Valiant is getting a lot of buzz from the Comic Book News outlets. And it is richly deserved. It's prior implosions were pretty spectacular given how big of a market share the publisher used to have. Even the second round by Acclaim was rather lack-luster.
What was once built on hype, massive cross-overs, and endless variant covers is now built on the most import aspect of comic books which is story-telling. These relaunches are far from flawless but it is obvious that attention was spent on assembling the creative team and creating strong editorial control. All of the series are complicated and have endless possibilities.
So how were this week's issues?
Harbinger - Issue 5
This issue is brings to a close the beginning of a story. That story is of Peter Stanchek, the soon to be called Sting. And, it starts the story of Peter and Faith fleeing the Harbinger Foundation. It took a little while to get there but there is something to be said for allowing the story to unfold naturally.
There are still a lot of questions unanswered. The biggest is how delusional is Toyo Harada? He seems to be harboring a false sense of control when there are so many loose cannons in his organization. And he couldn't sway Peter to his view point. Even the Bloody Monk doesn't want to stick around.
The other questions are more character driven. Where are Peter and Faith going? How did Faith get powers? Will Peter ever get control of his anger? Is he destined to be the father of Magnus? Does Magnus even exist in this new Valiant universe? Will Peter and Toyo come to see the symmetry they share?
The artwork continues to be solid in this series. There is a great deal of detail on the page, especially in the backgrounds. The coloring is vibrant and broad. Faces are still a bit odd but it's not too distracting. And the recap at the beginning is excellent.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
X-O Manowar - Issue 6
This issue felt like one giant fight. It wasn't but it really only takes place in one cyber-space and one space ship. The best thing about this issue was the emergence of potential allies for Aric. And he needs allies as he spent half the issue unconscious and wouldn't have survived without, at least, one. Plus, it gives him someone to talk to besides himself.
The shifts of characters to his side makes sense. Alexander is much more human than Vine. It's reasonable he's more motivated to save the only home he knows. And with Ninjak, well, he just needed to be shown reality. Though, it's still not clear he's switched sides.
Already, Ninjak is seeming like a more interesting character than his prior iteration. He has a more Batman feel than before. Aric will need someone like that. Especially, given the setup for the war that seems to be coming.
The look of this series is alright. The quality is adequate as it keeps the story moving forward. The coloring is very good. The cover is solid and dramatic. The series recap it, also, excellent.
Score: 7.5 out of 10