INCURSION, ISSUES #1-4
Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Writer: Andy Diggle & Alex Paknadel Art: Doug Braithwaite Publisher: Valiant Comics
WHAT IS IT?
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, but also 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?
Issue #2 Update:
Young Tama is infected with the necromantic virus. This issue defines her relationship with the Earth a little further: specifically the part about how if she dies, so does the planet. Gilad has to save her before the world decays entirely. He turns to Doctor Mirage for help, because she has experience with the dead. After all, the widow communes with her husband regularly. There are two ways to save the world, but only one way to save Tama. The way is difficult and the outcome is uncertain. And he must journey through the hellish Deadlands in order to do it. As Virago rapidly ages and Tama's condition declines, the stakes have never been higher for the Eternal Warrior!
Issue #3 Update:
Chaos abounds on Earth! The heroes of the Valiant Universe, including X-O Manowar, Punk Mambo and others, try to hold the line, fighting hordes of undead. We get more insight into Syntilla's past, and The Eternal Warrior shares an experience with someone who was once in a position similar to hers. Syntilla still seems unwilling or unable to save Tama and stand up to Virago. Imperatrix Virago sends an absolute unit after Gilad while she, herself, makes her way to Tama. But she has to get through Shan and Hwen, first...
Issue #4 Update:
It all comes down to this! Shan defends Tama while Gilad makes a necessary sacrifice. Will it work? Will it be enough to stop Virago? And what will the fallout be from the Eternal Warrior's grave, yet potentially lifesaving, decision?
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 but 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
You don't need any knowledge of Valiant's "Eternal Warrior" to enjoy this comic
Syntilla's nuanced character is definitely appreciated – loved her "I'm Syntilla. I'm older than I look."
Specific to Issue #2
While you should still read the 1st issue, issue #2 is still a great jumping-on point for this miniseries
Between the catch-up page at the beginning of the issue and context clues throughout, you get all the information you need
Bits of humor add comic relief and texture to the story (Amy, the Deadlands demon is my favorite example of this)
Marshall Dillon's sound effect work makes effective use of the small space he has to work with
Specific to Issue #3
Very cool seeing other Valiant heroes make an appearance. It's always weird in other publishers' books when there's a threat to the entire world and there're only 5 heroes available.
The fight with Kotila is a pretty badass, and Gilad solves it in a way only he can, which is clever
It's so strange how Syntilla is treated with kid gloves, yet, her powers kill and destroy, and she outlives so many creatures (as illustrated in the scene talking about the birds)
As the action ramps up, Dillon's SFX do too, for big, colorful, dynamic moments
Specific to Issue #4
Braithwaite has one page filled with action that he divides panels with swords, and it's such a bloody, fantastic way of conveying their battle. Take a peek at it below.
As always with Alex Paknadel, there are some fantastic one-liners. I'd quote them here, but...spoilers! But his action scene banter is some of the best.
Marshall Dillon's sound effect work this issue are my favorite in the series, and his hand-drawn balloons for Hwen are perfectly ghostly
Doug Braithwaite draws fight scenes like no other. From the brutally dynamic pages to the action-packed 12-panel grid that foreshadows imminent events, this final issue is a real banger.
The carrion bloom is terrifying, and Tama's power, shown on a brilliant splash page is even more so.
The idea of Tama wanting to go on the swings and our great hero defeated by a lack of money feels so normal and comically anachronistic for such a high fantasy sci-fi story. They almost seem like a normal family if it weren't for all the dark shadows cast over their future by the events that just transpired.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Fairly visceral violence means maybe this isn't the best title for kids.
Everything feels constrained to fit 4 issues. Parts of the story could be more fun or harder-hitting if given some more time and attention.
Similarly, or perhaps because of this, panels contain so much action that it can sometimes be difficult to tell what exactly is going on in them. It's only once or twice an issue, but it can make you pause for a minute.
Braithwaite is listed only as the penciller, which makes me wonder if the inker isn't credited for their work on this comic.
The first issue does a lot of necessary set-up and world-building with a limited cast.
This isn't so much something that didn't work as something to keep in mind. Incursion is different from Alex Paknadel's other work. Don't come into this expecting the same socio-political commentary you've seen in Kino, Friendo, or Arcadia. This is much more of a summer blockbuster type of story. It's not bad in the least, and you still get that Paknadel cleverness that you may have come to expect, but it's definitely a change.
Specific to Issue #2
I wish they slowed down Gilad's odyssey through the Deadlands, because what we do get to see looked epic and incredible.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Valiant and the creative team bring us an epic, action-packed, no-holds-barred, sci-fi/fantasy tale deserving of its own heavy metal soundtrack. You don't have to know anything about the Valiant Universe or the Eternal Warrior to enjoy this 4-issue miniseries.
By the end of it, our characters set off on a new path very different from the one they started on – neither of them will be the same. And isn't that what a big comic event should do? Incursion is a necessary read for our characters, defining the road ahead of Gilad and Tama. Do not sleep on this one, especially if you're a fan of epic fantasy!
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
If you like the art:
Conan the Barbarian by Jason Aaron & Mahmud A. Asrar
Secret Invasion: Thor by Matt Fraction & Doug Braithwaite
Red Sonja by Amy Chu & Andrea Mutti
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Andy Diggle – Story
Multitalented: Used to be an editor for long-time British hit comic, 2000 AD
Outlander: From South London
Alex Paknadel – Story & Script
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 (issue #1 only)
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
Leonardo Paciarotti – Colorist (issue #4 only)
Outlander: Hails from Spain
Is a big fan of art by Adam Hughes, Alex Ross & Jim Lee
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 (issue #1 only)
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?
The second issue hits April 17th.
You can find the first issue here:
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