issue 12, early next year.
The final Valiant Next series, Bloodshot Reborn, from Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan, is reaching the end of it’s first arc, with the former psiot-killer, struggling with life without the nanites which gave him his powers, and without Kay McHenry, the previous geomancer, who removed them from his body, right before she died. He still sees Kay, along with a child-like cartoon version of his former self, Bloodsquirt. Is Bloodsquirt real, or is it all in is head? Can’t he be both? Bloodshot Reborn #5 may answer that question, as they’ll enter the “Squirtverse”, where they will meet squirts versions of Unity? Will there be a LiveSquirt? Ninj-Squirt? X-O Squirtowar or The Eternal Squirt? We’ll find out this August.