The various characters of the Valiant Universe
Founded in 1989 by former Marvel Comics
Editor Jim Shooter
, and several top artists and writers, Valiant Comics was one of the many "creator owned" comic companies that appeared during the Dark Age
. The main idea behind Valiant was to "out write" the competition, which it did by deconstructing
the various aspects of the typical comic book universe as presented by its rivals. Valiant used strong characterization in its plots, at a time when the Big Two and Image
were focusing more on art than writing. By having all of their characters' powers come from one of three sources (Technology, Psychic Powers
, and Magic), they reduced the need for Applied Phlebotinum
, allowing them to pursue a more Hard Sci Fi
approach than would have been possible in the established universes
. Their cast of heroes combined characters based on old pulp-style
adventurers with more modern
character types, as well as buying and revamping a few old Gold Key characters
, with interesting results.
Perhaps the biggest innovation was their use of continuity. The events in the comics almost always took place during the same time frame as publication with readers expecting one month time jumps between issues. There was the rare exception to this rule, such as two back-to-back issues covering the events of the same night, in this case the narration box would date them, for example both issues would be dated "December 12th 1991" if the event began in the December issue which was released on the 12th. Another method they used was to take advantage of the more hard scifi setting, and have characters experience a jump forward of several months as a side effect of traveling faster than light. An event in one comic had immediate and lasting effects in another. Once an event happened it was set in stone, RetCons
never happened, and Comic-Book Time
was thus averted. The Valiant universe was split into two time periods, the modern day, and the 41st century, with events in the former having effects on the latter. All in all, the formula worked, attracting many fans with its refreshing and unique style, and Valiant sold over 80 million comics in its first 5 years, becoming the third highest selling comic book company (after of course, Marvel
, the big two).
That is, until 1993, when Valiant did an ill-thought-out crossover with Image
. Valiant's professionalism clashed brutally with Image's notorious Schedule Slip
, and Valiant and Image's writers had no clue how to write the other company's characters. Both companies saw their reputations in tatters. Deathmate
is widely believed to have been the straw that broke the comic book industry's back, setting off the comics crash
that the industry is still recovering from.
Valiant's sales started to slip and, after an ill-considered Birthquake
revamp, Valiant was bought out by Acclaim Entertainment
, a then-popular videogame company. The line was renamed "Acclaim Comics" that introduced a brand-new, "more marketable" universe (dubbed Valiant Heroes 2).
The buyout led to videogame adaptations, most notably Turok
but also more obscure ones like Armorines
and Shadow Man
. Ultimately, though, the declining fortunes of Acclaim Entertainment and Executive Meddling
led to the line's slow and painful demise. The original Valiant is still fondly remembered as one of the best companies of the Dark Age
.Dark Horse Comics
recently acquired all the Gold Key properties — and hired Shooter to manage them— but unfortunately after about 8 issues of each title Dark Horse announced they would be cancelling the line due to the rights holders wanting too much money as well as low sales.
Luckily, the renewed Valiant Comics, now called Valiant Entertainment, has announced they will be publishing comics starring the Valiant characters starting with four series in 2012 starting with the release X-O Manowar
#1 in May followed by the release of new #1s for Harbinger
and Archer & Armstrong
in June, July and August respectively, with the promise of more titles depending on the performance of the initial four series. Following strong initial sales, thanks to positive reactions from critics, they made good on this promise in November 2012, with a new #1 of Shadowman
. The company's first major event Harbinger Wars
took place on Summer 2013, crossing over Harbinger and Bloodshot.
Characters/Titles from Valiant Comics
include (in alphabetical order):
- Archer And Armstrong - Archer is a martial artist monk with Charles Atlas Superpowers. Armstrong is an effectively immortal brawler and drunkard. Both are being pursued by a largely incompetent cult as they have adventures and Armstrong tries to corrupt Archer.
- Armorines: H.A.R.D. Corps with cheap government-issue knock-offs of X-O Manowar's armor.
- Bloodshot: A Mafia hitman is betrayed by his family and left for dead. His Body is found by "Project Rising Spirit" who inject him with Nano-machines that resurrect him and turn him into a Japanese flag themed superhero who doesn't remember his past.
- Doctor Mirage: A ghostly "necromancer" who fights evil with his sexy Brazilian wife.
- Eternal Warrior: An immortal warrior, one of only a handful of characters to see both the 20th and 41st centuries.
- H.A.R.D. Corps: A group of comatose Vietnam Vets are revived through the use of brain implants that give them the psionic powers of the Harbingers, but only one at a time.
- Harbinger: A group of super powered teens are on the run for their lives from an evil business man.
- Magnus Robot Fighter: In the 41st century, he must protect Nor Am from the invasion of the Malev robots.
- Ninjak: Basically "What if James Bond was a ninja warrior?"
- Nintendo Comics System
- Psi Lords: In the 41st century, the descendants of the H.A.R.D. Corps have become the most powerful psionic warriors in the known galaxy.
- Quantum and Woody: A comedy about "The world's worst superheroes". Perhaps the ONLY series from the Acclaim Era that is fondly remembered.
- Rai and the Future Force: Rai is the protector of 41st century Japan. Through his veins flows the "blood of heroes", the same blood that flowed through the 20th century hero Bloodshot.
- Secret Weapons: A team made up of Valiant's most popular characters.
- Shadow Man: An African American living in New Orleans discovers he is a powerful voodoo magician.
- Solar, Man of the Atom, a man with the power to reshape reality.
- Turok Dinosaur Hunter: A Navajo Warrior named Tal'Set who lives in the Lost Lands; a Post-Apocalyptic Scavenger World where "Time has no Meaning" and people armed with futuristic technology are trapped in an endless battle with a plague of Genetically-Engineered Dinosaurs.
- XO-Manowar: A 5th century Visigothic Warrior who gained an alien robotic suit, and gets set though a timewarp to the modern era, where he befriends by a Corrupt (but incompetent) Corporate Executive (who he doesn't know is just using him to steal his technology). Hilarity and awesomeness ensue.
Titles currently published under the Valiant Entertainment Continuity Reboot
- Archer And Armstrong
- Bloodshot: Underwent a Re Tool into Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps with issue 14.
- Quantum and Woody
- Unity: A super-powered team face off against planetary-level threats. Members include X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Eternal Warrior and Livewire.
In December 2014, they launched the Valiant Next
initiative with a wave of new titles:
- The Valiant: Four issue mini-series focused around Geomancer and Eternal Warrior's fight against the Immortal Enemy. (December, 2014)
- Ivar, Timewalker: Replacing Archer & Armstrong, depicting the adventures of the time traveling Ivar Anni-Padda. (January, 2015)
- Imperium: Replacing Harbinger, Toyo Harada begins recruiting a group of villains in his war for utopia. (February, 2015)
- Divinity: Four issue mini-series about a Cosmonaut returning from space after thirty years with god-like powers. (February, 2015)
- Ninjak: Solo adventures of Colin King. (March, 2015)
- Bloodshot Reborn: Replacing Bloodshot, retooling of the character Post-The Valiant. (April, 2015)
Provides Examples Of: