Welcome back to another edition of New Release Reviews for Valiant Entertainment. We've got four titles we're looking at this week including the relaunch of Eternal Warrior. As always … titles are scored on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the very best possible. We take the time to read these books so your time isn't wasted.
Eternal Warrior - Issue 1
As always, we're behind schedule with our Valiant reviews. Not really sure why as they're great about getting review copies out. I think as their line grows, this will happen less. And that's a good thing because their series are pretty good. Even this series seems to have some potential, even if this is a bit unusual. That's from a structure standpoint. The issue is split up into two halves. The first focuses on a battle Gilad participated in a long time ago. This half was the weaker version, even for fans of old-school Conan. The battle was fine but the artwork really killed the flow. Character's weren't clear and the action was hard to follow.
The second half was much closer to the present but it's still not quite clear when. It was much easier to follow, even if the return of a character you thought long gone was confusing. And the part with the dog was just terrible. It seemed to be done to emphasize a theme of loss. And there is the emergence of a villain with zero build ruining the impact. Honestly, maybe this was the weaker half. Gilad's conversation with his guest seemed similar to the first half where relationships were one-dimensional. Plus the artwork is just not well-suited for sequential story-telling, no matter how great the cover looks.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps - Issue 14
This issue positions the series to turn into something interesting. Bloodshot, thus far, has been more strange then enjoyable. The weirdness of his memories and the disturbing nature of his powers overshadowed his connection to the world at large. He's a monster. And thus far it's either been people who are afraid of him or his enemies who are afraid of him. Finally, it seems that maybe there will be people he can talk to. This story line should provide direction as the H.A.R.D. Corps characters seem complex enough to care about. The recap at the star was very helpful. The artwork is excellent with very good coloring.
Score: 7 out of 10
X-O Manowar - Issue 17
The politics should be more interesting here, but it's so America focused, that it seems unfocused. The biggest problem with this series has been solved. Aric is unbeatable so now he has people to protect, thus making him vulnerable. There are a lot of new characters which is a bit confusing but their dialogue helps us connect. The interior art is fine. The cover is alright.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Archer And Armstrong - Issue 13
The Valiant Entertainment relaunch has been pretty solid overall. The various series have been, generally, pretty good. Archer And Armstrong has been the most enjoyable of the series as there seems to be little limitations in where the story is going. This is a blessing and, I suppose, a bit of a curse. One of the charms of this universe is the tight editorial control. Everything fits in nicely. Plot points carry over between series even when there aren't cross-overs. It feels like a place where when one thing happens, it affects everyone. This is nice as major events seem to have meaning. I spoke with one of Valiant's sales people and they confirmed my observation that continuity drills down even into the coloring as all the series have a similar design to them.
Why Archer And Armstrong seems to be more enjoyable is that the creative team seems to get challenged each month to do something crazier each time. Redacted is, easily, one of the best new characters of late. Just bizarre. Strange, sudden sexual moments between unlikely characters. Even Ivar's Time Bandits style time travel. The cover of this books should sum this all up with Archer, riding a dinosaur and being shot at by a U.F.O. Dialogue is fun. Artwork is great.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
A fairly good week of reviews for the Valiant Entertainment line of comic books. Archer And Armstrong is the best of the bunch and Eternal Warrior is the weakest. Fingers crossed it picks things up as it goes. Stop on back next week for more New Release Reviews.