This weeks post is about Valiant’s longest running book, X-O Manowar. Issue #42 was released last week so there is a lot of catching up to do. I purchased the first volume, this weekend and am glad I did. I recommend that anyone who is interested in Valiant comics and in particular X-O Manowar read this before jumping into the latest issue. A new arc begins in a few weeks time and I feel much better about buying in now that I know his origin story.
I didn’t know anything about this character before I picked up the first volume other than he has a special suit of armor. I don’t want to spoil too much about his origin story in case people want to read it for themselves but it’s pretty epic. It all begins in ancient Rome and then moves to another planet and then back to present day earth. X-O Manowar (Aric of Dacia) is a man out of time and that’s what makes his story so compelling. He’s like Captain America without the moral high ground. I’ve never been a huge fan of Captain America, I like my heroes to have a bit more of an edge, like Tony Stark, Wolverine or Batman, they do the right thing but not always the right way. In this regard X-O Manowar really works for me.
The book is a fast paced, page turner with stunning artwork. It was very satisfying to be able to read the first four issues together, they really do tell a great origin story, X-O Manowar is something unique in comics and I can’t wait to read more.
This week Valiant releases an issue that gives a back story to Manowar’s nemesis, Commander Trill. He plays heavily in the origin story so I’ll definitely be picking that up this week.
This week we got everything that was expected in week 3, so the first couple of weeks on the Marvel app were a bit different to the print release but going forward hopefully the same group of titles will be added to the app that were originally released together in the same week.
This week 8 new Secret Wars titles were added.
Odin tries to convince the congress of worlds that the end is coming, they do not believe him. ‘King Loki’ or evil Loki from the future, eavesdrops on Odin talking to Freyja and now is plotting to try and stay alive. Young Loki on earth knows the end is coming but believes Verity Willis life story may be important and not everything will end. Evil Loki goes to Hel to ask a favor from Hela and Tyr. Back on Asgard Freyja takes Odin to show him a magical weapon that may help them beat the incursions. Heimdall show the Asgardians that Loki is coming with the forces of Hel, he is riding Jormungandr the World Serpant. Odin and Freyja are there with weapons to fight Loki.
This issue contains two different stories about different regions of the Battleworld.
Frank Castle, The Punisher has Dr. Strange’s soul attached to him. He is being hunted by the Infernal Four (created when, a Hulk, a Ghost Rider, a Wolverine and a Spider-man where trapped in the Demonic Domain). Punisher has been crossing borders and now Doom wants him captured alive. Punisher kills himself and takes out everyone but Wolverine. Dr. Strange’s soul attaches itself to Wolverine and they head back to Inferno.
This story is set in a top secret AIM laboratory in The Warzone. M.O.D.O.K. has transported other versions of himself to the lab, his plan is to take over from Doom and have each version of himself run different part of Battleworld. The different M.O.D.O.K.’s fight and the original decided to send them back. Baby M.O.D.O.K. destroys the transporter and a battle erupts. Two Thors arrive, having been sent to the lab by Sheriff Strange, they find the M.O.D.O.K. either dead or injured, they have destroyed the lab and each other.
Set in Battleworld Manhattan. Heroes from the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Marvel Universe are at odds and trying to figure out how they ended up where they are. The book begins with a huge superhero battle about to begin and then flashes back to tell us the story of how they ended up fighting each other.
Set in the Battleworld region known as K’un Lun. A region run by a benevolent Emperor Zheng Zu. The Emperor is selected in the 13 chambers through trail by combat. The 13 chambers are about to open up for the latest trial. Zheng Zu’s son Shang-Chi has come out of hiding after being accused of murdering Lord Tuan. Emperor Zu sends for Laughing Skull and Red Sai to hunt Shang-Chi.
All the different Spiders are back. They are in Battleworld Manhattan and while everyone else on Battleworld has no memory of the incursion or their previous lives, their spider-senses are telling them that something is not right on this world. There is also a bonus Spider-Ham story.
There is a whole area of Battleworld that is separated from the rest by a huge ocean. The region is called Greenland and it’s entire population has been exposed to gamma radiation. Captain America is sent there on a mission by Doom to eliminate the Red King in Greenland. He is looking for Bucky who is thought to be dead, Sheriff Strange tells him that Bucky is being held by the Red King. The second half of the issue is a back story telling the origin of the Planet of the Hulks and how Greenland became what it is.
This book is not set on Battleworld. Instead it is Deadpool telling the story of the first Marvel Secret Wars event that took place in the 80’s. While Deadpool did not appear in the comics until the 90’s. He retells the original story and puts himself in it. This is a fun book but only required Secret Wars reading if you are a big Deadpool fan.
A free issue that was given away on Free Comic Book day. It has some brief backstory about the making of Reed Richards raft.
My discovery of Valiant Comics comes at a time when I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the volume of titles being released by the big two publishers. I love the characters and stories but recently we have been seeing over 20 titles a week being release by Marvel, and DC aren’t far behind. That’s a lot to choose from and hard work to keep up with what’s happening.
The current incarnation of Valiant Comics has only been around for about 4 years, so it’s not hard to buy a few collected volumes and catch up with everything. Valiant typically only release around 2 titles a week so it’s easy to read everything, and being a bit of a completest that works great for me. It truly feels like quality over quantity and I hope things stay that way.
The first Valiant book I read was Ninjak Vol. #1 Weaponeer. I flicked through the pages in the store and the vibrant colors of the beautiful artwork really caught my eye. The first volumes of all the Valiant titles are only $9.99. Volume #1 collects the first 5 issues of Ninjak making this book a bargain, so I gave it a go. I wasn’t disappointed, once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I loved that each of the collected issues ended with The Lost Files flashbacks, telling us more about Colin and how he became Ninjak. As a new reader it was really cool to have character background and in just five issues I felt like I really got to know him.
Ninjak is British secret agent, who works for MI-6 but he’s also a highly trained ninja assassin. (He’s like a ninja James Bond). There is also a touch of Bruce Wayne about him.
I went on to read issues #6, #7, #8 & #9 which comprise the Shadow Wars story arc. They will be released as a collected paperback on 12/2/2015 for $14.99 and a new arc starts in Ninjak #10 the following week.
In the next few months I plan to read more Ninjak in the Valiant series Unity. Ninjak appears in that title as a part of a Valiant team of characters.