While Valiant blew everyone away with their return in 2012, 2013 was the year where they really took things to the next level, as they had enormous launches with Quantum & Woody, Eternal Warrior and Unity and their first “event” in Harbinger Wars. There was something for everyone, and readers have been singing the praises for them in response.
So today, our Valiant (Re)visions takes a look back on 2013 and shares what their favorites were, what they’re looking forward to in 2014, and a lot more. Share your thoughts in the comments on Valiant’s year, and look for our first reviews of the year on Wednesday!
What was you favorite Valiant title in 2013?
Brandon Burpee: Without a doubt my #1 book this year was Quantum and Woody. Without question that book was the best of the bunch. It has had consistently great art and writing that pushes the envelope and is funny as hell as a result. It’s not only one of the best Valiant books of 2013, that title is one of the best in the biz in 2013.
David Harper: While Quantum & Woody was a blast and a half and certainly the best new Valiant title for me, my favorite continues to be Fred Van Lente’s (and friends!) Archer & Armstrong. This title had a big year, as Van Lente kept entertaining while building the world, culminating in the Sect Civil War mini-event. While a big part of this book has been the relationship between Archer and Armstrong, Van Lente managed to tear them apart while naturally getting them back together (you think) shortly thereafter. It’s been a great year for the book though, and it continues to entertain thanks to creators like Van Lente, Clayton Henry and Khari Evans.
Who was your favorite Valiant writer?
Brandon Burpee: So as I mentioned Quantum and Woody has had consistently great writing through its run thus far. The man behind the words is James Asmus and he was my favorite Valiant writer of the last year. This is a writer who is saying things that should be blowing up the Internet Culture War of 2013 but it is left alone AND applauded for being so incredibly good. Tell me that is not amazing in the year that we’ve just had? Dude is like a sneaky good controversy magician. He just escapes that shit. Brilliantly done sir.
David Harper: Archer & Armstrong really is a writer driven book more than perhaps any other title at Valiant, and Fred Van Lente has done a phenomenal job of developing this book since its inception. Both Archer and Armstrong have become entertaining characters in their own right, standing out from one another not just in an odd couple sort of way as they started. Plus, Van Lente continues to come up with tremendously fun situations to put them in – I personally loved everything about the Far, Far Away arc – while steeping them in important moments throughout. With Sect Civil War ending and Archer getting an origin issue, 2014 looks promising, and I’m looking forward to seeing where everything heads next.
Who was your favorite Valiant artist?
Brandon Burpee: Continuing the theme here, my favorite Valiant artist for 2013 is Tom Fowler. This guy was just off the charts good. He and Asmus had such a good thing going on Quantum and Woody when they were on it together. Fowler absolutely nailed the comedy, action and more drama based character moments. His pages, every issue, were the sort you spend some time really gazing over to see if there are any funny Easter eggs. Just really solid stuff this year from Fowler.
David Harper: The answer here has to be Tom Fowler. His work on Quantum & Woody – for me, as an OG reader of Q&W – set the first arc apart from Priest and Bright’s work because of just how damn perfectly the visuals matched the writing. Fowler’s ability to sell the humor from Asmus’ scripts helped elevate a good book to a great one, and many of the most memorable moments in the year at Valiant came thanks to Fowler’s work.
Here’s hoping we get more from him in Valiant in 2014, besides the sure to be amazing Goat special he’s writing and drawing.
What was the best moment at Valiant in 2013?
Brandon Burpee: The launch of Quantum and Woody. I love that book. Seriously. It’s awesome. If you’re reading it you know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t buying it i’m not sure why you hate yourself to such a strong degree.
David Harper: The best single issue at Valiant in 2013 came from Shadowman, as its #0 issue told the origin story of Master Darque in creepy, superb fashion. Maybe the dominant character in Shadowman’s history – including the titular character – is Darque, and the birth and origin of him stood out above the rest as the best singular moment of the year in the comic.
Brandon Burpee: Just how much I turned around on X-O Manowar. That book is a book I was not particularly fond of and then all of us a sudden that the title caught fire for me and its been on a hot streak since. The way they’ve developed the landscape and the characters over the course of the last year has answered every criticism that I had of it. I really do have to give X-O a standing ovation for the year it has had. For me personally, I know there are far more people who have always loved the title, this is the Most Improved title of 2013 award recipient from me.
David Harper: That X-O Manowar has somehow become one of the three best books at Valiant. This book for the longest time just did not get much love from Brandon and I, as the book struggled to have much of an identity outside of Aric being angry and punching things. By the time Planet Death ended, we were on our way, and now that Unity is in full swing, we’re all onboard. It helps quite a bit that Cary Nord apparently has been taking the artist equivalent of steroids, but regardless, this book went from a disappointing one to something that is truly great. Very impressive, if you ask me.
Brandon Burpee: The new direction for Bloodshot was the biggest let down for me this year. I know others enjoy it but I find the H.A.R.D. Corps element to be uninteresting and the characters themselves underdeveloped. It’s hard to care about the possibility of a character dying if you don’t connect. It’s very odd to be sitting here saying I didn’t enjoy Bloodshot but I loved X-O. Complete opposite of last year. 2013 you so cray cray.
David Harper: I think, for me at least, the biggest disappointment is how Harbinger Wars ended and how it spun off into the new directions for Bloodshot and Harbinger. We’re shown one thing as the ending for that event, but when it was all said and done, apparently what we saw was not true given that both sides were captives of Toyo Harada. I just don’t understand what they were going for there, and once we were outside of that, we were given rather uninteresting arcs that didn’t build off the very positive energy they had developed in the event. As those respective arcs are coming to a close, things are starting to seem more interesting again, but it’s a shame that such a momentous event led to such a struggle.
Who was the breakout character in Valiant’s 2013?
Brandon Burpee: Quantum and Woody. Those guys changed the landscape of Valiant as they quickly became my favorite Valiant characters. Q&W are two humorous characters with a surprisingly emotionally grounded bond. These two characters have been a riot together this year but they also got some incredibly sneaky character development. Valiant struck the gold mine with these two coming back.
David Harper: We have a lot of options, here. I raved about Hearst, the Dodo from the Far, Far Away, and I really do love the little guy, but he’s not really an option here. In Harbinger, I’m really digging Monica Jim, who adds a lot of charm and innocence to the cast. Eternal Warrior was omnipresent, and made his presence felt in three books. Woody is…well, he’s Woody so he’s the best. But really, for reasons I previously said, Aric of Dacia is the breakout character strictly because of the ascent of X-O, and because Venditti finally figured out how to channel his rage and brash nature into something engaging for us as readers. Killer work by Venditti.
What are you most looking forward to in 2014 from Valiant?
Brandon Burpee: There is only one wish. Ever. Say it with me everyone, “THE RETURN OF GAMMA”!!!!!
David Harper: I have to admit, I’m really excited for Eternal Warrior in 4001 A.D. and the arrival of Rai. I think that’s going to be a hell of a thing, and I’m looking forward to what Greg Pak in store for us in an environment he’s free to develop. This could be something amazing, folks.