With the end of July inevitably comes the end of San Diego Comic Con talk. But luckily for you, we still have some buzz up our sleeves.
At SDCC, Valiant Comics unveiled their blind bag exclusives — three, individually bagged in opaque plastic, editions of their “ICONS” initiative. They include: Bloodshot: Salvation #1, Ninja-K #1, and Quantum and Woody #1. “ICONS” will continue throughout the fall and winter with one major new launch each month.
July was the ICONS release of Faith and the Future Force #1, written by Jody Houser with art done by Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson. Faith and the Future Force opens with a kick — talk of Doctor Who, a dude named Adolf Hitler and a dinosaur-like woman. Faith learns from her time travelling buddy, Neela, that an evil robot has learned how to dismantle the fabric of time. Faith, being the Faith Herbert we know and love, jumps into the chaos head first without thinking about the consequences of an evil robot. She soon learns, though, that having a little bit of faith isn’t always enough. Faith and the Future Force #2 will be released August 30th.
Faith and the Future Force wasn’t the only July release from Valiant. X-O Manowar #5 came to shelves on July 26th. To me, X-O Manowar is one of the best ongoing comics out in the market right now; it’s truly remarkable and visually stunning. #5 doesn’t disappoint — despite the high expectations and the possibility of the arc getting stale, protagonist Aric continues to become more engaging with each new issue. Secret Weapons #2 written by Eric Heisserer released on July 19th– and may be the sleeper of 2017. Not only is Eric Heisserer an Oscar-nominated screenwriter but the artist, Raul Allen, is also jaw-droppingly good at what he does. Matt Kindt teamed up with Valiant to release Rapture #3 mid-July. Rapture #3 is a solidifying issue. Babel, to me so far, is pretty human in the sense that he’s now just realizing all the mess that’s happening and what will happen when his plans finally work. Which…same. In this issue we see moments that explain the motivations of Babel, we see Babel’s belief in fate (he and Shadowman must’ve crossed paths for a reason, right?), and we see Babel make promises he might not be able to keep — these issues, the ones that really show who a character is, really are my favorite.
Faith Herbert isn’t the only character coming back to our comic shop shelves soon. One of the biggest Valiant icons, Bloodshot, is returning for Bloodshot: Salvation #1 in September. Valiant has been teasing this arc for quite some time because they’re excited to have Jeff Lemire continuing this character, and so are we. Fred Van Lente (Archer) along with Stephen Segovia (Ninjak) will be releasing War Mother at the end of August. What interests me about this book is that it will explore not just the relationship between war and Earth, but also the relationship between mother and son that is affected by both the dismantling war and the wild Earth.
Outside of their releases, Valiant had a month of fantastic growth. The company expanded their licensing program to Asia, Europe and South America where they’ll sell apparel, merchandise and collectibles via seven different licensing companies. ValiantEntertainment.com debuted on July 17th as the official Valiant website which will include news updates, press releases, calendar of events, complete comics catalog and, for a limited time, 12 exclusive online only issues.
July was a busy month for Valiant, and the next few months don’t seem to be slowing down. (Thankfully for me, you and Dinesh Shamdasani.)