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Tag - X-O Manowar

8 Valiant Comics and Bands You Need To Check Out Before Warped Tour 2017

Warped Valiant

About a month and a half ago, Valiant Entertainment and Warped Tour announced that they’ve partnered up on Warped Tour’s 2017 promotional artwork and marketing. Essentially, that means Valiant characters are promoting Warped Tour. And that’s f**king cool.

Valiant has put out some absolutely incredible series, and I honestly believe that no publisher has more respect and appreciation for their readers than they do.

If you are not familiar with Valiant, but you’re interested in checking them out, we’ve thrown together a list of some current ongoing books that you should pick up before Warped Tour kicks off this summer. Most, if not all, of these series are already available in trade collections so you can head down to your local comic shop and pick up a couple for pretty cheap. If you don’t have a comic shop nearby then click the Comixology link under each series below to get them digitally.

Along with the reading recommendations, you’ll also find some listening suggestions featuring bands who are playing on this years Warped Tour.

Enjoy!

X-O Manowar

X-O Manowar (2017) #1

Summary from Comixology: “Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day. But that was a lifetime ago.

“Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

“But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!”

Listen to this while you read it!

Hundredth

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Faith

Faith #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way!

“Well, at least she thought it would… When she’s not typing up listicals about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!

“But flying solo is going to be tougher than Zephyr ever thought when she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off a full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head…or ready for her biggest challenge yet?”

Listen to this while you read it!

Tillie

PLAYING Warped 7.26 – 8.6

 

Generation Zero

Generation Zero Vol. 1

Summary from Comixology: Listen to this while you read it! “If you have a problem… If your parents won’t help… And if your cause is worthy… Log onto network #ZERO…because Generation Zero is listening.

“Years ago, the children of the experimental strike team known as Generation Zero were taken from their families by Project Rising Spirit, a private weapons contractor, and raised to be psychic soldiers. After years of taking orders, they have fought for and won their freedom.

“Now, the world’s most wanted teenagers have pledged to protect each other tooth and claw, while using their extraordinary abilities to right wrongs for a generation without a future… To fight for kids, just like them.”

Listen to this while you read it!

New Years Day

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Savage 

Savage #1

Summary from Comixology: Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife –pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by by prehistoric creatures from another time… This is the story of how they lost their humanity.”

Listen to this while you read it!

Knocked Loose

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Britannia

Britannia

Summary from Comixology: “On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery? Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings? In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay. From comics mastermind Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Shade the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp (NINJAK, Clone) comes a psychological journey into terror, temptation, and bloodshed in Valiant’s latest magnum opus.”

Listen to this while you read it!

Fire From The Gods

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Bloodshot: Reborn

Bloodshot Reborn #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit – a private contractor trafficking in violence – very well.

“Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving headlong into the violence that nearly destroyed him.”

Listen to this while you read it!

Bad Omens

PLAYING Warped 7.4 – 7.24

 

Ninjak

Ninjak (2015- ) #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “For the first time, Ninjak’s past and future collide in the pages of an all-new ongoing series from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Rai, Mind MGMT) and superstar artists Clay Mann (X-Men: Legacy, Gambit) and Butch Guice (Captain America, Action Comics)!

“Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.

“Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven – a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.”

Listen to this while you read it!

I Prevail

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong

A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “GET SMASHED…OR BE SMASHED! Meet Armstrong: Since the ancient city of Ur, this immortal adventurer has spent the last 7,000 years drinking and carousing his way through history alongside some of the greatest merrymakers the world has ever known.

“Meet Archer: A sheltered teenage martial arts master and expert marksman that was raised for a single purpose – to kill the devil incarnate. Little did he know that this undying evil was actually Armstrong (he’s actually a pretty good guy…once you get to know him) and, since hitting the road together, the two have become great friends and even better partners.

“Now: Archer is about to set off on his most dangerous mission yet – a quest into the mystic reaches of Armstrong’s bottomless satchel to liberate his friend and comrade from the clutches of the mad god Bacchus! (Okay, so, Armstrong went into the satchel himself to get a bottle of whiskey that he kinda misplaced and got stuck. It’s like the Amazon warehouse of arcane treasures in there…and he doesn’t exactly have a maid service.)

