I’ve never been more excited to see where a comic book company’s shared universe is heading, than I am with Valiant. Comic fans are familiar with the “nothing will be the same” bait and switch that comic book companies use, but really they’re temporary changes that turn into micro-changes after a short while. With Valiant they have an all-or-nothing attitude that actually changes the landscape of their comics and Universe. Nowhere is that shown more than with Harbinger and X-O Manowar, but there is one book that ties those two series together and that’s Unity. Unity has intrigued me from the beginning because in a way it’s been the perfect jumping on series for anyone that wanted to follow everything happening in the Valiant Universe. You get a bit of Harbinger with Harada and Livewire; Archer & Armstrong and Eternal Warrior with Gillad and then of course X-O Manowar with Ninjak and Aric. It goes to show you just how dedicated Valiant and their creators are to making Valiant a shared universe, but more importantly an approachable shared universe.
In the last issue of Unity something fantastic happened; Livewire discovered that Harada was not a good guy. In Harbinger we see that he’s grey, not really black or white, good or bad, but a little of both. Here though we see the evil side of him and as Livewire’s new found ability allows her access to everything digital Harda has done. Every email, every file and it’s very telling of his character. Needless to say she and the rest of the gang that Harada put together no longer feel as if they can trust him with the suit of armor.
The issue kicks off with our Foodie Blogger turned X-O supporter reporting on Aric’s whereabouts at a classified prison, we’re still getting an idea of what her role in this story will be but clearly it’s not accidental that we’re following her again.
From there the story introduces us to a lone Harbinger member by the code name of Anchor. He’s staring at something while thinking of when he was a part of a tactical Harbinger team; you might remember them as the team that Aric killed in under a minute. He’s lonely, but due to his unique powers and the mental suggestion of his former commander he’s been picked as the sole protector of the X-O armor. As he stops daydreaming we see Ninjak already in place above him waiting to start his part of the mission to retrieve the armor, but where are the other two members of Unity? Don’t worry… they’re on site.
This issue is fast-paced and honestly I didn’t see it resolving this aspect of the story line in one issue, but it does. You might think that that isn’t enough time, but you’d be wrong. The action continues to be great and plentiful. There’s just something rewarding about watching these heavy weight characters throw down against each other. It’s hard to say who’s going to live or die and with Valiant… you never know when they might pull the trigger on a character. Matt Kindt continues to do a great job on this series and finding his niche at Valiant.
Something I haven’t been able to expand on in the group reviews has been Doug Braithwaite’s art style. His pencils have a great balance of being sharp and cutting into the page and then at times softer and more obvious. To put it plainly it looks like pencil work, but only when he wants it to. It’s very stylized, but it’s the right fit for this series. The photorealistic details make the world feel a part of our own which makes the realism that the story has more enjoyable as a reader.
If you’re interested in the Valiant Universe, but don’t know where to start Unity is a great place to pick up. I would argue that each series has had more than one great jumping on point, but with Unity you get a snapshot of everything and that’s a wonderful thing to have from a comic book company.
Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Doug Braithwaite Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/19/14