Molly Jackson: Looking Past The Big Two
It’s fully summer now, with all the heat, sunburns and humidity that the earth can muster up. As a summer tradition, I like to hide indoors by an air conditioner and read. It’s much better than outside, where the big orange ball scorches me.
I signed up for the Comixology Unlimited app, mostly to check it out and see how it is. Its biggest strength and weakness is the amount of older material on there. A lot of volume ones but lacking in more recent materials. However, it has given me an opportunity to catch up on some titles that I was always interested in but didn’t start; either due to lack of funds or lack of stock at the library. Luckily, this has lead me back to Valiant.
Before this app, I had only read a few issues of Valiant titles, barely testing the waters in their universe. When Faith came out, I did jump in wholeheartedly because her story really does speak to me and is beautifully created by Jody Houser, Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage. I agree with my fellow columnist Martha Thomases that it is a must read. Despite this amazing, eye-catching title, I feel like Valiant series are usually underrated or ignored. So with this app, I finally have the chance to go back to the beginning of the new Valiant universe and start from scratch. (As a side note, the current Valiant universe is based on the original Valiant universe created in the 1990’s. A group of investors/Valiant fans restarted the company and the universe came back in 2012. I’m strictly talking about the newest iteration of this universe.)
Well, I’m loving my journey through Valiant. It’s been an interesting ride, reading what I can from the various series. This entire Valiant universe is weaved so well, it’s almost perfect in its structure. Characters can float from book to book, including overarching villain plans and origin stories. I can finally read Faith’s origin in Harbingers, while also getting introduced to Gilad the Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, Toyo Harada and so many others who show up throughout the universe. For humor I’ve got Archer and Armstrong, and for a taste of true honor I’ve got X-O Manowar.
What I like best is that this is better for me than the big two. I don’t feel the weight of the overtold stories or muddled past. This universe is laid out and still new enough that stories don’t feel repetitive or overdone. When I feel like I’ve missed something, it’s just because I haven’t gotten to that series yet, not because it is a reference to an older story from 5 reboots ago. It’s a fresh, different take on superheroes, mutants (aka psiots in Valiant), aliens, and mythology. With all of our complaining about DC and Marvel constant resets, we had another worthwhile option this whole time.
If you need another opinion than mine, the fact that Valiant received 50 Harvey award nominations this year (as in more than every other publisher) should sell you on checking out this universe. If you haven’t read anything from Valiant, I still think the Faith mini-series is a great place to start, followed by the upcoming Faith ongoing series that starts in a couple weeks. Just remember, Faith is a gateway to a whole new universe of superheroes. Once you get started, I think you’ll want to continue.