“Imprisoned in Armstrong’s satchel for centuries, Bacchus now commands a legion of monsters, goblins and golems bent on escaping back into the world of man and enacting revenge on their captor… Can Archer single-handedly combat the godly embodiment of intoxication himself – and rescue his best buddy – without becoming lost amongst Armstrong’s endless repository of bizarre artifacts and historical oddities in the process?”

Listen to this while you read it!

Valient Thorr

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

Wrath of the Eternal Writer – An Interview with Robert Venditti

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Since its relaunch in in 2012, Valiant Entertainment has built one hell of a bullpen.  Robert Venditti was one of the small handful of writers tasked with relaunching the Valiant universe after Dinesh Shamdasani brought it back from the void.  As of this writing, Venditti has written 46 issues of X-O Manowar (plus several other issues centered on the X-Overse), which is coming to a close with the 50th issue. He also wrote last years incredibly popular BOOK OF DEATH crossover event, and has recently taken the reins of my personal favorite character with WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR. Needless to say, I’m a bit of a Robert Venditti fanboy. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Mr. Venditti about life, the universe, and everything – or at least about his work with Valiant. Enjoy!

picture courtesy of USA Today

 

 

4LN – Now that X-O MANOWAR is coming to an end, what’s it like reflecting back on the series that broke ground for the relaunch of Valiant Entertainment and became its flagship title?

Robert Venditti – It was the first title when Valiant launched, but there were really four books that were in the first Summer of Valiant. I don’t want to say that this one book launched the Valiant Universe, because the Summer of Valiant was much bigger than that. Looking back on it, I’m really happy with it. I feel fortunate to have been able to stay with one character for this long; that’s not a common thing in any case, but even less so in the modern comics market. The opportunity to do one long-form arc of development that spans over four years is something I’m really happy with.

4LN – Looking back, are there any particular moments writing X-O that stand out in your mind as being particularly special (example: favorite kill, favorite panel, favorite issue, etc.)?

RV – There’s a variety of those things. If you’re talking favorite kill, the one that certainly became well known with Valiant fans was in issue #5 when Aric punches a grenade into a mercenary’s chest and blows him apart from the inside. I remember writing it and laughing about how crazy it was to be typing things like that into a panel description. People still come up and talk to me about to this day. But the stuff that I enjoy the most, as a writer, are the quieter moments. I really like what we were able to do with the flashback scenes of Aric, showing him as a child with his family. I’m very proud of issue #0, which I think put a different spin on his background than readers were probably expecting. There are others things I’m proud of as well.

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4LN – You are also currently writing WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR – what are some major differences and/or similarities between Gilad and Aric?

RV – I think people commonly correlate Aric to Gilad. They’re both characters that are sort of men out of time, if you want to put it that way. But I see them as exact opposites. Aric is a character who was abducted by aliens in the 5th Century and transported to the modern day, so he didn’t have the benefit of living all the days and years between. Gilad, however, is somebody who has lived every single one of those days and years. It informs them very differently in terms of worldview.

If you look the “Homeland” storyline in X-O Manowar, when Aric first comes back to Earth with the freed Visigoths and tries to conquer Romania. I think that’s a classic case of how different these two individuals are, and the difference in way in which they approach things. Gilad would have understood the modern geo-political landscape and that you can’t just plop down in a country and take it over, especially not when it’s on Russia’s doorstep. But Aric has no knowledge of those things, because he just leapt over all of that and found himself in the modern day.

4LN – In the first arc of WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR, Gilad fights through some sort of afterlife to return to the present. Is there a difference between this place and the Deadside?

RV – To be revealed! I think we’ve seen various aspects of the afterlife—or the Deadside, or whatever you want to call it—in the Valiant Universe. Whether it was in Shadowman, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, Dr. Mirage, or various other places, there is a larger plan in place linking these things together. But it isn’t anything that I’m able to talk about.

