Writer: Andy Diggle & Alex Paknadel Art: Doug Braithwaite Publisher: Valiant Comics
WHAT IS IT?
The first issue of a 4-issue miniseries about an immortal warrior and the magical, young girl he has to defend against a dark power.
It feels very Conan the Barbarian, or in the vein of other magical warrior fantasy.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Evil alien Imperatrix Virago infects worlds with a terrible necromantic plague that harvests the energy of entire biomes — plants, animals, people, everything. She uses that energy for her own, selfish reasons, like to look young again. She’s set her sights on the next planet ripe for draining: Earth. And she’s looking for someone called The Geomancer. On the side of the angels is Gilad, an immortal warrior. It’s his job to protect The Geomancer, Tama, a young girl with the power to connect with the earth, the afterlife, animal spirits, and, well, every living thing. But can Gilad protect Tama and repel Virago and her hordes? Or will the immortal Imperatrix figure out how to kill them both, and drain the earth and its creatures for her own, selfish desires?
Longtime Valiant readers will recognize the Eternal Warrior, but this is the perfect place for readers new to the publisher and character to jump on
The story takes place on Earth, but it seems like an area or a time where there isn't much human presence
Without knowing the Valiant Universe or timeline, the only thing that lets me know this doesn't take place in early human history is when the heroes visit a decommissioned black site that looks like a bunker
Doug Braithwaite was born to draw fantasy
His pencils possess both a timeless quality and also harken back to that golden age of fantasy cinema, the 1980s
Villarrubia & Rodriguez's colors are truly impressive
When the venue is an alien planet in outer space, their palette is made from pastels that seem Moebius-inspired
When on Earth, that color palette shifts to warm tans, with blue accents to draw the eye
At the point of the Incursion on Earth, the color of the laser lights and alien forces are bright and ethereal, at war with the nature around them
Boiled down, this is a story about the people who protect life vs the types of people who would lay waste to universes to boost their own ego or for similarly shallow reasons
It's a real shame this story can't mirror any current events
Syntilla's nuanced character is definitely appreciated
Loved her "I'm Syntilla. I'm older than I look."
There's a Punk Mambo (Cullen Bunn & Adam Gorham's new comic) sneak peek in the back of the issue!
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Fairly visceral violence means maybe this isn't the best title for kids
This first issue does a lot of necessary set-up and world-building with a limited cast
Two writers, a line artist, and multiple levels of editorial make me wonder if the miniseries will feel sterile through multiple layers of creative second-guessing
Basically, it could be "too many cooks in the kitchen"
However, I'm unfamiliar with Valiant -- this could just be how they typically work
Also, this could mean that Valiant really want to get this right, as it has the potential to bring in many new readers and seems to also be part of their big plans for this year and next
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Valiant and the creative team bring us what will surely be an epic, action-packed, no-hold-barred, sci-fi/fantasy tale. You don't have to know anything about the Valiant Universe to enjoy this 4-issue miniseries, and the creative team is so talented, you can be certain it'll be one hell of a story.
Do not sleep on this one!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Arcadia by Alex Paknadel & Eric Scott Pfeiffer
Thief of Thieves by Andy Diggle, Robert Kirkman & Shawn Martinbrough
Conan the Barbarian by Jason Aaron & Mahmud A. Asrar
If you like the art:
Incursion #2 by Andy Diggle, Alex Paknadel & Doug Braithwaite
Secret Invasion: Thor by Matt Fraction & Doug Braithwaite
Red Sonja by Amy Chu & Andrea Mutti
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Andy Diggle – Writer
Multitalented: Used to be an editor for long-time British hit comic, 2000 AD
Outlander: From South London
Alex Paknadel – Writer
On the Rise: His massive talent writing titles like Friendo, Arcadia, Turncoat, Kino and more has brought him attention and critical acclaim by the boatload in 2018 & 2019
Dream Team: Is part of White Noise Studio with other extremely talented writers, Ryan O'Sullivan, Ram V & Dan Watters, as well as the wildly skilled Caspar Wijngaard
Has a PhD in English literature
Doug Braithwaite – Penciller
Award Winner: He and 61 other comics creators set 2 Guinness World Records: the Fastest Production of a Comic Book and Most Contributors to a Comic Book
Dream Team: Has worked with such talented writers as Garth Ennis & Matt Fraction
José Villarrubia – Colorist
Multitalented: Is a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art
Moniker: His full name is José Antonio Villarrubia Jiménez-Momediano
Illustrated the core rulebook of the Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of tabletop game
Diego Rodriguez – Colorist
Outlander: Lives in Argetina
Loves Heavy Metal & Death Metal
Marshall Dillon – Letterer
Test of Time: Has been working in comics for over 25 years
Multitalented: Has done most comic jobs except for drawing a comic
Drew Baumgartner – Assistant Editor
Started at Valiant as an Editorial intern
As of his hiring date, had "an A+ moustache"
As of the date this review was written, minus 24 hours, Baumgartner's Twitter shows that he still has a moustache, though its grade is unclear
David Menchel – Associate Editor
Valiant claims Menchel "played a critical role in helping to develop Valiant’s recently announced BREAKTHROUGH lineup of titles"
Was promoted around the same time Baumgartner was brought onto the team full-time
Multitalented: Also writes novels
Joseph Illidge – Editor
Though credited as "Editor" in this issue, he left Valiant in December of 2018
Was previously Executive Editor at Valiant & Senior Editor at Lion Forge
His open letter announcing his intent to work as an independent entity can be found here
Robert Meyers – Senior Editorial Director
Valiant promoted Robert Meyers to his current role at about the same time as the other aforementioned hires & promotions
Started at Valiant in 2013 as an intern
HOW DO I BUY IT?
This first issue will debut Jan. 20th.
Look for it here:
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