Cross over series always seem to begin with a bang and then peter out. We all enjoy a good ‘ol super mash-up to keep things interesting, but most can’t live up to their own hype. What makes Valiant’s Unity book interesting is that it will be a continuing series. This provides a forum to allow previously disparate characters to interact and react collectively to global-scale events. The other exciting element is that Valiant tapped the amazingly talented Matt Kindt to weave all these strands together and I couldn’t be happier with the choice. Matt’s indy works (Mind MGMT, Revolver and Super Spy to name a few) are complex and thought provoking and I’m hopeful that he’ll have a long enough leash to bring that spirit to Valiant’s stable of super folks. This series kicks off with the Machiavellian Toyo Harada deciding to take on the issue of X-O’s annexation of a chunk of Romania. New readers get all the background they need from a food writer turned accidental war correspondent (Kindt rules). Then we hear from Harada. He likes to present himself as Confucius with Tony Stark’s barber and stylist, but we’ve come to see that his actions are always underlain by a myriad of secret agendas. Why does he want to capture rather than destroy X-O? Did he seriously think a quartet of psiots that belonged in the pages of The Boys could handle Aric of Dacia or did he just want to see how much of a bad-ass he is? Better step it up if you want to spank the dude that sent the Eternal Warrior packing.
Doug Braithwaite’s and Brian Reber’s inks and coloring seem to struggle to keep up with the intensity of the story. Either that or they’re playing favorites. Ninjak is drawn with crisp lines and rich details (especially during a really slick cockpit scene) but Harada’s face looks old and tired. I think they were aiming for chiseled good looks, but the lack of shading leaves us with gaunt and emaciated. I’m also not a fan of the overuse of digital trickery. Blurring a panel doesn’t make it look smoky, just muddy. Fading a panel from the most active portion to the least comes off as a lazy way to add emphasis. Come on guys! Step it up!
This is a great place for readers to jump into the Valiant universe and see what’s up. It’s a solid story with the potential to be a keystone book for the company, but the artwork needs to rise to the level of the writing.
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