By Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Paolo Rivera
Here we are (finally): The Valiant. It’s a battle ten millennia in the making and it’s a book that has an absolute all-star set of creators. Valiant has been promoting and teasing us with The Valiant for so long, it seemed as though we might never see the issue. But, regardless of the length of time they’ve been promoting this and teasing us and telling us it’s coming, it’s been worth the wait. This already has the makings of something big, you can just feel it.
Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, quite frankly, are superstars. It’s an absolute treat to have Lemire join Valiant and together with Kindt The Valiant #1 might be one of the best issues that Valiant has put out yet. Gilad, The Eternal Warrior, is a fantastically interesting character who, up to this point, might not have had the right spotlight shining on him. His solo series was pretty good, and he’s been a good buddy-character for Ninjak in Unity, but he just hasn’t felt as important as he does now. Lemire and Kindt have not only made the character feel more important, they’ve added to him and even as far as logically explaining those telltale scars on his face (bravo, by the way). While Gilad took a front seat in this issue their work on Valiant-staples like Bloodshot, the Geomancer Kay, and even Armstrong was tight and focused with a real sense that they understand the characters. These two, together, are scary good and this will undoubtedly only get better as this mini-series moves forward.
The real treat of this issue, however, might be the work of Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) who took the ideas from Lemire and Kindt and absolutely ran with it. Rivera shows off character work that should be considered a master class called: “THIS IS HOW YOU DRAW F**KING COMICS!” A scene as, generally, boring as a character giving back ground for the reader, as was the case with Kay, was turned into something wonderful and brilliantly executed. Frankly, more time was spent looking at the expressions and the hand gestures and body language than what she was saying. Most artists might hate the nine panel page, but Rivera took it and killed it, to death, repeatedly. After he finished the page, he undoubtedly slammed his pencil to the floor and walked away, “Rivera, out!”
In all seriousness, Paolo Rivera put the entire comics industry on notice with his work. From the fantastic jungle battle with Bloodshot and a seeming nod to his Daredevil work as Bloodshot uses his Nanites to try and pilot some crazy tank-thing, to his absolute stunning character designs, throughout the ages, of both Gilad and The Immortal Enemy he has created something special. Fully and completely.
After something as spectacular as Armor Hunters Valiant doesn’t slow down; instead, it picks up the pace and puts something of this caliber in front of you, with a smirk. This is the kind of stuff you need to be reading. It’s setting the bar for all other books, not just within Valiant, and it might just make you reconsider some of the books you’re pulling when you try and compare them to this. The Valiant is yet another reason; one of many, that Valiant deserves to be on your pull list. How the hell can they top themselves next? Only they can answer that one, folks.