Originally published at InfiniteComix.com
Valiant Entertainment consistently produces some of the best comics on stands today. With a limited number of titles published at any given time, and a united creative vision from some of the industry’s best artists, Valiant is a publisher that everyone should keep an eye on each and every week. This week’s offerings are…
Matt Kindt carries forward the narrative structure from last month into Unity #20. As the War Monger takes on another member of Unity in the present, Kindt continues to fill in her backstory through a previous incarnation of Valiant’s super-team. The dual narrative structure of the story allows for two distinct art styles, one lead by Jose Luis, and the other by Jefte Palo.
For a creator with as varied ideas as Kindt has, this arc is suffering from a case of deja vu in following a narrative structure similar to the previous arc. However, there is enough structural differentiation to enable it to stand on its own. Also, War Monger is quickly developing into one of the better original creations in the new Valiant Universe. Gender representation is something that all comic publishers are struggling with, and as rare as it is to see strong female characters, it’s even rarer to see a well developed female villain. That’s exactly what is being developed here. It serves as a testament to Kindt’s mastery of this universe.
As mentioned, the art duties are split between Jose Luis, who handles the flashbacks, and Jefte Palo, who handles the present day sequences. While their styles are great on their own, together they cause the issue to feel uneven. Their clashing art styles is thankfully the only dent in an otherwise great issue.
Bloodshot Reborn #4
There is a line of dialogue in Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan’s Bloodshot Reborn #4 which perfectly summarizes the Valiant Universe: “There are no innocents.” This is a universe populated not by heroes or villains, only people. And people are more complicated that the simple dichotomy of good versus evil that is pushed by the Big Two. Therein lies the strength of Bloodshot Reborn #4.
Though the issue contains an expected confrontation between the titular protagonist and another nanite-enhanced challenge. Lemire maintains the book’s focus on Ray Garrison’s struggle to maintain his humanity. This is best exemplified by a sequence in which Ray attempts to comfort a young woman as his psychological projections of Bloodsquirt and Kay the Geomancer try goading him into killing her. Credit to Mico Suayan’s art for allowing characters – especially Ray – to express raw emotional anguish. Combined with the ominous foreshadowing in issue’s closing page, Bloodshot Reborn #4 is among the most complete single issue issues published by Valiant.