Free Comic Book Day 2017 came and went on May 6th, but it left a treasure in its wake: Valiant’s X-O Manowar FCBD Special.
From a publisher’s point of view, the goal of FCBD is heightening awareness by exposing new readers to your offerings. Potential new readers get an introduction to select titles or a look inside a whole universe. Valiant offers something special for its established fans as well. Valiant has a tradition of using their FCBD offerings to tease new titles as full page “ads” inserted in their stories and previews. It’s one of the reasons that Valiant’s FCBD offering is so highly anticipated. The same is true here, but watching their recent summit, or attending a convention panel, there’s not much in the way of surprise. However, even knowing what is coming down the pike, it’s still a thrill to see these teasers in print.
Since these teasers have all been announced prior to this book, it’s safe to provide the scoop. Two all new titles are coming this winter: Psi-Lords and Eternity. 2018 heralds the return of Quantum and Woody and a major, universe-shaking event, Harbinger Wars 2. Psi-Lords is a title that harkens back to the days of 90s Valiant, but like all of the properties thus far, Valiant is sure to improve upon it with a fresh spin. Quantum and Woody fans will be glad to see their return after nearly two years without the duo starring in their own title. Eternity is teased to be related to their successful Divinity miniseries. Harbinger Wars 2 will spring from the events of Harbinger Renegade but will impact the entire Valiant universe.
The FCBD Special is presented in four parts. Without giving away too much, here’s a rundown on what you can expect to find.
X-O Manowar prologue, “The Three Prayers of X-O Manowar” by Matt Kindt, CAFU, Andrew Dalhouse.
This all-new story created especially for FCBD introduces the world of the X-O Manowar. Recently relaunched as the next stage in Aric’s story, the new X-O Manowar ongoing series encompasses new worlds, a new relationship with the armor, and an uncertain future for Aric. For those who have read the first two issues of X-O, this prologue sets the stage for understanding his beginnings on the planet. For new readers, the prologue is an enjoyable parable that requires no earlier knowledge of Aric. It works well as a short story, encapsulating Aric’s character arc and state of mind while showing an event that illustrates how Aric’s life echoes the essence of the parable. The artwork by the always excellent CAFU and Andew Dalhouse make the story shine.
Secret Weapons #1 preview by Eric Heisserer, Raul Allen, Patricia Martin.
Secret Weapons is one of the higher profile titles set to launch this summer. This preview is essentially the first four pages of the miniseries. Written by screen writer Eric Heisserer (Arrival), the book debuts in June. Featuring fan-favorite “Valiant Femme” Livewire, this intro dangles a carrot for readers who love science fiction with a strong dose of humanity. The advance review for the excellent Secret Weapons #1 is available here.
Valiant Universe 2017 (pinup) by David Lafuente, Andrew Dalhouse.
Valiant has a tradition of producing a yearly pinup of its characters. Most of the subjects are either iconic characters or those who have been involved in important storylines. Every title is represented. Artist David Lafuente and colorist Andrew Dalhouse do the honors this year. This energetic and colorful piece makes for an excellent desktop for a wanting computer, and is a heck of a lot of fun to search through to find characters.
Bloodshot Salvation prologue by Jeff Lemire, Juan Jose Ryp, Andrew Dalhouse.
This intriguing short story prefaces the upcoming Bloodshot Salvation #1. Not only that, it ties in several of the titles, showing how the Valiant Universe fits together despite time shifts. The story takes place in 4001, focusing on the version of Bloodshot that we first met in that miniseries. It references Book of Death, Bloodshot U.S.A., the original Bloodshot run from 2012, and teases future story lines, including some new characters. This promises to be an engaging series if this short story written by Lemire and illustrated by Ryp is any indication.
Hopefullya copy of the X-O Manowar FCBD Special was readily available on Free Comic Book Day. Jam-packed with excellent stories and art, this book offers a peek into Valiant’s thoughtful and exceptionally executed universe.