Valiant’s X-0 Manowar And Beyond Panel At Denver Comic Con With Jody Houser

by Hannah Means Shannon

 

Andy Liegl, Sales Manager at Valiant Entertainment, hosted the panel, and was joined by Jody Houser, writer of Faith and Faith and the Future Force.

X-O Manowar is, in many ways, the most iconic character being published by Valiant right now, and when Liegl asked who in the room had read the recent X-O storyline, almost the entire room of attendees raised their hands.

In the ongoing series, which just reached issue #4, described as “phase 2 of X-O”, Aric buries his suit and just wants to get away from his connection to it. Since the suit is getting more and more sentient, and isn’t so much an AI as an actual being, that’s harder to escape.

Aric restarts life, getting married, but finds himself conscripted into an alien civil war, and quickly gains notoriety for his fighting ability.

Houser described her reaction to X-O Manowar a few years ago as the first Valiant comic she read as, “Think about the crazy ideas in comics in the 90’s. What if that was done well by extremely talented creators?”

Talking about Faith, Houser said that Faith tries to live her life the way that her comic book heroes live, including creating an alter ego, getting a day job. These “icons of heroism” inspire her and is the pattern she’s following.

Faith’s powers allow her to fly and also create a “companion field” where she can carry people and objects with her.

There is “anti-psiot” technology out there, so we get to see her trying to operate without her powers, occasionally, and in that case, you really see her as a fan-girl. In a recent arc, you get to see Faith attending a comic convention with her boyfriend, Archer, from Archer & Armstrong.

A lot of characters in the Valiant Universe are “morally gray” according to Liegl, which makes them very interesting, but Faith and Archer are the “bright spots” in the Valiant U who have very clear ideas of “doing the right thing”, which is inspiring.

Faith chooses to be this way, embracing the shows and comics she loves to invent herself despite the loss of her parents. She’s also keeping her parents’ love of fandom alive, too, in her own.

Supervillains have been built up in the Faith series, including Chris Chriswell as an arch villain who was inspired by villains in comics in the same way that Faith was inspired by comic heroes. Murdermouse is also a favorite, then there’s Dark Star the cat with an evil entity inside it.

Faith and the Future Force #1 drops the fourth Wednesday of July this month, and Faith gets to have a time travel adventure, as she’s always wanted to do based on her Doctor Who fandom.

Elements established about time travel from Ivar Timewalker are an influence here, but Houser has also “broken” some of those rules a little bit.

Pretty much “every” character is in this series, and Shadowman 4001 is even appearing in this, Houser said. This four issue mini-series will pick up with some of the fallout from Faith #12, but some of that will also wait until “afterward”.

Bloodshot Salvation is coming up this September, with the same team who worked on Bloodshot Reborn including Jeff Lemire, Lewis Larosa, and Mico Suayan. Introducing Ray Garrison’s daughter Jessie and villain, Rampage, the series is going to be quite emotional, and carve out new territory in the Valiant U.

A new Quantum and Woody series is coming up this autumn and writer Daniel Kibblesmith also wrote the recent digital comic Valiant High. Having to work together to be effective, and as folks who really have no business being superheroes, these foster brothers and their goat are heading back to shops.

Coming up on Secret Weapons, a series that just launched this week, Livewire is a psiot and “technopath” who can communicate with machines becomes a key character. Having left Harbinger, she led the Unity team, and now she’s getting the spotlight. Our rejected psiots who have powers that don’t really work in combat, but involved in a bigger conspiracy where they’re being hunted, they have to find a way to survive.

Harbinger Wars 2 is going to be the big event of 2018, written by Matt Kindt and Eric Heisserer, with art by Tomas Giorello and Raul Allen, and it will “level out the psiot aspect” of the Valiant Universe.