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4LN – We just finished the “Prelude to the Labyrinth” where you worked with Juan José Ryp, and next you jump in the Labyrinth story and are back with your regular Wrath partner Raul Allen. What’s in been like working with these two incredible talented artists?

RV – It has been a real highlight of my career. They’re both phenomenally talented, but very different stylistically. Juan is more detailed and use larger images. Raul is more into paneling, page breakdowns, and has a different kind of approach to the way the story gets told. Both are extremely talented guys, and I really tried to write for them specifically with the storylines that they were going to be on. To have #5 and #6 be a really huge, widescreen action set of issues that dealt with Gilad storming an entire city by himself, it seemed uniquely suited for what Juan does. On the other side of the coin, to do a story like we are doing now, where the whole thing is set in a labyrinth, seems uniquely suited to Raul’s style. I couldn’t be happier than working with those two guys, and I certainly hope I get to cross paths with them again.

4LN – Lastly, can you give us any clues about what we can expect to see in the upcoming “Labyrinth” story?

RV – We’re going to put a new spin on a classic Valiant antagonist, somebody who was key to Gilad’s history in the original Valiant Universe. Not just update it and modernize it, but put some twists in there that the readers won’t necessarily expect. At the same time, we’re going to have some big reveals for Gilad in terms of his estranged relationship with his first-born son Kalam. What he learns in the labyrinth is going to propel us into the series’ next arc. These fourteen issues are meant to be a long-form arc about a father and a son, how they became estranged, and whether or not they can reconcile. Gilad is about to take a big step in that journey.

 

I would like to thank Robert for taking time out of his day to chat comics with us.  WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR #7, which kicks off a brand new story-arc, and X-O MANOWAR ANNUAL #1 are out this coming Wednesday so plan to head out to your local comic shops to get them, and make sure you check out the finale to X-O Manowar this fall!

4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar

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Series: 4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Clayton Henry, with Brian Reber on Colors
Color Art: Brian Reber with Andrew Dalhouse
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “ROCKETING OUT OF THE PAGES OF 4001 A.D…the present and future of Valiant’s #1 hero come together for an essential standalone chapter at the heart of the summer’s blockbuster comics event!

How did the rise of Earth’s most powerful hero lead to humanity’s ultimate destruction? Just what was the War of the X-O Manowars…and how did its catastrophic fallout bring ruination and despair to a besieged planet? And why is the sacred extraterrestrial armor called Shanhara the one weapon Father fears more than any other?

The answers to the pivotal questions behind Valiant’s planet-shaking summer event arrive here as New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (BOOK OF DEATH) and acclaimed artist Clayton Henry (IVAR, TIMEWALKER) blast two thousand years into the future of the Valiant Universe to reveal the never-before-told history of New Japan’s dominion over Earth…and the doomed role that the X-O Manowar armor was forever fated to play in the coming war for liberation!”

4001-XO_001_COVER-A_CAFU

Last week Valiant kicked off it’s much anticipated summer event, and the first issue was fantastic.  In his 4001 A.D. #1 review, my fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew said, “Valiant is the archetype for modern comic events,” and he’s absolutely spot on.   As with BOOK OF DEATH, last year’s event, 4001 A.D. will have four one-shots that show how some of their most popular characters are affected by the events in 4001.  The first one-shot focuses on how X-O Manowar’s legacy leads to a pivotal moment in last weeks issue (which I won’t spoil here in case you have let your self down by not reading it yet).

4001 A.D.: X-O MANOWAR was a great read made all the better by Robert Venditti’s terrific writing. It features everything from giant mech-suits to terrifying AI, or, as I liked to call it, damn good sci-fi.  Despite not being dialog heavy, this one-shot manages to fit in a LOT of setup into the previously mentioned pivotal moment of 4001. A.D. and the ending is just superb, in an unsettling sort of way.  I also enjoyed Clayton Henry’s artwork on this issue.  His art style is very clean, with some pretty great angles, and helps lighten the tone of what otherwise would have been an even more ominous story.

The Rai universe is fascinating, but it is so far ahead in the timeline that I jump at any chance to glimpse the world in between around now and, you know, 4001.  I am also not one to turn down some sweet, sci-fi action.  Plus, Robert Venditti just gets it.  He’s been in the Valiant universe longer than anyone, and his grasp of the content is prevalent in pretty much every book he writes for the company.

