The Ninjabot

Advance Review: The Valiant #1 (Spoiler-Free)

Posted on December 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm by Tyler Waterman

THE-VALIANT_001_COVER_RIVERA

Advance Review: The Valiant #1

Written By: Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt
Art By: Paolo Rivera
Inks By: Joe Rivera
Letters By: Dave Lanphear

Review by: Tyler Waterman

One of the greatest challenges comic publishers face is bringing in new readers. Getting into comics can be overwhelming, and “just start at #1” isn’t as easy as it sounds. With mountains of back-issues to hunt down, and reboots and retcons making it difficult to decide where to start, the learning curve to breaking into this medium can often be too steep for someone with a beginner’s casual interest. Of course, publishers are aware of this dilemma, which means one of the most common advertisements you’ll see for new issues is the promise that it’s “the perfect starting point for new readers.” Unfortunately, as with any tagline, it isn’t always accurate, and often times readers are still left scratching their heads despite the promise that they wouldn’t be left behind.

All that being said, let me start off this review by making one thing perfectly clear. Valiant Entertainment wants you to believe that The Valiant #1 is the perfect starting point for new readers, and they are absolutely, positively, 100% right.

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The Geomancer might be lost, but new readers won’t be.

Of course, the problem with many books that serve as excellent “jumping on” points for new readers is that they often leave long-time fans feeling unfulfilled. Books that make such a promise are almost always relevant to the mythos of the characters they depict, but they also tend to be filled with rehashed origin stories or character introductions that leave already-reading fans feeling like they didn’t get anything they didn’t already know. The Valiant #1 couldn’t be any farther from that. The book feels fresh and new, and appropriately important. I read it twice, the first time as a fan, and then a second from the perspective of a first-time Valiant reader, and both times felt completely gratified; and therein lies what makes this book so good.

Valiant has found the secret to the perfect jumping on point: it isn’t trying to tell everything you need to know about a character, it’s about proving these are characters you want to know more about. Deciding you want to get into a comic character and then finding out their Wikipedia page is ten miles long is a brick wall to someone with no real vested interest. However, if that same person was just introduced to a character they suddenly want to know everything about, that’s the best news they’ll get all day. You’ll have them hooked, and if it takes some research to jump in, that research becomes a fun pastime instead of a necessary chore.

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Do you wanna know how I got these scars?

It surprises me that it feels like none of us have realized this until now, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt were the ones to solve it first. This is comic storytelling at its finest, where every character is intriguing to new fans yet familiar to old, and easily one of the smoothest writer team-ups I’ve ever read. Sometime a collaboration suffers from conflicting styles, but both Lemire and Kindt have a writing style that flows like water; sometimes slow, sometimes rapid, always beautiful. The end result is so seamless that putting the two together feels more like common sense than simply a good idea.

All this, and I haven’t even touched Paolo Rivera’s art on this book yet. We as comic fans always have dream artist/character matchups; the “I’d love to see ___ on ___” discussion is a favorite debate. Let me tell you the characters I’d like to see Paolo Rivera draw: all of them. He’s just that good. In particular, he’s the perfect fit for The Valiant #1. His distinct style is amazingly human, particularly his mastery of facial expressions, and it matches the gravity of Lemire and Kindt’s words perfectly. Partner that with Joe Rivera’s heavy inks (who happens to be Paolo’s father, which is awesome), as well as Dave Lanphear’s smooth letters, and you come out with a total package that is just as important as Valiant promised.

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Did I mention the creature designs? Enjoy the nightmares!

You’ve never touched a Valiant book before? Buy The Valiant #1 and you’ll be hooked before you’ve even finished. Been around since 2012? This book feels like the prize inside the cereal box, and makes it clear that our beloved Valiant world is just getting started.

This review marks the premier of the new comic review format here at Geek Legacy, and it’s only fitting that the first review ends up earning a perfect score. Simply put, I can’t find a single thing about this book that doesn’t blow me away. The only complaint I could possibly have is that the book ends; I’d be much happier if it was as bottomless as Armstrong’s bag. This one also looks to be worth a trip to your LCS, as it marks the premier of the promising Valiant Prestige format. (Update: Now that I’ve seen it, I can confirm the Prestige Edition is absolutely worth the drive. The high-quality format is everything Valiant promised, and also serves to drive home the idea that The Valiant #1 is more than just your standard comic. It’s so nice I bought two copies!)

Never before has a book so lived up to the hype. Grab it, and welcome to the Valiant Universe.

Writing: 10 out of 10
Art: 10 out of 10
Presentation: 10 out of 10

Readability: Accessible to all readers

Overall Score: 10 out of 10

 

The Valiant #1 releases December 10th, 2014, and can be purchased digitally through comiXology or in print at a fine comics retailer near you.

Geek Legacy’s comic review system is based on three criteria. Both the writing and art each receive scores on a 1-10 scale. For writing, a 10 is the stuff of legends, while a 1 is legendarily bad. For art, a 10 is almost too beautiful to look at, while a 1 is also hard to look at, but not in a good way. Presentation refers to inks, lettering and layout, and is also graded on a 1-10 scale. Readability reflects how accessible it is to fans both new and old, and is strictly for reader awareness; it does not factor into the final score.

This review was based off a digital advance copy provided by Valiant Entertainment.

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