Valiant Summit 2017
Article By. Aaron D. Marrero
Comics After Dark was invited this week to Valiant Summit; Valiant’s annual news conference and expo. The expo was hosted by Hunter Gorinson (VP Marketing & Communications, Valiant Entertainment) with special guests Dinesh Shamdasani (CEO, Valiant Entertainment) and Warren Simons (Editor-in-Chief, Valiant Entertainment), as well as comic creators such as Matt Kindt, Eric Heisserer, Jody Houser, and Christos Gage. The event was held at Hyper RPG’s studio in Los Angeles.
We were given an inside look at what’s to come from Valiant Entertainment, including all the latest news. In this article, I will be breaking down the news and previews of Valiant’s 2017 comic book releases.
To start off, we were given news that XO Manowars is officially the best-selling comic book of 2017. With over 90,000 copies sold Matt Kindt’s story has captivated comic book readers and enthusiasts. Matt explains his run on the series as the age of the barbarian and explains who Donovan Wylie is as a man. Matt accomplished building a world and making it real. The story is not just about the mission but, a development of the planet he finds himself on. There are three new distinctive races with their own cultures and history. Donovan finds himself having to deal with an alien world and is pushed out of his comfort zone. All these things and more make the protagonist a more relatable character to the readers.
Matt Kindt also released the news that the future of XO Manowars will have plenty of more aliens and even a new squad of bounty hunters inspired from the days of Empire Strikes Back. Also be sure to keep an out for Valiant’s free comic day issue of XO Manowars that will be free at participating comic book stores.
The second teaser showed us the newest book coming April 26: Britannia: We who are about to die.
“Fifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the stands of the coliseum with captured breath as Achillia, a gladiator unlike any seen before, faces incredible odds as one lone warrior against five of the empire’s greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female combatant enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the crowd roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. Now only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well.
On the other side of the city, a strange mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. In the dead of night, down winding alleys, the elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking the city…visions that are driving them mad. Even more are becoming sick with weird fever god-dreams. Panic spreads. The Chief Vestal, Rubria, is found guilty in the eyes of Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifixion unless the deadly curse is lifted. She asks Antonius Axia, hero of Britannia and Rome’s only detective, for help. She offers only one clue…the gladiator Achillia.”
Britannia is an example of evolution when it comes to Valiant comics. It has the world’s first detective that does not put his faith in the gods but, psychology and philosophy. Britannia is back with a bad ass female gladiator that keeps the plot action packed. In a world where studying a body for evidence is desecration, how will our detective solve the mystery without becoming one himself?
“On a scarred landscape, two otherworldly armies prepare to battle one last time, vying for control of a massive tower named from an ancient language no longer permitted to be spoken.
One army is led by a primeval force named Babel, whose goal is singular: to breach “Heaven” no matter the cost. The only thing standing in his way is a gray-haired barbaric warrior, filled with rage and regret, a man who sees this battle as his last chance for redemption. But he knows his depleted forces have little chance of victory unless aid comes.
Enter Tama: A 12-year old girl on the crest of a hill overlooking the battle, who has just become humanity’s only hope. The last in an ancient line of mystics who protect the Earth, she has foreseen this battle and knows millions will perish if she’s unable to stop it. Now Tama and her ragtag team of malcontents – Ninjak, Shadowman and Punk Mambo – must somehow defeat an elder god hell bent on piercing the heavens.
This summer, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O Manowar) and artistic sensation CAFU (Rai) lead a Tolkien-esque journey into the space between life and death…through the Deadside…and into the many worlds that lie beyond right here with a spellbinding and horrific standalone event!”
This next event I am personally excited for. Rapture #1 will bring together characters you would never expect to team up. Ninjak is thrown into the Deadside and runs into a familiar face to the Valiant universe; Shadowman. Rapture is a stand-alone story perfect for new and old readers alike involving none other than fan favorite the Geomancer. Rapture is a key component to the return of Shadowman (although the Valiant crew states he won’t be returning; cough, cough, lies!). Geomancer is described as the supernatural Nancy Drew. Matt Kindt also asks the important question: where is the liveside? Why does Shadowman continue to be pulled to the deadside? And why is Geomancer the key? You’ll have to wait to find out in the upcoming story: Rapture.
