Originally published at InfiniteComix.com
It’s a big week in the world of Valiant. Ivar and his brothers act like brothers in Ivar, Timewalker #6. Bloodshot continues his nanite-collection tour in Bloodshot Reborn #3. And finally, the “Dead Hand” arc reaches its conclusion in X-O Manowar #37.
Bloodshot Reborn #3
Mico Suayan’s detailed, gritty artwork is perfectly suited for a character as hardcore as Bloodshot. Then he throws in an image of the cartoonish Bloodsquirt, who sticks out like a sore thumb, and the book becomes even more enjoyable. Add on top of it a fantastic script from Jeff Lemire, and Bloodshot Reborn #3 is another great addition to the rebirth of Valiant’s most badass killing machine.
Since taking on writing duties, going back to The Valiant miniseries, Lemire has mined below the nanites to flesh out who the man behind the machine guns is. The answer has been surprising, and as a result yielded wonderful, character driven storytelling. Bloodshot Reborn #3 continues Ray’s internal struggle to maintain his humanity and find piece while simultaneously reclaiming the nanites which were expelled from his body in The Valiant. Of all the titles Valiant has published in recent years, this might just be their finest effort yet.
Ivar, Timewalker #6
As fantastic as the Valiant Universe has been since its 2012 relaunch, it has been a mostly serious endeavor. Titles such as Quantum & Woody or even Archer & Armstrong feel separate from the larger, interconnected universe established in titles like Unity and X-O Manowar. However, Ivar, Timewalker might be that bridge title that unites the serious and the silly.
By sticking all three of the Anni-Padda brothers together, Fred Van Lente and Francis Portella add charm and wit to the book which is engrossing. Those that have not been following Valiant from the beginning may not know Gilad or Armstrong very well, and the opening pages inform them of their personalities in a humorous, entertaining way. Longtime readers are not left behind, as the same interaction gives insight (if somewhat vague) to their familial relationships.
Despite the humorous opening, there is serious peril found within the pages of Ivar, Timewalker #6. That readers are genuinely concerned about the well-being of three immortal characters is a testament to Fred Van Lente’s writing prowess. There are also several sequences that enable Francis Portella’s expressive art to shine brightly. Based on the overall quality of this series’ first six issues, comic creators should attempt to break history more often.
X-O Manowar #37
Many titles have come and gone, but since 2012, Robert Venditti’s X-O Manowar has remained Valiant’s one constant presence. The series’ latest installment sees the “Dead Hand” arc come to a close in a satisfying manner. With that said, X-O Manowar #37 belongs to art team of Diego Bernard (pencils), Ryan Winn (inks), and Brian Reber (colors). Delivering on the solicitations’ promise, this is a action-packed, cosmic adventure as Aric and his “armor army” make a final stand against the Dead Hand protocol in the orbit of Mars.
Though the outcome is somewhat predictable, Venditti maintains hold of the reader’s interest through character depictions and a side of ominous foreshadowing. However, the art is the real draw to this issue. The cosmic scope of the battle enables Bernard to experiment with various character designs for each one of the armors. The various shapes and sizes stand out in a universe that is almost entirely comprised of humanoid characters. The scope of the narrative also allows Bernard, Winn, and Reber to produce stunning visuals.