July 27, 2012

The Compost Pile

Thoughts on Valiant Comics October Solicitations

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The solicitations for all of Valiant’s September comics are out, it’s time to take a look at them and note the things that look particularly cool about these.


Archer & Armstrong #3 Cover

Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Clayton Henry
Cover by Arturo Lozzi
Character Design Cover by David Aja


Those email forwards Grandma sends you? ALL TRUE. Every lurid cover of every supermarket tabloid? ALL TRUE. That impossible-to-read GeoCities site rambling on about truthers, birthers and black ops alien greys working for the U.N.? ALL TRUE. The Sect has dragged a curtain of confusion across the inner workings of your world, but fear not, the conspiracy-busters Archer & Armstrong are here to deliver Truth in the form of ass-kicking! (And ass-kicking in the form of ass-kicking.) Our heroes’ newfound friendship will face its greatest test as they battle The Sisters of Perpetual Darkness – the Nunjas (“ninja” + “nun”) who guard Rome’s blasphemous secrets. Obadiah Archer thought he had been betrayed by his family before, but nothing can prepare him for this!

Also: the existence of God will be proven for all time. Or disproven. One of the two.

$3.99/Rated T+/32 pgs.

Thoughts on the Archer & Armstrong #3 Solicitation

When they invoke the insidious fnord, you know we’re on trouble.

Sleep a little more soundly knowing that you can see the fnord. If you can see it, you are on the inside. And apparently, this means you won’t need an ass-kicking from Archer and Armstrong.

This solicit promises to get us deep into the story, real quick. It looks like the story will quickly get through the “Hi, I’m Archer, Hi, I’m Armstrong, let’s team up” buddy-buddy stuff, and get right to the meat.

And what tasty meat this looks like, roasting on it’s spit, sizzling with succulent Nunjas. In the past incarnation of Archer & Armstrong, the evil nuns were just cranky old dudes dressed as nuns. Hopefully we’ll get some nunja hotties this time around. I’d like to see an Archer with confused feelings towards some hot nuns that are trying to chop-suey him.

We haven’t even seen this book yet, but it looks to be pretty darn fun.


Bloodshot #4 Cover

Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Manuel Garcia
Cover by Arturo Lozzi
Character Design Cover by David Aja

They call you Project Bloodshot, but you had a real name once.

You were born, raised, maybe even loved. And at some point, some evil bastards filled your head with dozens of false memories to motivate you, restrain you, control you. And oh, what they made you do in the name of national security… But what if one of those memories wasn’t false? What if you had a real wife and a child somewhere in the world who thought you were dead? Wouldn’t you go through seven kinds of violent hell to find them? Congrats. Your wish is about to be granted…

$3.99/Rated T+/32 pgs.

Thoughts on the Bloodshot #4 Solicitation

I think the big question on everyone’s mind after reading the first issue of Bloodshot is what is the over-under for number of times Bloodshot will get blown to bits in this issue?

This series started out with a bang, with a well-received first issue. It set up a lot of plot, a lot of action, and a lot of twists.

This solicitation is promising some pathos, and we may get to the core of who Bloodshot is, and maybe, some tragedy. Whatever Bloodshot finds down the path promised by this solicitation, I do not think it will have a happy ending. Just a hunch.

Or maybe, this entire solicitation is a false implant by Project: Rising Spirit to create a false motivation to buy the book.

(I’ll buy it anyway, even if it is)


Harbinger #5 Cover

Written by Josh Dysart
Art by Khari Evans
Cover by Mico Suayan
Character Design Cover by David Aja

Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek. Master and apprentice. Creator and destroyer. Alpha and omega.

Humanity’s most powerful psionic, Pete Stanchek, has been run to ground. His few friends and family are gone. He is loved is by no one. At the nadir of his brief, 18-year existence, he has been drugged, deceived and deluded by a corporate master. But now he’s finally had enough. Tonight, the human race will find out exactly how powerful he is. Tonight, the boy who has nothing will go to war against the man who has everything. And soon the Valiant Universe will discover that anything can end – even the world.

$3.99/Rated T+/32 pgs.

Thoughts on the Harbinger #5 Solicitation

I want to know.