So far, we are only two issues into Valiant’s summer event, and it’s already been a hell of a ride.  We don’t generally give out star ratings, but this book is definitely a ★★★★★ issue.  Check out the preview below, and head out to your local comic shop this Wednesday and pick one up for yourself.

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4LN Advance Comic Review: X-O Manowar #39

Series: X-O Manowar
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art Team: Rafa Sandoval, Ryan Winn, and Brian Reber
Publisher: Valiant

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

ALL-NEW ARC! ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! “EXODUS” BEGINS NOW!

Aric of Dacia is X-O Manowar, hero to humanity, leader of the remaining Visigoths, and a husband about to start a new family. He is also the bearer of Shanhara, and tantamount to a God in the eyes of the alien race known as the Vine. Now, in the aftermath of DEAD HAND, the Vine need a new home and have chosen Earth – tearing Aric between two races that worship him, but each despise one another. New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (BOOK OF DEATH) and red-hot artist Rafa Sandoval (Ultimate Hawkeye) unite here to begin a bold and tragic new era in the life of X-O Manowar!

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Overview-

As my fellow 4LN writer Bill Clark said in his recent Green Lantern review, Robert Venditti is a hell of a writer.  His scope in this series has been grand, and this issue is no different.  The Vine, having barely survived the destruction of their home-world during Dead Hand initiative attempt to take refuge on Earth in order to be near their god-figure, Aric of Dacia (X-O Manowar).  Some of those that survived the Armor Hunters that nearly destroyed LA aren’t all that keen on aliens of any kind showing up unannounced leaving Aric in the middle between those that see him as their deity and those to which he has sworn his allegiance.

The art team (Rafa Sandoval, Ryan Winn, and colorist Brian Reber) does some really amazing work in this issue.  The tense standoff between the Vine and American fighter pilots with Aric caught in the middle leads to some pretty epic panels.  And, as always, I was very impressed with colorist extraordinaire Brian Reber who’s skills are utilized on a majority of Valiant’s titles. The colors are just so vibrant and unique, it’s hard to anything like it on the shelves right now.

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Like it says in the summary, this is a great jumping on point for new Valiant readers.  The title page gives you all of the context needed to understand what was going on.  If you do want to go back and read Valiant back-issues (which I would actually highly recommend), a Scribd subscription and an tablet or computer will get you access to a majority of their titles from the beginning up to about a few issues ago.  Oh, and the first month is free which gives you the chance to binge-read as much as you possibly can in a month.  There are also several Valiant fans on Facebook and Twitter that would be more than happy to help out a new fan.  That is, after all, how I ended up with an ever growing long box filled with comics from my favorite new publisher.

I know it can be really difficult to jump on a book that is hovering near 40 issues.  Luckily this issue should be accessible to anyone looking for something new to read.  X-O Manowar is a man out of time.  He is a 5th century warrior who possesses one of the most powerful weapons in the universe.  So if you are a fan of sci-fi, man-out-of-time stories, or even to a degree sword and sorcery stories – X-O Manowar might just be your new addition to your subscription list.  Head on down to your local comic shop and give X-O Manowar #39 a shot. Also take a look around, they just might have some of the Dollar Debut issues of X-O Manowar #1 lying around.

Fancasting Valiant Comics Movies

By now most all of you have heard the news that Valiant Comics was able to secure funding with their film division, for the purpose of developing their properties to hit the big screen. And I suppose the small screen too? Comic book shows are all the rage on TV right now, for sure. Well, being that my fellow 4LN writer Cameron and I have become big Valiant fans lately, we decided it would be fun to fancast our picks for who should play our favorite characters when the come to life. We reached out to our Valiant super-cool-uncle Steven Boyd (I was gonna say “Valiant godfather”, but that would age him more than would be fair) to see if he’d wanna jump in on the fun. He did! Check out our picks below, and let us know who you’d pick!

