by Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera
Whoa. In one, fell swoop The Valiant #4 has changed the landscape of the Valiant Universe. It has been teased from the very beginning that something big was going to come out of this series, but maybe not quite as big as this. Over and over and over it’s been said how great this series is, and hopefully at least some of you listened, and the ending does not disappoint. Too many times with certain other companies, stories or events start off spectacular and end up being a terrible pile of garbage by the end, if you even make it that far. The Valiant, and indeed Valiant Comics in general, aims and succeeds in not only finishing in style, but arguably improving on each issue that came before it.
Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt need to get to planning their next team-up book within the Valiant Universe–just throwing it out there, Valiant–because The Valiant is nothing short of a masterpiece of comic creativity, characters, story and art all packed tightly, and neatly, into four easily digested issues. Aside from the sheer character brilliance and universe shaping that these two have done, they’ve done it in such a way that anybody can pick up this series, enjoy it and ultimately go seeking more from the Valiant brand. The work they’ve done with the core characters like Bloodshot, Gilad and even Ninjak is astounding, and points go to them, and again Valiant as a whole, for not trying to make their flagship character/series X-O Manowar the center of this story.
Not having thirty-nine tie-ins that drag the story out or pull it into pointless directions is another bonus because anybody on a comic budget should be able to easily afford it, especially if they choose to drop a book or two, or maybe one was cancelled, before the impending crap that’s happening elsewhere.
On art, once again, Paolo Rivera shines bright. In recent memory, there might not be another artist that has been so impressive in such a short amount of time. Sure, Rivera has done tons of great work before, but maybe not quite like this. The Valiant is something special, not just in story and to the Valiant Universe, but also in art and how Rivera impacted the look and feel of it. His expression work is second to none throughout, his scenes are epic and explosive and the designs for Mr. Flay are not only wholly frightening, but they’re a prime example of the kind of work that Paolo can do. Mr. Flay easily stands out as not only one of the best written characters, but also the best looking and best executed, new characters in a long, long time. There might not be enough words to describe the work that Paolo, along with Joe Rivera, has done on this series. The only thing left, though, might be simply to say go and check it out for yourself because words don’t do it justice.
Okay, there are a few more words to say, but not specifically about art. The Valiant is a gem in the world of comics; it’s something special that everybody who has ever said they love comics needs to pick it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the old Valiant, or you aren’t familiar with the new, what matters it that not only is this series accessible to the masses, it’s beyond description and by the time you’re done, it’ll blow you away. Jeff Lemire’s follow-up Valiant work, Bloodshot Reborn, can’t come soon enough. Of course, let’s hope there’s more Paolo Rivera somewhere in the cards as well and be sure to check out everything else you can get your hands on that has that Valiant “V”.