Okay, so Valiant Entertainment are big news. They have very high sales-per-comic, have big Chinese money, actually funded films on the way, and are kicking off their future with this month’s Book Of Death. I’ve read a number of Valiant books over the last three years since the current reboot, but I haven’t read them all. Until now.
This column will attempt to report on a month’s worth of Valiant comics eh time. so I’ll read them as they were published, in an intermingled fashion.
Which makes the first time the simplest – with X-O Manowar #1 by Robert Venditti and Cary Nord. And it starts with a timeline graph. Someone likes Jonathan Hickman…
Star Wars-style we start with two soldiers running across a hill before we see the battle, Visigoths Vs. Romans that that are just a small part of. And we meet King Alaric forced to sound the Visigth retreat against superior firepower, and Aric who doesn’t see this as an actual command. And a later skirmish see the Visigoths mistaking an alien landing crew as Romans and attack. I can see their point. Alien children re left as cuckoos and slaves are taken. But we disover the alien empire has troubles of it’s own regarding the wielding of a certain armoured weapon.
The parallels between the aliens and the Romans are clear, even in their choice of outfts. To the Visigoths, to Aric, they are both invaders with superior technology. doing the kind of things invaders do. Retribution must be taken, attack must be made and to hell with the odds. There are principles at stake and that is true the universe over.
And that’s what this comic does most successfully, Nord’s art at home in both worlds and successfully carrying the themes of one world over to another, so human or alien, Aric can see them the same and react in the same fashion. One of anger, purpose, duty and indefatigability.
It that way it mirrors many classic science fiction tales from Buck Rogers to Flash Gordon to Planet Of The Apes, someone taken out out of their time and place to somewhere so very different, yet using their standard modes of action to these new challenges and proving successful, while they stay (initially) unchanged….
There’s also a sense of scale and world building here. So many superhero universes were made up on the hoof. Here, Valiant Entertainment has the template of the old universe to build upon, and so can lay the groundwork for something more complex and planned for from the beginning.
And I’m going to watch it happen.
Next time, X-O Manowar #2 and Harbinger #1.
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