By James Asmus, Dan Schkade, Allen Passalaqua, Dave Lanphear, Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal, Bart Sears, Andrew Dalhouse, Taylor Esposito, Justin Jordan, Rafer Roberts, Daniel Kibblesmith, Pere Perez, Daniela Miwa, Dylan Todd, Karl Moline, Dave Sharpe, Tom Scharpiling, Diego Bernard, Omi Remalante, Michael Kupperman, Elliott Kalan, Kano, and Matt Kindt.
“There’s no fear when you’re having fun.”
– Will Thomas
As a title, Valiant Entertainment’s Unity has had many high points, with a few (debatably) not so high points. Many readers and fans speculated as to how the title would come to a close with the final issue Unity #25. Well, the folks at Valiant decided to end Unity with a super-sized 48-page mega issue celebration! Completed by an all-star line-up of writers and artists, it is impossible to not find something enjoyable in this issue.
It is also quite difficult to review, as Unity #25 contains more than 10 stories and/or plots by different creative teams who all have vastly different artistic approaches and/or writing styles; all bringing something both unique and special to each page. If you are a fan, then you will thoroughly enjoy this issue.
Woody and Quantum go Hollywood – James Asmus (writer), Dan Schkade (Art), Allen Passalaqua (Colors), Dave Lanphear (Letters). What do Quantum & Woody have to do with Unity? They showed up for battle (with Goat) in The Valiant, but here they do what they do best: entertain readers. James Asmus captures this perfectly, and gives fans of the series what they have been missing in recent months; MORE Quantum & Woody. Artist Dan Schkade pencils and inks this story with a light-hearted and comical style which is fully appropriate (with moments of hilarious inappropriateness of course), while colorist Allen Passalaqua brings those lines to life and works his magic well. Dave Lanphear handles the lettering, which is a component not typically discussed in reviews, however, Lanphear’s letters have their own moments of creative freedom, which only add to the fun.
Old Man Warrior – Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal (writers), Bart Sears (Art), Andrew Dalhouse (Colors), Taylor Esposito (Letters). Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal (with a brief caption by Mark Waid) tell an over-the-top (and brief) Eternal Warrior tale which is as entertaining to read as it is stunning (and nostalgic) to view. Artist Bart Sears (no kidding, classic Valiant artist there) takes a crack at the modern Valiant characters (which honestly is worth the cover price by that fact alone). Colorist Andrew Dalhouse completely nails it! The combination of Sears and Dalhouse on this works quite well. Dalhouse’s colors on this short story look every bit as vibrant and strong as the best we might expect to see in an ongoing title.
Book of Death II: The Bookening – Justin Jordan (writer), Rafer Roberts (Artist). Completely tong-in-cheek, Justin Jordan manages to tell a short story that incorporates at-least eight major Valiant characters (well, seven if you remove the “bad guy” at the end). Rafer Roberts’s art on this was raw newspaper comic art style that reminds me of several underground music album covers I saw in New Orleans back in 1993. Artistically, this short story has the look and feel of a comic book (that all the cool kids read) produced by talented artists near a university. Roberts is also the guy behind a kickstarter campaign to create Nightmare the Rat (an homage to early 1900’s newspaper comic strips) which tells you every thing you need to know about this awesome and unique art style.
A Look Inside Gin-Gr – Daniel Kibblesmith (Writer), Pere Perez (Artist), Daniela Miwa (Colors), Dylan Todd (Design). This art team has fun with this small piece. Daniel Kibblesmith writes the text with Dylan Todd’s design like a page out of a 1980’s comic. Pere Perez is a fantastic artist, and clearly enjoyed being creative with this piece and it’s simplicity. While there is not much to color, Daniela Miwa captures the look and feel that was clearly intended, and proves that less can be more on this.
Livewire in: “Stranger Danger!” – Daniel Kibblesmith (Writer), Andrew Dalhouse (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Art). A parody of the classic G.I. Joe “The More You Know” pieces from the 1980’s. It is written, and looks, exactly as it should for this sort of parody. The team nails it.
Good Buy – Tom Scharpiling (Writer), Diego Bernard (Art), Omi Remalante (Colors), Taylor Esposito (Letters). Tom Scharpiling writes an enjoyable Ninjak and Livewire story while veteran Valiant artist Diego Bernard does what he does best with each page. Colored by Omi Remalante, this story looks strong enough visually by this creative team to be used in future monthly issues. Bernard and Remalante’s styles match well together.
Ninjak In: “Just Say Maybe” – Daniel Kibblesmith (Writer), Karl Moline (Art), Andrew Dalhouse (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Art). The second parody of the classic G.I. Joe “The More You Know” pieces from the 1980’s. Sometimes, we don’t receive the advice we deserve, but rather the advice we do not need. It’s complicated. Like life.
Seen It All – Michael Kupperman (Writer; Art). A one-man show, Michael Kupperman’s short story is as unusual as it gets. Wasn’t sure what to think initially, but am now convinced that it was 100% hilarious! Three-Amigos. Ass Man. Tornado Chimp. Valiant turned the creativity level up to 10 on this one.
X-O Manowar (and Faith) in: “File Scaring” – Daniel Kibblesmith (Writer), Karl Moline (Art), Andrew Dalhouse (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Art). The thrid parody of the classic G.I. Joe “The More You Know” pieces from the 1980’s. This concept was a very solid idea, and it plays out quite well in a humorous and ironic fashion.
Unity begins with you – Elliott Kalan (Writer), Kano (Art), Taylor Esposito (Letters). Ever wonder how Bloodshot or Ivar, Timewalker would do as a member of Unity? Elliott Kalan breaks it down here, along with Quantum & Woody and others. The always solid Kano works his artistic magic to bring this short story together with a comical appeal and style that works well.
Turning out the lights – Matt Kindt (Writer; Art), The man, myth, and legend. Matt Kindt is a one-man-show when he wants to be, and never disappoints. Unity #25 is the perfect place for Kindt to demonstrate his artistic skills, which he often does not get the chance to do since he is busying writing multiple titles. Kindt provides readers the perfect ending to a fantastic book.
Unity #25 does not require prior reading to enjoy, though it certainly would help. It’s a fun, non-serious collection that with worth the price of admission. Ass Man.