 

Bloodshot

Steve B: Thomas Jane as Bloodshot. He’s the friggin Punisher. He already knows how to act, can handle a gun and take a punch. Somebody give this guy some nanites already.

Cam: Anson Mount – If you are unfamiliar with Anson Mount, go watch AMC’s Hell on Wheels. This guy is gruff, capable of portraying a cold-hearted killer, and has the kind of square jaw, anti-hero attitude you would expect from a nanite-powered killing machine.

 

X-O Manowar

Steve B: Chris Hemsworth as X-O Manowar (Aric of Dacia). If Chris Evans can be the Human Torch AND Captain America, then Chris Hemsworth can be both Thor and Aric of Dacia. Solid actor, good physique and is versatile enough to play a Visigoth out of time.

Cam: Alexander Skarsgård – X-O Manowar is as Dacian from the 6th century who was captured by aliens, steals their most powerful weapon (a suit of high tech armor capable of destroying pretty much whatever he wants to destroy), and returns to modern day Earth after escaping. The character is a tall, blonde haired warrior of the North. I think Skarsgaard fits that bill perfectly.

 

Eternal Warrior/ Gilad Anni-Padda

Stephen: I’m going with Charlie Hunnam here. I feel like there’s a wealth of depth to that guy’s acting talents and I don’t think we’ve seen the extent to his abilities. Grow out his hair a little bit and dye it brown… I absolutely think he could be the Eternal Warrior.

Steve B: Michael Shannon as Eternal Warrior.

 

Toyo Harada

Steve B: Ken Watanabe – I thought this guy had the coolest voice in BATMAN BEGINS. I had never seen THE LAST SAMURAI, but when I think of Harada, I think of Ken Watanabe. Very commanding presence and a great actor in general.

Cam: I also pick Ken Watanabe – I literally cannot think of anyone else who could play the ultimate baddy of the Valiant universe. Toyo Harada is one of the most powerful psiots in the world, and hopes to use his power to force the world into peace, even if that means wiping out swaths of people along the on the way. Ken Watanabe is the chosen one for this role.

 

Rai

Steve B: Byung Hun Lee (Storm Shadow from G.I.JOE films) as RAI.

Stephen: I’m actually just gonna echo Steve on this one. I think Lee would make an excellent Rai. He’s definitely got the martial arts talent, and he can certainly pull of the cold, emotionless warrior persona. Plus, ever since I saw him in “I Saw The Devil”, I’ve felt like he deserves a chance to be the lead in an American film. The dude can certainly carry a film.

 

Ninjak

Cam: Tom Hardy – Ninjak, aka Colin King, is a British millionaire/billionaire(?) that also happens to be a badass ninja assassin/intelligence agent. A majority of the time his face is obscured by a mask that covers the lower half of his face. Who is a British actor that is good enough at selling emotion with facial expressions that he can wear a mask a majority of the time and still be awesome? Tom Hardy. Although Hardy would have to reduce his bulkiness back to Inception levels, but he has proven he can pretty much add mass and lose it at will.

Stephen: So, my choice for Ninjak is someone most of you have probably seen, but never knew… Scott Adkins. He’s been in films like Bourne Ultimautim, The Expendables 2, and Zero Dark Thirty. He has martial arts training in his background and was even in a movie called Ninja II. So… yeah. The dude could be Ninjak easy.

 

Ivar Anni-Padda, Timewalker

Steve B: Tom Wisdom as Ivar the Timewalker. My first relative unknown casting for the VALIANT Universe would be Wisdom, who played an ill-fated soldier in 300. He has a super-hero like quality about him and could probably do a great job playing a man out of time. Surround him with a great cast and you’ve got a hit.

Cam: Ewan McGregor – Ivar, the Timewalker, is an immortal time-traveler who is highly intelligent and also a bit of a sarcastic ass. Ewan McGregor could be believable as both an intelligent gentleman and a bit of a jerk in a Sherlockian sort of way. Also, if McGregor grew his hair out he would be a spitting image (I don’t actually know the origin of this phrase) of how Ivar is depicted in his new series.

