Welcome to August!
There’s a lot to be excited for as a Valiant fan. We’ve got three great titles already on stands, and we’re getting a fourth, Archer & Armstrong, this month. Archer & Armstrong was one of my favorite titles as a kid. It was tons of fun, and beautifully drawn as well. We got an advance review copy, and we’ll wet your appetite with some non-spoiler reviews in this newsletter.
Also, as usual, we’ll take a look back at July, a look forward at August, and review the Classic Book of the Month.
July was dominated by two things: Comic-Con and Bloodshot.
Comic-Con was a blast this year. We want to keep you in the loop, if you weren’t able to make it, so we did what we could. We recorded the Valiant Panel, you can go here and watch it.
The most exciting announcement at the panel was that Valiant has brought back Gold Logo Books!
Back in the day, Valiant printed gold logo books as a way to reward fans and retailers that supported Valiant in some way. In the letter column each month, there was a picture showing one of the winners from that month, showing what they had done to help support Valiant.
Everyone at the Valiant Comics panel received one of the gold books, and they said that they would be distributing the gold books in much the same way as before. You can receive a Valiant book by promoting Valiant in some way, documenting what you did, and letting Valiant know!
Get your creative fan-supported marketing juices flowing!
Or… you can get a gold book and help support charity! Valiant Entertainment is currently auctioning off a Glod Logo edition of X-O Manowar, with all of the proceeds going to charity!
What does all this mean? Comic-Con was pretty exciting. If you want to catch up, check out our two “live from Comic-Con” episodes:
So, Bloodshot happened. It was good. Such a well done first issue, and a great addition to the line up of Valiant comics.
We discussed Bloodshot, and the rest of July’s books, in Episode 78 – Three on Three
Advance reviews of Archer & Armstrong are going to start hitting the comic news and reviews sites right about…now.
We want to share our thoughts on this issue with you to wet your appetite, and maybe, stir up some controversy.
There are no spoilers ahead, so read freely.
Archer & Armstrong #1. The fourth title to round out the “Summer of Valiant” 2012. And what a mighty fine read!
This first issue is LOADED with content: action, history, adventure, humor; fantastic characters and scenarios grounded in real-world locales. Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Clayton Henry bring a lot of new flavor to this re-imagining of Valiant’s classic “buddy book,” while also giving respectful props to the stories and creators that came before. Plus, without giving any spoilers, I felt that Mr. Van Lente dropped some hints for future plots that I am hoping will involve characters from other books.
While this issue takes some time to get through, it never feels daunting; it’s a rich experience that leaves me longing for the next issue! I highly recommend picking up Archer & Armstrong #1 from your local comic book store next Wednesday, August 8th!
This is the first new Valiant title that has disappointed me and it is probably the one I would have least expected to disappoint me. I hope that as the story continues and particularly as we get away from Archer’s origin story that I enjoy it more. Nothing about Armstrong in particular offended me. The author has denied bias in previous interviews but the villains still read like a collection of buzz words from Huffington Post articles.
A&A #1 also does not aggressively establish itself in its first issue the way the other Valiant books did. X-O #1 had a fastidious attention to historical detail. Harbinger #1 ran headlong into serious, heady issues. Bloodshot dies three times in his first issue, the last death being particularly vicious. Archer and Armstrong #1 stands out not for what is there but for what is not. A&A #1 is the book of squandered opportunity.
The Summer of Valiant wraps up with the 4th #1 book, Archer and Armstrong #1. This book paints the large brush strokes of Archer’s back story while leaving plenty of room for detail to be added later. There are numerous “shout outs” to fans of the original A&A run that fans will love. The “bad guys” are laid out and so is the foundation to the entire Valiant Universe. Also, a proud A&A staple is included… a bar fight that ends badly.
It’s great! This comic was an incredibly fun read.
If you have read Fred Van Lente’s comics before, you know what you are in for. He mixes serious stuff with off the wall quirkiness, humor, and fun.
Are Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry a dream team? Possibly. Clayton Henry has a way of drawing the characters and bringing out all of the excitement and humor in the story. If you have read their previous collaboration, Incredible Hercules, you have an idea what you are in for.
This issue set up the characters and the series, and brings us far enough into the story to leave our heroes right in the thick of things. You will laugh, you will laugh some more, and you will love it.
Also, I laughed out loud at Armstrong’s amazing signature fighting move. You probably will too.
Here’s what’s coming up in in August. The great thing about August is that we have three weeks of new Valiant books hitting the stands!
Here’s the books coming up in the month ahead.
Archer & Armstrong #1
It’s a globetrotting quest for the Valiant Universe’s greatest secrets, from the New York Times bestselling team of Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Zombies) and Clayton Henry (Uncanny X-Men)!
