On Sunday at C2E2, fans gathered for Valiant’s Road to Harbinger Wars 2 Panel, hosted by Hunter Gorinson and featuring Josh Johns and more. Having come from their 2017 Summit the previous week, there was lots to talk about in terms of the plans for the coming year.
Talking about the recently announced sales figures that make X-O Manowar the best selling indie comic of the year with 90,000 copies, Johns filled us in on the arc of the story and the trajectory of Aric on an alien world working as a farmer, conscripted into an alien army during a civil war, then gradually moving up the ranks of leadership there. The “back half of the year” from issue #10 on is going to have a big impact on the Valiant Universe, Gorinson said, including the introduction of new bounty hunter characters designed by Matt Kindt and Kenneth Rocafort. Each of the bounty hunters are from a different alien race that we have not yet seen in the Valiant Universe, Gorinson said.
Moving on to Secret Weapons, a new prestige format book, it’s the first solo book for Livewire. Written by Eric Heisserer, with art by Raul Allen and Patricia Martin. “Gun hands” are something to look forward to, for real.The outcome of this series will especially affect the Harbinger Wars 2 arc. Looking into what happens to all the psiots who Toyo Harada has discarded for having less than valuable powers, the series takes us into new territory. Gorinson said the same team is working on a “sequel to Secret Weapons” but it might not be called Secret Weapons. There’s currently a pre-order bundle for Secret Weapons until April 27th, a bundle that costs cover price but includes substantial extra material.
Talking about another heroine in the Valiant Universe, Faith, writer Jody Houser and artist Joe Eisma joined the panel. Right now the series is looking at “the Faithless”, a group of villains who she’s met in LA over time. Her main villain, Chris Chriswell, decides to team up since “that’s how supervillains work”. There’s also an evil talking cat, Houser said. Eisma says drawing each issue has been “an absolute joy” and a nice change from some of his previous work which had been somewhat “dark”. One of the things that Houser wanted for the first arc of the series was to make each couple of issues suggest a different genre tradition, from supervillain to sci-fi, to fun and geeky. Because the different villains come from different genres, they have different skill sets that work well when thrown together.
Faith is going to go “full sci-fi” with Faith and the Future Force. The new Timewalker, Neela Sethi, has to face the work of an evil AI who is taking apart the underpinnings of time and making it collapse in this series. She goes to recruit Faith for help, and the four issues are built on the “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, with a “cyclical” format. Each time “loop” will have a different artist. Houser said she’s happy that Ninjak will be in the series, since she’s sure he’s secretly a British sci-fi fan, even if he’d never admit it. This series arrives in July.
Also coming in July, another turning point is coming up in Harbinger: Renegade #5. The event coming in this comic is called “Massacre” and is being issued with a warning cover for graphic content, since a major character will die. It’s the first time in the company’s history that not all the employees know what’s happening in a book. Shipping in December will be Harbinger Wars 2 #0, written by Matt Kindt, with art by Doug Braithwaite.
Coming in September, there’s the new ongoing Bloodshot series called Bloodshot: Salvation. The story is written by Jeff Lemire and split across two timelines, with two artists: Lewis Larosa and Mico Suayan. Lemire’s previous arc of Bloodshot: Reborn focused on the consequences of violence, and in this arc we’ll be looking at the consequences of family life and responsibilities, Gorinson said. The book jumps between the birth and early life of Bloodshot’s daughter Jesse, and moving forward in time to where she’s a child, showing signs of being like her father. Gorinson said Jesse is going to become a “major, major character in the Valiant Universe” in the future.
Free Comic Book Day on May 6th, will bring a substantial preview of upcoming titles and the original story will hint at the events coming up in the Valiant Universe. It’s the Valiant: X-O Manowar FCBD 2017 Special.
Coming up in July, we have Bloodshot’s Day Off #1 as well. Written by Eliot Rahal, with art by Khari Evans, and cover by Kano. Rahal wrote Divinity III: Escape from Gulag 396. There was an original “Bloodshot’s Day Off”, that is “bonkers”, Rahal said. Gorinson pointed out that this issue is part of the series of one-shots that celebrate the 25th anniversary of several characters. This comic actually features 2 bloodshots, Tankman and Vietman. They appeared on Bloodshot Island originally, and are two very interesting characters, both veterans of different wars.
The idea of faith and spirituality was something he put into Escape from Gulag 396, but in this comic, his background of differences with his family members who are businessmen and marines, enable him to present two characters who “don’t get along at all” going sight-seeing. What do they have in common with this generational difference? Well, they are soldiers, so it’s a soldier story.
Gorinson reminded that Bloodshot had another life as a high school gym coach in Valiant High, a “high school alternate universe” on ComiXology, written by Daniel Kibblesmith with art by Derek Charm with David Baron. He put as many characters from the Valiant Universe as he could, and settled on a POV character in Livewire, “a character whose time has come”. She was a student, a pupil, who had a falling out with her mentor. In this case, she’s a student and her principle is Toyo Harada. It’s a prep school with super powered teens who are not allowed to use their powers at school, but totally do anyway. Lots of romance and conflicts, of course. Issue #3 arrives on ComiXology next week.
Discussing the recent announcements about Eternity, a series that reunites Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, the book will introduce “an entire universe” to readers. The beings who inhabit the place, Eternity, may be even more powerful than Divinity himself. A massive canvas and a wide swath of characters will arrive with Eternity in October.
Another new announcement from the Summit was Ninja-K. This November Christos Gage and Tomas Giorello are going to dive into the character that Kindt just finished a big run on. This is going to develop a “complete history of the Ninja program”, dating back to Ninja-A in World War I. It’s a “history mystery”, Johns laughed. Looking at a “fully espionage-driven take” on the character, the story starts in the trenches of WWI, then we follow 50-70 years of history as ninjas are trained, in succession. We’ll also see him at play in the modern day when someone starts killing off veterans of the ninja program.
Coming in December, we also have an all-new ongoing series for Quantum & Woody, written by Daniel Kibblesmith and drawn by Kano. It’s a “novel” approach to the characters, and there’s back to basics and also a jump away from status quo. The brothers are “totally estranged”. Quantum and Woody have “the fight” that finally breaks them up, and we don’t know what caused it. We see them “clanging” their bracelets but not talking. It turns out that it was actually Eric’s doing. He knew who Woody’s birth dad was, and didn’t tell him, Kibblesmith said. It’s a fresh jumping on point for the characters, Gorinson said.
Talking about Shadowman, their final tease at the Summit is that Shadowman will be coming back definitively on March 28th, 2018. Valiant are going to be putting the same energy into that launch as they did for X-O Manowar released on the same date in 2017.
Asked if the goat was having a baby, since that’s what happened when we last saw it, Kibblesmith said he’s aware of that and the new series is in continuity. Gorinson said they have a “goat plan”.