2015 was a pretty good year for Valiant, in spite of my colleague’s list of Best Publishers, the scum. They had a slew of successful launches at the beginning of the year with titles such as “Ivar, Timewalker”, “Divinity” and “Bloodshot Reborn”. They had a really good (and, more specifically, didn’t derail the entire universe-worth of books) event comic in “Book of Death”. One of their issues earned the rare Godberson Ten. As we wind down the year and begin to look at 2016, here are some things we’d like to see from the booming independent superhero universe in the coming twelve months.
A Generation Zero Ongoing
Ever since “Harbinger” ended, there has been a bit of a hole in Valiant’s line-up. That hole is where a really good, heartfelt and passionate book starring teenagers and young adults trying to cope in this world should be. Sure, we’ve got a mini-series starring the breakout character Faith Herbert coming in January, and that looks like a sure-fire thing. But I’m talking a more ongoing, long form thing. Which is why 2016 would be the perfect time for an ongoing starring the teenagers of Generation Zero. For those of you not in the know, Generation Zero are essentially the dark mirror to “Harbigner”’s Renegades. Whereas the Renegades were (mostly) ordinary kids that developed powers and tried to stop the megalomaniac Toyo Harada, Generation Zero were a group that were kidnapped as children by Project Rising Spirit and were essentially tortured and experimented on in order to activate their powers and were used by PRS to clean up messes that their company committed. Now, after Harada’s exposure to the world, they are free for the first time, trying to make their own way and no longer be slaves to anyone.
The thing about Generation Zero that is fascinating is their childhoods were essentially ripped from them. Apart from some of the older characters like Cronus (who balances the extremes of Harada and Renegade leader Peter Stanchek), all they’ve ever known was Project Rising Spirit. With them finally getting the chance to experience the outside world, the concept is ripe to talk about issues such as abuse, identity, ethics, and just the strains of growing up and seeing the world beyond your (admittedly horrific) nest.
Regardless of it being a Generation Zero ongoing or if the Renegades get the band back together: Valiant needs that book about growing up in a world that’s insane.
Oh, Livewire. Technopath. Leader of Unity. Former protegee of Toyo Harada before you told that Hippie Hitler to go shove it. So much potential for interesting stories lies within you. And, as of this month, “Unity” as a book is over. And yes, while we are going to see Livewire come back to the Psiot side of the Valiant Universe in the upcoming “Imperium” storyline, Stormbreak, it would be great to see her own adventures from her perspective. I do think a great superhero/sci-fi story is ready to be made starring Livewire, one that can balance a tone between the optimism and lightness that “Faith” seems to be showing and the harsh, grimness of “Bloodshot Reborn”.
Plus, I won’t lie, it is a bit side-eying that every member of Unity has an ongoing (Bloodshot and Eternal Warrior are on their second ongoings) and Livewire, the only woman, hasn’t.
More Information on Valiant Cinematic Universe
Just because I care a lot more about comics than their adaptations doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn more about this budding project on the horizon. It was announced earlier this year that Valiant will work with Sony Entertainment (Ehhh) to begin developing movie adaptations. Specifically, two “Bloodshot” movies (the first to be released in 2017) and two “Harbinger” movies which will culminate with a movie adaptation of “Harbinger Wars”. What makes it even more awesome: the first “Bloodshot” is set to be directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski a.k.a the mad bastards that directed John Wick. So I can expect a lot of creative ways of people getting murdered, but I do hope to see some more info in 2016, more specifically, who’s going to play the nanite-infused death machine.Continued below
Easy on the “Retailer Incentive Series” Idea
Yeah, feel like I had to talk about this a little. I do like a lot of what Valiant is doing, but this came off as a bit of a misplaced idea. When I was writing for g33k-hq I talked about the “incentive series” that Valiant launched alongside “Book of Death”. This went beyond “incentive variant covers” that cost more for customers and made an actual story much higher priced than it had any right to. I felt the idea was very anti-consumer and it’s why I made the active choice to not review the book, despite access to review copies. I would like to hope that this idea fades away and that it doesn’t become a trend in the industry as a whole.
Keeping Up With That “Easy to Get Into” Connectivity
What do I mean by this? Well, perhaps it’s because Valiant is a smaller shared universe than the usual suspects, but they have done an amazing job of keeping things accessible for the layman, but making sure things still count. “The Valiant” earlier this year was a wonderful introduction to a great deal of the major characters and then you have something like “Ninjak” #10 released this month that takes all of what has happened with Shadowman previously into consideration when bringing the man back into prominence. Keeping a strong, complex foundation without becoming over complicated is a tricky feat, and it’s a hope that Valiant keeps on with this.
Regardless of what is to come in the new year, Valiant has been an interesting company to watch, for all the strengths and faults I’ve seen. 2015 was a great year. I hope 2016 is better.
Author’s Note: The majority of this column was written prior to the announcement of Valiant’s big 2016 event, “4001 A.D.”, beginning in May. The author would like to inform those that, while he can’t use the announcement to prove that he is the Lord Prophet of Comics Journalism, he nonetheless thinks this looks pretty interesting.