Obadiah Archer was born and raised to cherish three things above all else: the faith of his parents, the love of his 22 brothers and sisters, and his lifelong mission to defeat the ultimate evildoer. Now, after years of training, Archer has been dispatched to the heart of America’s festering modern day Babylon, aka New York City, to root out and kill this infamous Great Satan. Unfortunately, dying has never been easy for Archer’s target — the hard-drinking, 10,000-year-old immortal known as Armstrong. Together, this unlikely pair of heroes is about to stumble headfirst into a centuries-old conspiracy that will bring the whole of ancient history crashing down on the modern day Valiant Universe. And that’s going to mean one Hell of a hangover.
Waking up inside a body bag is no way to start the day.
But that’s where you are, and worse yet, you’re 35,000 feet above the desert, guarded by the some of the toughest soldiers on the planet. You’re being flown back to the people who created you, who may have even betrayed you. You’re having a hard time separating your false memories (of family, duty, country) from the grim reality (of bullets, blood, screaming). Who’s really on your side? Why were you created? Where does the “real you” end and the programming begin? There’s only one way to find out – by reaching up and zipping open this bag. And God have mercy on anyone who comes face-to-face with the weapon — no, the man — no, the soldier — known only as Bloodshot.
Welcome to the Harbinger Foundation. Class is now in session.
Throughout his whole life, Peter Stanchek has been confused by his strange powers and their effect on those closest to him. Now, having abandoned everything he knows, Peter has escaped to the confines of Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation where his new training will temper his body, torture his mind and reawaken the horrors of his past. But is all of this truly giving Peter more control over his power? Or simply making him far more dangerous than he’s ever been before?
X-O Manowar #4
X-O Manowar vs. 2012 A.D.
With the enormous power of the X-O Manowar armor at his command, Aric has returned to Earth hell bent on destroying the Roman Empire. But the Rome he encounters is as alien to him as the Vine colony ship he escaped from – because 1,600 years have transpired in his absence. Without fully understanding the consequences of his actions, will Aric’s first act in the modern day ignite a new world war? Meanwhile, the secret history of the Vine’s presence on Earth is finally revealed. Who is corporate mogul Alexander Dorian? Will he be Aric’s one ally in this strange new world – or his very first enemy?
Let us know what you think
Send us your thoughts after you’ve read these books, we will include your thoughts in our upcoming shows!
Read Comics In Public
Tuesday, August 28th is read comics in public day, another of our awesome Comic Book holidays. I know it’s almost a month away, but mark your calendar. Just remember, it’s the day before X-O Manowar hits stands.
Grab your comics, and read some in plain site, fly your flag, show your pride!
Man, could be a great way to publicly show your love for Valiant.
Your show hosts at OTV are all long time fans. We fell in love with Valiant a long time ago, and have read most of, if not all of, the original Valiant books. For us, this relaunch is fantastic. We are seeing great relaunches of characters we love.
But how are these books for new readers? For people that have never read a Valiant book before?
Turns out, they like them, if the reports are true.
After X-O Manowar, a listener named Tony shared a great review of the book with us. It turns out he is a new reader, he never read a Valiant book before May.
He’s been writing great reviews of the Valiant books, and we want to take a minute to showcase them. Take a look at his reviews:
We’ve been diggin’ Tony’s reviews, and we think you will like them too.
Written by Kevin Van HookPencilled by Don PerlinInked by John DixonColored by Jade Moede
Cover Date: January, 1994
Synopsis: “In the last six months, I’ve been hit with several hundred volts of electricity, stabbed throught the stomach by a high-tech ninja, shot and dropped from an airplane. I deserve a little time off.”
With that, Bloodshot, using his alias of Michael Lazarus, takes a vacation away from his work with British Intelligence. He vacations in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and while vacationing on the sands, gets distracted by the drug mob violence in the room next to his. He takes a vacation from his vacation, and gets his hands dirty stopping a gang-land style execution that a local drug boss has planned for some of his lackeys.
Why it’s cool: Bloodshot on vacation! How cool is that! It is fun to see Bloodshot thrown into atypical situations, in this case, trying to relax. Bloodshot kicks back, has a beer, hangs out at the beach, watches a John Wayne movie, plays a nice little trick on some beach punks, meets a lady at the bar, goes on a date, and gets flustered by his date’s more intimate advances. He also seems to have packed his Dessert Eagle with him on the vacation, showing that you can take the man away from the Agency, but you can’t take the agency out of the man. These sort of “slice of life” stories are fun, and this is a great done-in-one issue from the classic Bloodshot series.
Why it was chosen: After what happened in the new Bloodshot #1 this month, don’t you think he deserves a vacation? It would have been easy to pick Archer & Armstrong #0 as the Classic Book Of The Month, to compare and contrast it with the first issue of the new series. You’ve probably already read Archer & Armstrong #0 anyway, since it is one of the three best issuesValiant published in the 90’s (the other two are Eternal Warrior #1 and Rai #0, for the record). I thought it would be fun to take a look at a gem from the middle years of Valiant, and showcase one of the more fun, light-hearted books from the original run. Plus, at the end (spoiler alert), of course he gets the girl.
That’s it for this Newsletter!
As always, this newsletter is an evolving part of what we do at Only The Valiant, if you have any comments or suggestions for this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to let us know! You can send ideas or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org