Each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Valiant before we begin: To kill a king…he has created an army. The world’s most dangerous man, Toyo Harada, has been struck by the one thing he never thought possible – fear. Halfway across the globe, a new power threatens to topple modern civilization and, to preempt the cataclysm that is to come, Harada will unite the most lethal, most volatile, most unforgiving team the world has ever known – UNITY. Their mission: defeat the warrior king armed with the universe’s most powerful weapon. Kill X-O Manowar!
I generally tend to be positive in my reviews, but I do have the occasional negative opinion. But when it comes to Unity #1, negative is not even in my vocabulary. I actually had to ask someone to remind me of what it meant after I finished reading this issue. Valiant has been kicking my butt for almost the last two years, but I feel that they will deliver the killing blow with this event.
I would love to talk specifics about this issue, but I would take up too much of your time. The writing has created a mood that is inescapable. That paired with the art (which is mesmerizing) really does a number on me. Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite have created something monumental. It is that simple.
I’m pretty sure that my judgement will lower the median score set by the other Bastards, but I gotta say that Unity felt weird to me. In some respects, I was happy that it ended up being much different than I thought it would at its outset, completely throwing a curveball near the end of the story that I loved and relished in all of its ultra-gory action. On the other hand, I guess I just wanted more of a coming-together of these characters. Still, Kindt is definitely going for a long-game approach here, and while I liked how he gave most of his characters ample opportunity to breathe and showcase their own brands of badass-ness, I guess I was hoping for a more head-on collision than such a feint. Saying that, I will continue to check out the series, since, as I’ve said before, I’m an “event guy,” and I want to see how this all plays out.
As usual, I love Braithwaite’s stuff; he has this certain painted quality that really works in conveying an epic appeal to his storytelling. Particularly in the beginning pages, which felt a bit like the old Marvels series, he captures the larger-than-life spirit of the Valiant universe’s superheroes, but also shows their human frailty. He also actually makes the X-0 armor look cool - I know I might be lunched for saying this, but I’ve never liked that particular design; always felt a bit weak and goofy to me. Meanwhile, Reber’s colorful incandescence punctures an otherwise (I’m assuming intentionally) dark and dreary book beautifully. Altogether, the artistic package of this book rings my ding. I give it a strong and solid borrow for now while its “real” Unity team comes together and the story itself picks up steam.
Oooh, goodie: a Valiant crossover.
The premise is simple: Harada wants to capture Aric and the X-O armor.
There’s fighting and a lot of explosions. For a huge crossover, this doesn’t feel big enough like a Marvel Infinity or a DC Forever Evil. And the other problem is that the pacing is off. We start with a food critic experiencing Aric destroy a Russian battalion. We move fast through other action involving some Valiant characters. Then there’s the cliffhanger that seems forced and somewhat basic.
On one hand, the Valiant comics consistently bring amazing storytelling and expert plotting. On the other hand, the other crossovers have diluted the value of the individual characters (look back to when Aric and Ninjak tussled in previous X-O).
Despite all this, Valiant produces a great comic. I’m going to suggest to buy this because I see this issue as a momentum builder. I’m confident that the following issues will be grand in scale and momentous in execution. Since Valiant has proven itself before, I will give them the benefit of the doubt with issue 1’s average delivery.
I feel like I have whiplash after reading this issue, there were so many different things happening. It was exhausting to get through. There was so much dialogue and I was so uninterested, I couldn’t even tell you or try to care what happened. The action and art delivered for me, but other than that I’ll stay far away from this book in the future.
It is always nice to see the X-O Manowar armor in action. It gets quite a showcase here and the story though called Unity, it is obvious that the Unity will be much more than what Issue #1 demonstrates. It takes a village, and country, and pretty much the whole planet to unify if defeat is what is needed.
The artwork flows smoothly with the story and the writing is fluent and agreeable. A decent #1, but not quite an awesome #1. The story has a whole lot of potential however and I am looking forward to see if the future issues will build on this modest start. Not quite sold on it however.
Here’s the thing about this issue, it has to play to two audiences. It’s a great jumping on point to those that are completely unfamiliar with Valiant’s titles and it’s an event style opening for those who are following their line-up. What a lot of people don’t remember or know is that Valiant is a shared universe, meaning every character you see is sharing the world with every other character. Now this issue may not blow it out of the park with a grand slam home run, but it does a fantastic job of appealing and entertaining both audiences. I’m sure the second issue will be more in line with what people were expecting from this issue, but for me it met my expectations. It left somewhere for the story to go rather than changing the status quo in the first issue. Also keep in mind if you’re going to buy this, it’s not an event book. It’s just Valiant taking care of business and doing it well.
Please don’t murder me in your mind for declaring a “borrow” for Valiants biggest event yet. I have my reasons. The very first thing comes from Doug Braithwaite’s art. My eyes don't exactly agree with it. The action is cool, the layout is cool, but when we zoom in on these characters’ faces it is all harsh pencil lines. My eyes are straining to stay focused on one thing, instead I am in a labyrinth of wrinkles. It is just too raw for my liking.
Along with the art, I thought the story was lacking something. We get introduced to Unity, which felt a little rush and then we soon realize why. It was all just predictable; and frankly it was a poor set up for the introduction to the “real” Unity. I wanted to dive right in, but instead I found myself jumping up and down on the board with every lame character. Harada is clearly the most interesting, and even he did a lot of jabbing about nonsense.
I know this comic is going to be great, the team looks awesome, and the work is going to pick up. You know Harada will get into the groove of things, but for the first issue, I needed more in order to feel the true Valiant kick I am so used to.
Score: 3 Buys and 3 Borrows and 1 Pass
Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Doug Braithwaite Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/13/13