Secret Weapons coming in June.
“Eric Heisserer – the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of ARRIVAL and Valiant’s upcoming HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT feature films – joins Harvey Award-nominated visionary Raúl Allén (Wrath of the Eternal Warrior) for an all-new Valiant Prestige-format adventure…launching Livewire and an extraordinary new team of heroes into the fight of their lives!
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…”
Eric Heisserer got involved with Valiant out of pure passion. He’s a fan of the books and more importantly, the stories. He wanted to see more of one of his favorite characters and the pitch was made in the spur of the moment. Which has led us to today’s newest project for Eric: Secret Weapons. The island of misfits meets X-men in this upcoming epic tale of personal struggle and growth. Rejected by the very people that told them they were special and now being hunted one by one by some unknown force. Livewire is on a mission to save these children, but will her abilities be enough? And how will these new power driven kids find a way to work with their powers that aren’t so helpful? I am tremendously excited for this original tale by Eric Heisserer. I’m even more excited to see how he will use this group of misfits to do something truly historic.
Next up is one of Valiant fans favorite new hero: Faith. Faith is a breath of fresh air currently written by Jody Houser. What makes Faith is her uncanny optimism. She loves being a hero and loves saving the world. She’s optimistic enough to know she can make a difference in the world, while also putting her optimism to the test. But what is the future of Faith? Turns out it involves both future and past.
“Faith “Zephyr” Herbert – former member of Unity, current Harbinger Renegade, and Los Angeles’ #1 superhero – is the universe’s last, best chance at survival! Centuries from today, a devious artificial intelligence has unleashed a blistering attack on the very foundations of time…one that is unwriting history from beginning to end! Now, with her options exhausted, Neela Sethi, Timewalker – the self-appointed protector of what is and will be – has returned to the 21st century to recruit Earth’s greatest champions of today and tomorrow to oppose this existential threat…and she needs Faith to lead them! But why Faith? And why now?”
If you’ve read Faith then you know how big of a Dr. Who fan she is. Now for the first time in her history she will be time traveling to save not only the world, but the entire universe. Everything hangs in the balance in her biggest adventure yet. This story arc will have multiple artists in order to tell the story the only way comic books can. Valiant will be releasing more information about Faith and the Future Force soon.
I can’t tell you much about the next story due to the fact that it is CLASSIFIED. The newest comic book coming in August is simply titled Classified and that is all the information that was released. Who the story is written by is Top Secret! Who the artist is, is Top Secret! All we know is it’s worth keeping it a secret.
Written by [TOP SECRET]
Art by [TOP SECRET]
Cover by [TOP SECRET]”
One of my favorite Valiant characters is coming back with vengeance in Bloodshot: Salvation.
“Now: In the arms of his beloved girlfriend Magic, Bloodshot has finally found hope for the future…in the form of the couple’s unborn child. But when Magic’s estranged family – a cruel and sadistic clan of homegrown criminals – re-emerge to lay claim to their lost daughter, Bloodshot will be pushed back to the brink of madness, mayhem, and warfare…
Soon: Eight years from today, Bloodshot’s daughter has inherited her father’s incredible abilities. Hunted by a high-tech kill squad called Omen, Jessie must hone her powers…and learn how to survive before the world is swallowed whole by the darkness that now pervades America…”
Jeff Lemire is writing the craziest, bloodiest Bloodshot story yet. Bloodshot gives up his old ways and tries to build a life for himself. Jesse (Bloodshot’s daughter) shows him what it means to be a father. And surprise, surprise, something horrible happens. The story will have a duel narrative with two timelines at once and a roster of deadly villains. Two of which are named Omen and The Scared man. Not much is known about The Scared Man except he was created out of the wake of Bloodshot Island. Be sure to check out this story arc drawn by Lewis Larosa and Mico Suayan.
