Unlike a group review, in a “Dual Review” two writers (in this case Erik and Dustin) will take a look at the issue and give a numeric score for the issue. We’ve covered Unity a lot on the site so Erik’s going to recap the issue in his review rather than Valiant’s synopsis so let’s get going! Erik:
An event that just can’t be missed. I can’t think of a better way to describe Unity so far. There are thoughts and feelings that go through my head when I’m reading this series that I haven’t ever felt before. I’m not even quite sure how to explain them, so I won’t. But it needs to be said that Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite have found a way to create a situation where you are rooting for both sides. I didn’t even know that was possible. There is a sense of desperation that is created on both sides that is so thick that you can see it in each panel.
Harada’s strike force has failed. They were never prepared for the trap that Aric of Dacia had set for them. Now Harada has taken it upon himself to strike Aric and the X-O Manowar armor at the heart of his ship and has devised a plan to invade his mind, with the help of Gilad, a beaten and bloodied Ninjak, and Livewire. What they have in store for Aric comes as a complete surprise, and he may not be ready for it.
Matt Kindt has done a great job with the dialogue between Harada and his soldiers. As the plan is being orchestrated, Harada has created a mental link, so that every single move that Aric makes, anticipated or not, is met with an equal and carefully planned counterattack. Harada has definitely come prepared and has decided that he will not allow a defeat. Personally, I didn’t think that there would be a way to defeat the X-O Manowar armor, but maybe brain will indeed win over brawn.
The artwork that we see while we’re inside the consciousness of the ship is some radical stuff. A lot of this issue takes place in close quarters, considering the environment wherein the issue takes place, so having that contrast between the two different areas keeps it interesting. Doug Braithwaite has created some mesmerizing images that will stand out for a long time.
Getting to the end of this book was exhausting. I mean that in the most positive way possible. I think that I broke a sweat in the process. I honestly don’t know what to expect next month, but I can assure you that it is going to be filled with more memorable moments. You may be wondering if a reviewer has the authority to assure anything when it comes to this industry, but I promise you that if you’ve been reading, you’re already onboard. Unity is an unparalleled achievement. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
This story is massive and I think that’s what makes Kindt’s narrative at the beginning so brilliant because he says as much. Even still with it being so big it makes this issue feel very small. A lot happens though. There are two amazing battles and just the concept of one man fighting both a physical and mental battle at the same time is very cool. The only down side is that the story is moving at a rapid pace and we’re really not spending anytime with the characters. That means that new readers to Valiant are going to be left in the dark when it comes to their background. It’s not a terrible thing by any means and I’ve read comic books that have given you far less, but hopefully this series will continue to give new readers to Valiant a jumping on point with each issue.
Any artist that works with Matt Kindt is lucky. He understands the artist's mind and that’s apparent in this issue as Braithwaite goes nuts during the battle, but is always in control. The narrative and visuals are in perfect harmony with each other and it makes for an incredible visual read. The battles in this issue are some of the best I’ve seen in comics in a very long time and I can’t wait to see Braithwaite cut loose on future issues.
Score: Erik - 5/5, Dustin - 4/5
Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Doug Braithwaite Publisher Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/11/13