Valiant takes on gaming en route to The Harbinger Wars


My ardor for Valiant Comics, whose virtues I couldn’t stop extolling last summer, have cooled. Yes, a sad affair. Maybe what we need to spice up our relationship again is a war. A good ol’ fashioned HARBINGER WAR.

Which, incidentally, Valiant is bringing to everyone starting in April. It looks to be Valiant’s first company wide crossover since re-launching the line last year. To help celebrate and get the word out, Valiant is going the 8-bit nostalgia route (via artist Matthew Waite) with all of its April covers (see below) and releasing a game called “Harbinger Wars: Battle For Los Angeles” (ed. note: Wasn’t that a Rage Against the Machine album?) game for both Android and iOS. Here is where I would link to it so you could check it out but apparently it hasn’t been released yet. SLACKERS.

AA_010_VARIANT_8BIT SM_007_VARIANT_8BIT BS_012_VARIANT_8BIT HAR_013_VARIANT_8BIT XO_014_VARIANT_8BIT

After the jump, read the official solicitation for Harbinger Wars, your very own checklist and a screenshot from the upcoming game. If that’s your kind of thing but c’mon, we all know it is. Continue reading

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This Week’s Haul: I Need a Saga! What’s the Saga?

This week’s releases solidifies my hypocrisy: I will bitch endlessly about these DC zero issues even as I’m walking out of the store with them. But as much as I hate that about myself, I love the Defenders, the current direction of Iron Man and everything that Valiant puts out. So it’s a trade off then. Of course, I could always just not buy the things I don’t want. Preposterous idea, I know.

Bonus Everything Burns artwork!

This Week’s Comics Haul: Just Hook it to my Veins!

Click covers to embiggen! L to R: Before Watchmen – Rorschach 01, Wonder Woman 12, Pigs 08 (so good and so underrated), Saga 06, The Walking Dead 101, AvX 10 (just please be over already!), Amazing Spider-Man 691, Daredevil 17 (welcome aboard Mike Allred!), The Dark Tower – The Man in Black 03, Harbinger 02 and Bloodshot 02 (possible tie for best covers of the week). What are you planning on picking up?

Haul Thoughts : Ultimate Drop, Valiant Pick Up

**SPOILERS BELOW BE WARNED***

The Walking Dead 100 -Oh you’re in some shit now!  Wow.  Barn burner of an issue.Very much a change in the status quo of this series.  For too long (the past year at least) the story has been in a bit of a holding pattern.  There’s been forward momentum, yes, but nothing like this episodes (with apologies to Mao) great leap forward.  Began is a BAD DUDE, on par with if not actually surpassing The Governor. SPOILERS: Lucille, on the other hand…oof.  Negan’s threats regarding Carl are equally chilling: “Anyone moves at all..cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to the girl.” Brrrrrr.  Then when Rick acts up, Negan threatens to have his men run a train on Carl.  END SPOILERS. A bad, bad dude. This is what a landmark issue should feel like.

Batman 11 – Finally the conclusion to Court of Owls.  This arc really petered out, didn’t it?  ‘Cause it was SUPER bad ass to start with, but with the ridiculous turn it took last month with the SPOILERS reveal of Bruce Wayne’s (ugh) long lost brother END SPOILERS I’m really on the cusp of not caring.  Luckily the return of the Joker arc is right around the corner, which promises to be stupendous.  Some things (ed. note: Only SOME  things?) really stood out for their sheer ridiculousness this issue, including the flying Owl & Batman sequence where a) Bruce gets thrown into/through a giant skyscraper window.  DUDE THAT WOULD KILL YOU. But then b) the Owl can fly up into an oncoming jet’s flight path?  Isn’t that like, 20,0000 feet in the air?  Then c) when Bruce gets chucked into a jet engine and somehow he’s able to hold onto the lip of the engine and not go all Fargo on us?  Trained to the peak of human skills is one thing, defeating physics is quite another. You know who I felt bad for after this issue? The almost completely built but now completely destroyed Wayne Tower.  Oh, and me, for having to read Bruce & Dick’s ridiculous heart-to-heart to end the issue. Bring on the Joker!

