Just looking at the cover, it’s clear that the publisher isn’t pulling any punches. Rafa Sandoval captures nearly every major player in the Valiant Universe with his eye-popping cover. Inside the cover is a nice write-up giving insight into the publisher’s history as well as teasing its future. A brief “interview” with Jeff Lemire gives way to as short story, “The Dream” (art by Butch Guice) which is a nice lead-in to Bloodshot Reborn. The opening pages of Matt Kindt and Clay Mann’s Ninjak #1 is presented, as well as a preview of X-O Manowar: Dead Hand by Robert Venditti and Sandoval. The issue is also peppered with teases of upcoming series which have yet to be announced, but the art alone is tantalizing.
The issue’s concluding pages fills in readers on more character backgrounds, including Bloodshot, Archer and Armstrong, and Unity, as well as events that have transpired in the new Valiant Universe. The final page offers tribute to every creator that has contributed creatively to the publisher. New readers may not recognize the names, but longtime readers that haven’t tried out their books may be interested in diving into back-issue bins upon seeing names like “Jim Shooter” and “Joe Quesada”.
This was a very dense freebie. If the goal was to recruit in new readers while exciting the current readership with the future, then the Valiant 25th Anniversary Special is a success.