NYCC 2018: Valiant 101 – A Beginner’s Guide To Valiant Comics

by Brendan M. Allen

One of the most intimidating things for new comics readers is finding a good time to jump into an ongoing series. Picking up a book in the middle of an arc can be baffling, leaving the reader with more questions than answers, and potentially turning a reader off a series or publisher altogether.

Valiant wants to make it easy for you. Director of Marketing Mel Caylo, Editorial Director Robert Meyers, Senior Editor Karl Bollers, and Assistant editor David Menchel sat on the dais at New York Comic Con on Thursday to give us the dirt on all their major titles, where they are in the series currently, and what books readers might want to pick up to get the context that best explains what is going on.

With over 2,000 characters in their universe, the 30 year old publisher boasts one of the most “New Reader” friendly catalogues in the business. From Street-level Super-beings, to Sleuths, Spies, and Sorcerers, there should be a title for just about any reader.

A detailed description and recommended reading for each Valiant title follows:

Harbinger Renegade:

Six months ago, a secret team of renegade whistleblowers leaked the existence of these extraordinarily dangerous individuals to a stunned world. Today, all across the country, crude, DIY psiot activation attempts have left hundreds brain damaged…or worse. The emergence of a new psiot in a community often leads to riots and mass violence.
America is terrified of what could happen next.

With this revolutionary upheaval now in motion, Kris Hathaway, John “Torque” Torkelson, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, and Peter Stanchek are about to discover their calling. Together, the Harbinger Renegades are moving from town to town, building their ranks, and subverting authority one mind at a time…and setting out to prove once and for all that behind their power, there has always been a purpose.

Where to start:
Harbinger Vol. 1 (2012)
Harbinger Renegade Vol. 1 (2016)

Faith:

In a city under siege by robots, aliens, monsters and even worse… celebrities, there is only one woman the people of Los Angeles can count on: the stratospheric superhero called Faith! Aspiring reporter by day and dedicated crime-fighter by night, Faith has tackled every obstacle in her path with confidence – like those crushing deadlines at work, the long-distance boyfriend half a world away, and the missing back issues that plague her comics collection!

But, unbeknownst to her, Faith is about to collide with the one force she never saw coming: an up-and-coming super-villain bent on snuffing her out once and for all! But who is lurking behind the mask of her new foe…and could they just be the one person capable of rendering Faith powerless?

Where to start:
Faith Vol 1. (2015)
Faith and the Future Force (2017)

Secret Weapons:
The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive disappointments. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rex-O seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…

Where to start:
Secret Weapons (2017)

Bloodshot:
Your name is Angelo Mortalli. Your brother is trapped behind enemy lines and on the verge of — no. That’s not right. Your name is Raymond Garrison. You’ve retired from the dangers of the field, but a desperate plea from your oldest friend plunges you into a vicious firefight that — no. That’s not right, either. You are Bloodshot. You are the shade of gray that freedom requires. The perfect confluence of military necessity and cutting-edge technology. A walking WikiLeaks that is a reservoir of dirty secrets that could set the world on fire. And you’ve just been captured.

(Bloodshot is being made into a feature film by Sony, set to release in February 2020. People are going to be talking about this one really soon.)

Where to start:
Bloodshot (2012)
Bloodshot Reborn Vol 1. (2015)
Bloodshot Salvation (2017)

XO Manowar

Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day.
But that was a lifetime ago.

Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.
But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from Soldier to General to Emperor to Visigoth. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!

Where to start:
XO Manowar vol. 1 (2012)
XO Manowar vol. 1 (2017)

Rai
The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Pacific and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the first murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity…

Where to start:
Rai Vol.1 (2014)

Ninja-K
For nearly a century, MI-6, the most elite branch of Britain’s clandestine intelligence service, has honed a ruthlessly effective, top-secret division – THE NINJA PROGRAMME – into one of its nation’s most finely wielded weapons. Tasked as the first and last line of defense for queen and country, this small shadow army of agents and assassins has produced a succession of notable assets, including NINJA-A, the Queen’s silent weapon of World War I; NINJA-E, the globe-trotting secret agent that pulled the Cold War back from the brink of Armageddon; and, most recently, NINJA-K, aka Colin King, a brash but fearless instrument of lethality that has saved the world from madmen and terror at every turn. But now… an unknown enemy is hunting and killing members of THE NINJA PROGRAMME one by one – and NINJAK is next on the list.

Where to start:
Ninjak vol. 1 (2015)
Ninja-K vol. 1 (2017)

Shadowman
There are a million dreams in the Big Easy. But now its worst nightmare is about to come true. As the forces of darkness prepare to claim New Orleans as their own, Jack Boniface must accept the legacy he was born to uphold. As Shadowman, Jack is about to become the only thing that stands between his city and an army of unspeakable monstrosities from beyond the night. But what is the true cost of the Shadowman’s otherworldly power? And can Jack master his new abilities before Master Darque brings down the wall between reality and the darkness of the dimension known as Deadside?

Where to start:
Shadowman vol. 1 (2012)
Shadowman vol. 1 (2018)

Britannia
On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery…
Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings… In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay…

Where to start:
Britannia Vol. 1 (2015)

The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage
Doctor Mirage talks to the dead…but the only spirit Shan Fong can’t find is that of her late husband, Hwen. Instead, America’s favorite semi-retired paranormal investigator is haunted and raw, using her gift to solve homicides and bring peace to the recently bereaved. But when a big-time occultist with a classified military past hires her for a special job, Shan discovers a lead that might close the greatest mystery she’s ever tackled – how to get Hwen back. Now, Doctor Mirage must enter the undiscovered country and cross all the realms of the underworld, if she has any hope of rescuing the man she loves…or be forever lost beyond the earthly plane.

Where to start:
The Death Defying Dr. Mirage vol.1 (2014)

The Immortal Brothers

Archer and Armstrong! The Eternal Warrior! Ivar, Timewalker! It’s winter at King Arthur’s court in Camelot! The monstrous Green Knight has appeared before the Round Table with no armor, a gigantic axe, and a challenge. He has come to insist that the weaker knights participate in a friendly “winter’s game” where anyone can strike him once with his axe, but on one condition: That the Green Knight can return the exact blow in one year’s time.

Where to start:
Archer and Armstrong vol. 1 (2012)
Ivar, Timewalker vol. 1 (2015)
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior vol.1 (2016)

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

Leave a Reply