 

Shadowman/Jack Boniface

Stephen: I’m going with Wentworth Miller (Prison Break, The Flash) for Shadowman. I feel like he’s got the chops to be the lead and he’s done action before, but I feel like one of the things that makes him stand out the most to me, is that he’s also a writer, with some darker-style work in his repertoire (Stoker, the upcoming psychological-horror-thriller The Disappiontments Room). Not only could he play Shadowman, he could write on the film as well…

Steve B: Taylor Kitsch as Jack Boniface. I thought he got Gambit’s Cajun accent down pretty good in X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE, plus he’s a very mysterious looking dude. And he’s been the lead in an action movie (JOHN CARTER). He’s your Shadowman.

 

Quantum and Woody

Steve B: Owen Wilson for Woody, and Michael Jai White for Quantum.  Michael has a super hero’s physique and I believe could play the straight guy in a comedy duo pretty good after seeing him in BLACK DYNAMITE. Owen Wilson is probably a little old for the role, but his Jethro Tull line from ARMAGEDDON wins him Woody’s role instantly.

 

Stephen: This was a tough one for me because Quantum & Woody is my favorite Valiant series. After much deliberation, I’ve settled on Beck Bennett (SNL) for Woody and Lance Gross for Quantum. Now I know he doesn’t *quite* have the look, and his sense of humor comes across more dry than sarcastic, but my reasoning for choosing Bennett is simple… Chris Pratt. If Andy Dwyer can become Star-Lord, then Bennett could become Woody.

Lace Gross is someone you probably don’t know, but he was a on a short-lived NBC drama-thriller called Crisis and he’s got the right look for Quantum. He’s not a comedian, and he can be serious, so balancing Bennett’s Woody with Gross’ Quantum would make for an excellent “world’s worst superhero team”.

 

Archer & Armstrong

Cam: Archer, Logan Lerman – This one took a little longer than the others. Archer is a younger character that is indoctrinated since his birth by an evil organization, but eventually realizes that he has been manipulated and teams up with the immortal hobo, Armstrong, whom he was sent to assassinate. He has the ability to mimic any ability he sees, be it physical or mental, and is in terrific shape. After seeing Lerman in both the Percy Jackson movies (the books were better, but he was good) and Fury, I think he has terrific range to play both the indoctrinated, hyper-religious assassin and the confused, burgeoning superhero.

For Armstrong, John Goodman – Armstrong is an affable, immortal hobo with a penchant for good drink and good poetry. During his long, long life he has rolled with the likes of Michelangelo and Da Vinci, but more recently has teamed up with Archer to form a buddy-cop comedy of a super-duo. I’ll admit, Goodman might be a tad old to play Armstrong, but he has the look, the humor, and the girth. He would be absolutely perfect.

 

Stephen: I like Dave Franco for Archer. Based on his performance in Unfinished Business, I definitely think he could capture the sheltered, naive aspect of Archer’s personality, and I think if given the chance he could hold his own in some action sequences.

I’m gonna just tag on to Cam’s choice for Armstrong here, and say John Goodman would be great, but to offer my own reasoning, I choose him because of his performance in Kevin Smith’s Red State. I remember seeing that for the first time and thinking, “When did John Goodman (kind of) get in shape and become a badass?”

 

Got some of your own suggestions for who should star in the Valiant Comics movies? Let us know in the comments!

First Look: “DEAD HAND” Activates in X-O MANOWAR #34

Valiant is proud to present an advance preview of X-O MANOWAR #34 – the FIRST ISSUE of the all-new story arc and brand new jumping-on point for Valiant’s alien armored hero from New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (ARMOR HUNTERS, The Flash) and superstar-in-the making Diego Bernard (Red Lanterns)! The X-O Manowar epic of 2015 starts here on March 4th as Aric of Dacia, bearer of the most powerful weapon in existence, takes to the stars for a cosmic showdown with the ultimate doomsday fail-safe…the robot army called DEAD HAND!

