Advance Review: Incursion #1 Is A Great Read & A Great Jumping On Point For The Valiant Universe

by Oliver MacNamee

Look, I’ll be up front with you ahead of my ramblings on Incursion #1, the new series from Valiant Comics by Alex Paknadel, Andy Diggle, Doug Braithwaite, Jose Villarrubia, Diego Rodriguez and Marshall Dillon. This is the first Valiant book I’ve read. Ever. I’ll apologise now, but with a finite budget each and every month I’ve been a creature of habit and while not avoiding Valiant’s output, I’ve just never picked up one of their books. Until now.

So, in some ways, surely I’m the ideal candidate to read this book and see if it’s not only a good read, but an easily accessible comic too, right? And, I can tell you it was.

Even without any prior knowledge and understanding of this comic’s key characters – Gilad Anni-Padda, The Eternal Warrior and the Earth’s current Geomancer, the child Tama – the careful inclusion of just enough exposition to inform me and intrigue me enough to seek out more online backstory to Gilad and Tama, meant I was up-to-speed. At least enough to enjoy the unfolding story of a forthcoming extinction-level threat coming swiftly to Earth to devour it’s necromantic energies like some pint-sized Galactus, but with an equally voracious appetite for the energies only planets and their populations can provide this cosmic vampire. Before I knew it, any lack of prior knowledge was soon forgotten about as I became enthralled with the bigger picture and this new take on an old classic.

And, similar to Galactus (although Paknadel has pointed out that one could equally invoke “Thanos’ Black Order or Darkseid’s Elite” as comparisons too), this book’s villain, Imperatrix Virago, sends forth an envoy of sorts, the child-like Syntilla, to check out the Earth in advance. Only to come face-to-face with another child in the form of Tama, the Earth’s current Geomancer. How Gilad relates to this younger Geomancer is going to be a big part of this story, I can see. How can he not feel some sort of paternal link with her, given her age? And, will this cause him to act out of irrational emotion somewhere down the line, I wonder? How this plays in contrast with Virago’s own relationship with Syntilla will be an intriguing subplot to watch develop too. Virago hardly seems the best parental role model for any young child. Even if that child is eons older than she looks.

All of which is beautifully illustrated by Doug Braithwaite, with Jose Villarrubia and Diego Rodriguez providing the delicate colours over Braithwaite’s gorgeous, expressive pencils. I’ve always enjoyed Braithwaite’s more realistic art style as it always brings a certain level of quality to proceedings when he’s on any book. And, with his pencils utilised, it also evokes a more ethereal quality to the book. An appropriate tone for what’s to come methinks, given Imperatrix Virago’s use of the Deadside to travel across time and space. This may be a sci-fi sensible book, but the realms of the dead are more the trappings of horror and the supernatural, too. I’m keen to see what further issues offer and so I can safely say that this issue isn’t going to be the last I read of Valiant’s output.

Diggle and Paknadel, along with the art team, offer the readers a mini-event set in the Valiant Universe that is far from intimidating if, like me, you’re new to this particular comic book shared universe. But, with a sci-fi narrative not too unfamiliar to many, and enough backstory for now, as well as a new spin to events, Incursion #1 is not only a good read, it’s a good starting point for anyone, like me, intrigued by this universe.

And, at only 4 issues, it’s a comic book event that won’t break the bank, or my monthly comic book budget.

Incursion #1 (of 4) comes out on February 20th from Valiant Comics.

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