What came next was the announcement of a story that will expand the Valiant universe into the unknown. Venture into cosmic wonder with the newest Divinity story written by Matt Kindt and drawn by Trevor Hairsine named “Eternity”. Valiant has been teasing the idea of this comic for the past two years. Divinity has a baby and that’s just were the story starts off. Divinity will be exploring a whole new universe unlike anything we’ve ever seen. See upwards to 25 all new cosmic beings. Eternity is not a person but, a place. This story arc will answer the question; what gave Divinity his power? Inspired by the early work of Jack Kirby and out of the mind of Matt Kindt comes awesome weird characters that are from out of this dimension and outrank Divinity in power as well as imagination. Divinity’s child goes missing and even his cosmic power can’t find his child. Watch as Divinity ventures into the unknown. All the character design is by Matt Kindt and Khari Evans.
“Beyond time… Beyond space… Beyond reality itself… ETERNITY awaits!” Eternity #1 Coming this October.
Now, this is for the ninja fans out there. This November get ready to find out how the MI6 started the Ninja Program in “Ninja-K” Issue 1.
“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 globetrotting 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.”
Ninjak is a MI6 secret agent that happens to be a ninja. His jerkish attitude is only matched by his strive to fight evil. But when Ninjak finds out he wasn’t the only ninja on payroll, he decides to get to the bottom of it all. There wasn’t just one ninja but, 11 in the history of MI6. Jump into the history of the Ninja Program starting in WWII. Ninja-K is written by Christos Gage and drawn by Tomas Giorello because only they can give us a story that lives up to the Ninjak name. The only difference between Ninjak and the others; is that Ninjak retain his free will. If you’re jumping into this character for the first time, there is no need to worry. This story arc is the perfect origin story for the program which Ninjak’s history is based on. Be sure to pick up the espionage story arc of the year in November’s issue of Ninja-K #1.
Last but not least for Valiant’s 2017 line up was the odd, odd couple of the century: Quantum and Woody. Coming this December, Valiant is bringing back one of their most missed titles.
“Sometimes…you embrace your destiny. And sometimes…you and your trouble-making adopted brother find yourselves trapped in a scientific lab explosion that grants you $@&%ing awesome super-powers. As a result of their accident, Eric and Woody Henderson – aka Quantum and Woody – must “klang” their wristbands together every 24 hours or both dissipate into nothingness. Which makes superhero-ing pretty awkward when you’re not on speaking terms at the moment. See, Eric has been keeping a pretty big secret: He knows who Woody’s birth father really is…and where he’s been hiding all these years.
With great power comes great sibling rivalry! This winter, you’ll believe two men and one goat can split a one-bedroom apartment and still be a credible threat to evil and injustice everywhere when QUANTUM AND WOODY make headlines and take names!”
The comic will be written by Daniel Kibblesmith and drawn KANO. The crowd of Valiant Summit literally bounced with excitement when it came to this title. We’ll finally being seeing our two favorite brothers in a way we’ve never seen before. The brother’s not being on speaking terms is a metaphor for family. You may not want to see or speak to your family but, sometimes you have no choice.
This story is so popular that even the Russo Brothers are getting involved and creating a sitcom for TV based on the original comic book. The show will be a family comedic based sitcom with heart. There are plenty of things coming next year for Quantum and Woody.
That was all the new comics coming from Valiant in 2017. But they did have some new news about 2018.
Starting in December, Harbinger Wars 2 will only be available to those who bought the Harbinger Wars: Renegade series. Harbinger Wars 2 will be the biggest event of 2018 and will even include the death of a Valiant character. Keep an eye out for Harbinger Wars 2 issue 0 (in Dec.) and Harbinger War: Renegade issue 5 (in July).
What about Shadowman? Don’t worry we got you covered.
The most demanded character by the fans will be coming back March 28, 2018. Shadowman returns from the Deadside. I know a year is a long time to wait but, what I love about Valiant is that they take the time to make sure their stories are solid. That means a better story with no plot holes. I quote Dinesh Shamdasani (CEO, Valiant Entertainment) when I say “The story is worth the time. Sometimes they may need to take a break because it’s the stories that matter. When the stories are ready, it is because they are complete and not being rushed out the door.” Believe me when I say Shadowman will be worth the wait and most likely will be best-selling book of 2018.
And that concludes Valiant Summit 2017. I hope you enjoyed reading about the experience and if you want to see footage live from the event, I’ve included Ratt Haus Productions coverage of the event below.
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