Born into battle, Aric of Dacia, the fifth century Visigoth now called X-O Manowar, has never known peace. Abducted and enslaved by the savage alien empire known as The Vine, Aric finally escaped his captors after stealing their ultra-powerful X-O Manowar armor and then returned to Earth…only to find that more than a thousand years had passed in his absence. Stranded in the modern day, the most primitive man on Earth now wields the most powerful weapon in existence as X-O Manowar – one of the Earth’s most formidable new heroes and a member of the international superteam codenamed Unity.

But now…in the far reaches of deep space, the ultimate fail-safe of an extinct alien race has finally counted down to zero…and the robot army called DEAD HAND has been activated. The civilization that built them has fallen…and, now, to combat the doomsday threat that destroyed their world, DEAD HAND will complete the mission that their creators could not. Soulless and brutal, this billion-strong legion is the phantom army of a dead world…and it will cleanse the universe by any means necessary.

This spring, X-O Manowar is all that stands between Earth and the relentless precision of DEAD HAND’s procession across the galaxy. Separated from his earthly allies and outnumbered a thousand to one, can one man repel a legion of single-minded killing machines and save civilization from the death grip of DEAD HAND?

Find out here on March 4th as the cosmic X-O Manowar event of 2015 begins in X-O MANOWAR #34, part one of DEAD HAND! Featuring standard covers by Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT) with specially manufactured DEAD HAND overlay cover wraps and stunning wraparound alternate covers by Jorge Molina (X-Men), discover the series that Ain’t It Cool News calls “an amazing read each and every issue” here as DEAD HAND delivers the biggest jumping-on point yet for Robert Venditti and Diego Bernard’s superhero epic!

For more information, visit Valiant online at Facebook.com/ValiantComics, Twitter.com/ValiantComics, ValiantEntertainment.Tumblr.com, and ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.

X-O MANOWAR #34 (NEW ARC! “DEAD HAND” – PART 1)
Written by ROBERT VENDITTI
Art by DIEGO BERNARD
Cover A by LEWIS LAROSA (JAN151661)
Cover B by JORGE MOLINA (JAN151662)
1:10 Variant Cover by DAS PASTORAS (JAN151663)
1:20 Character Design Variant by JORGE MOLINA (JAN151664)
1:25 Variant Cover by BUTCH GUICE (JAN151665)
$3.99 | T+ | 32 pgs. | ON SALE 3/4/15 (FOC – 2/9/15)

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Make Mine Valiant

I am a pretty boring person.  When I first entered the comic world I didn’t stray too far from center; if it wasn’t Batman, Superman, or at least well established and not that “out there,” I would probably stay away from it.  Sure, I’d venture out occasionally, but I was pretty cautious.  As my first long box filled so did my courage, and I began looking into more comics outside of Marvel/DC eventually stumbling into my newest obsession – Valiant Comics.

There are several factors for why Valiant took over my pull list.  The company has terrific customer engagement, great characters, and a strong fan base, but before we get into those aspects I want to look at another interesting facet of Valiant – their history.

The last two decades have been a wild ride for Valiant.  Originally founded by former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter in 1989, Valiant began to make a name for itself in the early 90’s.  It started off with some of Nintendo’s properties and the WWF (World Wrestling Federation not the World Wildlife Foundation – not that there’s anything wrong with that), but in 1991 they began to build their own superhero universe starting with Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 (Magnus, along with Solar and Turok, were Gold Key characters licensed by Valiant).  In 1992, Shooter and company introduced about one character a month, slowly growing the interconnected Valiant Universe.

Original Valiant logo

Original Valiant logo

Things were looking good for the new company.  In 1992, Valiant won the Best Publisher under 5% Market Share from comic distributor Diamond. In 1993 Valiant won Best Publisher over 5% Market Share, which makes them the only publisher outside of Marvel and DC to do so.  Shooter was even given the Lifetime Achievement Award for co-creating the Valiant Universe in a 1992 ceremony (Stan Lee received a Lifetime Achievement Award during this ceremony as well for co-creating the Marvel Universe).

