Category Archives: Reviews – Valiant

Blurred on a ‘Wire

Livewire #1
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artists: Raúl Allén & Patricia Martín
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Cover artists: Adam Pollina, Harvey Tolibao, Paulina Ganucheau & Doug Braithwaite
Editor: David Menchel & Joseph Illidge
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

I’ve never had much of an attachment to the Valiant brand. I’ve read and enjoyed a few Valiant titles — from the 1990s to today — but not that many, so I’m not well versed on the publisher’s continuity or lore. However, when I heard writer Vita Ayala was helming this new title, my interest was piqued immediately. She’s a powerful new voice in comics, and her star is rising rapidly in the industry for good reason. Furthermore, it seemed to me as though she was crafting a new character, a new property for the Valiant line. Boy, was I wrong. As I made my way through these pages, I was more than a little confused, and I quickly discovered Livewire is far from a new character. I soon learned she’s been around for a quarter century, and that history definitely plays a role in this new title. Livewire appears to have been fashioned specifically for the Valiant devotee, and that leaves readers such as myself out in the cold. That inaccessibility is a shame, as there’s some strong characterization serving as the foundation for this story.

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Alphabet Soup

Ninja-K #5
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Tomas Giorello
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: A Larger World Studios
Cover artists: Trevor Hairsine, Lucas Troya, Tonci Zonjic, Kenneth Rocafort and Philip Tan
Editor: Warren Simons
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

I read a couple of the early issues of Ninjak when it was launched under the Acclaim Comics brand in the 1990s, and it was some standard super-hero fare, featuring a teenage hero clearly designed to evoke memories of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Oh, but how the property has changed now that it’s changed hands a couple of times. I really had no idea what Ninja-K was about when I scanned these pages, and I was surprised and struck by what I found. What impressed the most about this issue was how accessible it is. This reads like the final chapter of the opening story arc, but I had absolutely no problem catching up on the story through the well-crafted exposition. Ninja-K is an adeptly executed super-hero comic, immersed in the espionage genre.

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Klang, Klang, Klang, Went the Folly

Quantum and Woody! v.3 #1
Writer: Daniel Kibblesmith
Artist/Colors: Kano
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover artists: Julian Totino Tedesco (regular)/Geoff Shaw, Neal Adams, Clayton Henry & Nick Pitarra (variants)
Editor: Danny Khazem
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

I was a big supporter and fan of Quantum and Woody going back to when Priest and “Doc” bright first launched the book under the Acclaim/Valiant banner… 20 years ago?!? Jesus! Has it been that long? It’s a testament to the unique nature of the property those creators crafted two decades ago that Valiant delivers a revival now. This one succeeds in recreating the non-linear approach for which Priest is so well known, but as for the look of the book, artist Kano offers something quite different. The unconventional panel layouts matches the unconventional plotting and pacing. That means Quantum and Woody! (new and improved, I suppose, because now the title boasts an exclamation point) isn’t an easy or accessible comic book. It’s a good one, though, and if the reader is up to the challenge, s/he’ll find the experience a rewarding and amusing one.

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Future Imperfect

Faith and the Future Force trade paperback
Writer: Jody Houser
Artists: Stephen Segovia, Barry Kitson, Diego Bernard; Juan Castro, Card Nord & Brian Thies
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover artist: Kano
Editor: Warren Simons
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Price: $9.99 US

My knowledge of any incarnation of the Valiant Universe is limited; the only Valiant-related title I ever followed with any regularity was The Second Life of Dr. Mirage in the 1990s. As for Faith, despite her significant rise in popularity as a character in the latest Valiant relaunch, I really had no knowledge of her other than her non-traditional body shape for the genre and the fact that she can fly. I’ve been curious about the character, given online chatter I’ve seen, but I generally attributed her higher profile to the fact that she’s a plus-sized character with which segments of the comics-reading audience could identify. Her titular role in Faith and the Future Force and the pleasing campiness of the title prompted me to give it a glance, and I’m pleased that I did. The book serves as a somewhat accessible introduction to the character, and I was surprised and entertained by what I found. Ultimately, some plot elements robs the story of tension, and the ever-shifting art styles found here are off-putting despite being crafted by some solid talent. Despite its flaws, though, this Faith and the Future Force collection is worth a look, especially given the affordable price, which is two thirds of the total cost of the original issues.

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Paranormal Activities

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1
Writer: Jen van Meter
Artist: Roberto de la Torre
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover artist: Travel Foreman
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US (regular)/$4.99 US (plus edition)

I haven’t delved into the recent revival of the Valiant/Acclaim super-hero line, which offers new, fresh spins (I assume) on a variety of unconventional concepts that enjoyed a surprisingly level of popularity in the 1990s, driven in part by the speculator boom of that era. I never had much of an attachment to those characters, though I certainly tried checked out of a few of those comics. I was a major fan of Quantum & Woody, but it was the creators on that book, not the Valiant brand, that drew me in. However, I did have some fondness for one of Acclaim’s lesser-known titles: The Second Life of Dr. Mirage, featuring the adventures of a spectral hero and his still-living wife, though much of my appreciation of that comic stemmed from the work of artist Bernard Chang. Nevertheless, the name “Dr. Mirage” was enough of a nostalgia trigger to get me to delve into this latest iteration of the Valiant Universe of the first time. I liked the intensity and emotion that come out quite effectively in the script, but when I reached the end of the issue, I wasn’t all that driven to find out what happens next in the story, and that hook is a rather vital component in serial comics.

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