Batman and Robin 11 – The more I read this series the more I really, really like Damian as a character.  His curent quest to best all of the past Robins in single combat is just perfect: funny, dynamic, interesting, they draw on past history & continuity as well as really showcasing Damian as a character.  An aside: since we’re speaking about continuity (and I think I brought this up before when The Killing Joke was mentioned) how & where does A Death in the Family come in to play in the New 52 universe?  I honestly thought it was a clean slate, yet they keep referring to pre-52 landmark events. Is this ever going to be explained?  What’s still considered canon & what got jettisoned? Aggravating.  Anyway, Damian is a bratty little know-it-all 10 year old who will kill you in the blink of an eye; that’s a character that could’ve gotten so cliche so fast and yet Peter Tomasi is doing an awesome job with him. The rest of the book was ok; the most intersting aspect is the cut-rate rogues gallery that’s assembled to attack Gotham who’ve all in someway been seriously f’d up by Batman, including the guy with a permanent boot tread on his face (named Bootface, natch) and the other guy with a batarang stuck in his skull.  Interesting to see the after effects of a Batman thrashing.  The hands down cheesiest part of this (or really, any recent issue of anything) was Bruce yelling “LEAVE MY CITY ALONE!”.  Keep this was just being yelled out on the street and not to anyone in particular.  It just struck a very odd chord.

Bloodshot 1 – I still have the Valiant-era Bloodshot #5 (the issue where Ninjak shows up for the first time (non-costume); I bought it at a sports memorabilia store that dabbled in comics and hadn’t yet discovered that particular issue was the hottest book going in comics, so I was able to get it for cover price.) somewhere.  Anyway.  Great cover, incredibly smart opening page explaining exactly what nanobots do and how they affect teh human body as well as some nightmare “Grey Goo” scenarios (read your Kurzweil, folks).  What I liked: the concept of hackable people.  Bloodshot’s ingenious infiltration method.  The overall feel and look of the book.  Hints of Bloodshot’s past and who/what he was/is.  What I didn’t like: where’s the explanation for the dead white skin?  Probably coming later.  Also, why is KRESSSSHHH  the sound effect every comic ever uses for when someone breaks through a plate of glass? PROMISING.

Chew Secret Agent Poyo 1 – Don’t f with this chicken!  Funniest moment may have been the look on Hitler’s face as he was directed towards the room labelled “Butt Torture” and followed by a demon with a pineapple in his hand (this was happening in Hell, btw). Grossest was probably the bonus gallery in the back, especialy the pinup featuring an eyeball with a pencil jammed into it & another eyeball with pushpins and needles poked into it.  EYE SHIT IS GROSS QUIT IT YOU GUYS. If you like Chew (you do) , if you like clever jokes (duh that’s why you’re reading this) and most importantly you like good comics that don’t take themselves too seriously this is a PICKUP.

Dancer 3 – Cat & mouse sniper espionage games with Europe with your Irish girlfriend as bait.  I could see this as a movie.  C’mon, they made Red (the movie was shit, also). I bet at least one person picked this up thinking it was a spin off from Omaha, The Cat Dancer.

Defenders 8 – This book has just been…is this one of the best books that Marvel is putting out right now and probably no one is buying? Most definitely yes to the first part and probably for the second part. This has the same vibe that Nextwave had and that is one of my favorite series ever.  High points of this issue: flaying car in the shape of a cat face? Absurd, but they are in Wakanda.  Silver Surfer with the funniest line about the origin of bones in the entire history of the Silver Surfer.  Then some deeply weird stuff to close out the issue, including the revelation there are things out in the Marvel U. called DEATH CELESTIALS and they are coming to break the Universe. How cool is that?

Harbinger 2 – Peter Stancheck Comes Alive! Woe to everyone else on the planet. If I had to list a Top Ten of favorite on going series, all three Valiant titles (this, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar) would all be on it. Can’t they crank these out faster?

Ultimate Comics X-Men 14 – I’m done. For reals this time.  I just can’t take these half-assed cliffhangers that I just know will not pay off in any sort of meaningful manner.  If I’m going to start cutting back, I think it’s going to be with Marvel’s Ultimate line.

Wolverine & The X-Men 13 – Less whimsy, more punching.  As previously stated, not exactly what I want out of this title.  But I’m really digging Nick Bradshaws art, as I think it does tremendous justice to not only the characters but fits the story very well.  The intro page was a very clever Watchmen dig.  Reading this book made me realize that all of these characters are just terrible at problem solving. ARGUE ARGUE ARGUE….now what? oh right, PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH.  You have magic powers, alien technology and super-powers, yet you still resort to fisticuffs like this is some 1880’s public house and your honor was just impugned? I realize that you have to keep cranking these books out but just like the realization that everyone’s costumes, for the most part, are simply awful, I know realize that 20 pages of punching is not as appealing as it once was. I am sad? Oh right, SPOILER Gladiator died? END SPOILER.   Warbirds backstory was pretty cool, I’ll give the that.