Unfortunately, in the mid 90’s Valiant’s parent company, Voyager Communications, was sold to Acclaim Entertainment.  You might remember them as the video-game company behind games like Mortal Kombat, Turok, and NBA Jam.  Acclaim didn’t see the current universe as very video-game friendly so they rebooted the universe and re-branded Valiant as Acclaim Comics.  Unfortunately, these comics were far less popular than their Valiant predecessors, but that was the least of Acclaims problems.  Financial problems were mounting after suffering several lawsuits, the loss of the WWF license, and dwindling video-game sales.  In 2004, Acclaim filed bankruptcy and their assets were liquidated to pay off the companies debts.

This could have been the end of the Valiant brand, had it not been for the efforts of a group of entrepreneurs led by the current (spoiler alert) CEO, Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari.  Both were fans of the original Valiant titles and when they found out the rights to Valiant were up for sale for $50,000, they got the money together, went to auction, and acquired the rights to the Valiant Comics library.  After some lawsuit issues involving some of the rights to certain characters, Valiant Entertainment was formed.

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Valiant began putting out hardcover collections of the original Valiant characters, but in 2012 they reentered the monthly comic game with a new favorite of mine – X-O Manowar – written by Robert Venditti.  From there they relaunched several popular titles, including: Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, Unity, Harbinger, Eternal Warrior, Quantum and Woody, and more recently, the Valiant, and Ivar, Timewalker.  This year several new ongoing titles have been announced as part of the Valiant Next line.  I am particularly looking forward to the new Ninjak, launching in March.

The reason I bring up their history is because it just makes the current state of Valiant Entertainment all the better.  The people in charge genuinely care about this property, and really want to put a great product out their that’s both respectful to old fans while also expanding the fan base.  Which brings me to the next reason Valiant has won my loyalty – their characters are awesome.

I have been binge-reading X-O Manowar over the last week or so trying to catch up to the current issue, and one thing is for certain – Robert Venditti is one hell of a writer.  This is his first monthly book, and I have loved every one of them so far.  Executive Editor Warren Simmons knew what he was doing when he asked Venditti to relaunch their flagship character.  I have already written pretty extensively of my love for Eternal Warrior, and now we get a new Ninjak comic in March?  Not to mention The Valiant by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt, which has been phenomenal.  They don’t put out a lot of books each month, but what they do put out is top notch.  I would argue that they have the highest quality comic output per capita than any publisher out there.

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They don’t just put out good content, they are also really down to earth and helpful too.  When I was having trouble locating a copy of Eternal Warrior #8 and my Eternal Warrior, Days of Steel #2 kept getting damaged by the distributor, they sent courtesy copies of both books to my local comic shop, Comic Collector Live: the Store.  I have also heard a story about another Valiant fan who’s entire collection was destroyed in a flood.  When Valiant CEO, Dinesh Shamdasani read the story, he offered to lend a hand.  Obviously, Valiant couldn’t replace the original comics, but they were able to provide reprints and collections of a lot of the books the fan had lost, provided they were characters that fell under their license or ownership.  That goes above and beyond your average customer service, and shows you how much they care about their fan-base.

Speaking on the Valiant fan-base, I have never met a more welcoming comic community ever.  My good friend, and fellow 4LN writer/recent Valiant enthusiast, Stephen put it this way, “Most fan-bases want to stay closed off and not let anyone in. They love their characters but yet they jeopardize their success by not wanting anyone else to know about them. Valiant is exactly the opposite. Valiant fans WANT other people to know about these characters. They WANT to share the amazing stories with anyone and everyone who is interested.”

When I mentioned on Twitter that I was looking to get a complete run of X-O Manowar so I could read through Valiant’s launch title, a member added me to a Valiant fan page on Facebook, tagged me in a post asking the members to help out, and within minutes I got a great deal on #0-15 (some of them were even autographed by Mr. Venditti).  The seller was so enthusiastic about converting a newbie to Valiant that he even threw in the trade paperback collecting the first four issues of the original X-O Manowar.  By the way, his gamble paid off, which should be obvious if you read the title of this post.

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Art by Esad Ribic

The reason Valiant won my loyalty isn’t simply because they put out a good product, although that’s a part of it.  They are great to their fans, have a good underdog story, and legitimately care about the properties they own.  If you are interested in supporting a great company and read terrific comics at the same time, make yours Valiant.