I want to know what will push Pete to break with Harada, and start his Harbinger war against the man that runs it all.

This is the last issue of the first story arc, and from the solicitation, it looks like we will see quite a showdown with Harada. In issue 2, we saw what Pete is capable of, and it will be cool to see Pete, young, reckless, and not as in control of his power, unleash against the older, wiser, fully in control Harada.

This issue should be the final piece in establishing the relationship between Pete and Harada, and establish the nature of their conflict.

I’m loving Harbinger, it is reaching out and grabbing me, compelling me to read it. I can’t wait.


X-O Manowar #6 Cover

Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Lee Garbett
Cover by Doug Braithwaite
Variant Cover by Patrick Zircher
Character Design Cover by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

Ninjak vs. X-O Manowar: Round II!

Aric of Dacia has bonded with the most powerful weapon in the universe, but his command of the sentient X-O Manowar armor will lead him to cross swords with Ninjak, the world’s most skilled weapons specialist. Hired by members of The Vine hidden deep within Earth’s governments, Ninjak has been sent to bring back the Manowar armor at any cost. It’s raw power versus stealth and cunning in the second installment of the espionage-edged thriller that pits two of Valiant’s most popular heroes against each other – to the death.

$3.99/Rated T+/32 pgs.

Thoughts on the X-O Manowar #6 Solicitation

To the death!

It’s hard to say why I want to read this issue other than to say, “yes please!” I already explained my excitement for the return of Ninjak, and I am looking forward to more. I want to see them fight, learn more about who Ninjak is in this universe, and see more of Aric adjusting to the modern day.

Yes, please!



Valiant Masters Bloodshot Hardcover Collection Cover

Written by Kevin VanHook
Art by Don Perlin, Andrew Wendel and Ted Halsted
Cover by Barry Windsor-Smith

The first in an all-new library of Valiant classics!

Collected for the first time anywhere, the best-selling title of the 90s is back! Re-presenting the first arc of his original adventures in the VH1 Valiant Universe, Bloodshot comes armed to the teeth with bullets, nanites – and questions. With all of New York as his battlefield, Bloodshot wages a one-man war for the secrets to his past. But with the whole of New York’s mafia underground hot on his tail, he’ll soon realize that some questions are better left unanswered! With appearances from Ninjak, Eternal Warrior, Rai and more, no fan can miss this essential piece of Valiant history! Collecting BLOODSHOT (1994) #1-8 and featuring AN ALL-NEW, NEVER–BEFORE-SEEN STORY by the original creative team of Kevin VanHook and Don Perlin.

$24.99/Rated T+/200 pgs.

Thoughts on the Bloodshot Hardcover Solicitation

I wasn’t expecting this so soon.

I fully expected to wait six months or so for the first new collection of old material. That said, it makes complete sense to offer this as a hardcover collection.

Valiant hardcover books on shelf

Valiant hardcovers on my shelf

Back when Valiant was a lawsuit-fighting company, instead of a comic-making company, they started releasing hardcover collections, first of Harbinger 0-7, then X-O Manowar 0-6, and finally Archer & Armstrong 0-6. This seems to follow along with that, giving us a hardcover collection of the original material that the fourth of the current titles is based on.

These first issues of Bloodshot set him up as a “secret agent” of sorts, and he went after Rising Spirit, and his former mob buddies, the people that turned him over to the project to become Bloodshot.

Just like in all of the first three hardcovers, we also get an all-new Bloodshot story by the creative team that worked on the original. The new stories in the Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and Archer & Armstrong hardcovers followed in the old continuity, and I expect this to be the same. I’m looking forward to seeing Kevin VanHook and Don Perlin working on Bloodshot again, and showing us a new story set in the classic Valiant Universe.

I do wonder about the trade dress on this hardcover, and how it will compare to the original. The shelf freak in me wants to know how this will look next to my other Valiant hardcover books. No matter what, I’ll be buying this. When I got around to reading all of the original Valiant material, this stuff made me love the Bloodshot character. I can’t wait to get my hands on this hardcover, re-read these stories, and read the new story.

I hope they do a Shadowman hardcover next, and please, oh please, let it collect up to issue 12, to include the introduction of Master Darque, and the fantastic “Blood Runner” storyline.


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