This Week’s Comics Haul – 100 Issues Strong…and Growing

Large pickup this week (but when isn’t it) but a real dearth of time.  Reviews soon! What did you get this week?

Batman 11


Batman and Robin 11


Before Watchmen – Minutemen 2


Bloodshot 1 – most anticipated book of the week (tie)


Chew Secret Agent Poyo 1


Dancer 3


Defenders 8


Harbinger 2


The Massive 2


The Walking Dead 100 – Most anticipated book of the week (tie)


Ultimate Comics X-Men 14


Wolverine and the X-Men 13

Quick Hit: Valiant Comics Featured in the New York Times

The resurgent Valiant gets profiled in the Sunday Times (07/08/12):

…two professed comic book geeks — with backing from the turnaround specialist Peter Cuneo, who spent 10 years at Marvel in various roles, including chief executive — are trying to make lightning strike twice with Valiant, a comics company that was a force in the 1990s but fell victim to legal quarrels and bankruptcy. Valiant, which is based in New York, restarted its comics line in May, achieving strong sales, and has five movies in development.

Super stoked!

This Week’s Comic Haul With BONUS Reflections

This is what happens when you slack off; you have to combine two posts into one.  NOW YOU KNOW.  Let’s get to it:

Animal Man #10 – The exceptional run continues.  Buddy Baker’s wife continues to ignore good advice, his son with the exceptional mullets meets someone unexpected, flying dogs to the rescue and Buddy finding out what’s in store for him…good issue.

Avengers vs. X-Men #05 – GAH.  My brain…definite points for coming up with an ending I did not see coming.  Whether that ending is any good…I’ll discuss further in the comments to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Before Watchmen: The Minutemen #01 – So torn on buying this book but in the end, what are you going to do? Not buy it?  It’s Watchmen, for chrissake.  Even if it is a complete and utter train wreck.  But you know? I didn’t hate this issue.  There were some interesting allusions made, some tentative groundwork laid.  HOWEVER. Was Watchmen so successful due in some part to the fact that you didn’t have the complete story?  That even after 12 issues, you had to drawn your own conclusions?    Whatever this series becomes (I’m talking about the entire Before Watchmen plan DC’s got) I’m hoping it doesn’t trample upon the original too much.  I’ll definitely be reading the original 12 after these all wrap up.

Detective Comics #10 – Seemed like a placeholder title, honestly.  I’ll give it until #12 before I decide whether to continue reading or not. The villain had a cool design at least.

Harbinger #01 – YES. SO AWESOME.  I have zero idea how old you are or how long you’ve read comics, but I first became aware of Valiant Comics through my local comic shop & Wizard back when I was still buying every shit derivative Blood/Fire/Death/Hell/Stryke book Image was putting out.  By then it was too late; the early books were way too scarce and way too expensive for someone with a 20 hour a week minimum wage job to pick up.  But the sense that these were somehow different and better  definitely permeated the first few years of Valiant, before they expanded their line, got caught up in the creative and production death spiral that was Deathmate (look it up), started pumping out double chromium covers on everything and eventually got bought by Acclaim before finally dying an ugly death.  WELL.  Now it’s back and back to basics and it F’N RULES.  Buy this.  X-O Manowar too.  So excited to see where these go from here.  Toyo Harada is a bad mutha.

Swamp Thing #10 – This also had the feel of a tweener issue. The artist also swapped out for the book, so that was a bit disconcerting.  I’m intrigued by Anton Arcade though.  Seeing as how he killed Swamp Thing and all this…

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #11 – Like Phil Collins said, I don’t care anymore.  Sorry Miles, I’ve been with you for 11 issues and I’m getting your book out of habit more than anything else.  Time to break on out of here.

Uncanny X-Men #13 – I think Marvel wants me to stop giving them my money.  At least for X titles.  Storm narrating how her husband The Black Panther beat the shit out of her? “He eventually got his K.O.”? Is this a video game? Then Rulk snapping Psylocke’s arm via joint manipulation?  LIKE HE WOULDN’T HAVE JUST TORN IT OFF AND BEAT HER TO DEATH WITH IT.  GTFO.  Then some story about some X third stringers I don’t care about.  Then a last page appearance by Super Slut Force. (See comments as I don’t want to give any spoilers here).

XO Manowar #02 – Can I just read this every week? So awesome. In case I didn’t say it strongly enough earlier, you should really be reading these Valiant books.  Especially with Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong on the way.