Series: Book of Death
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite
Summary from Comixology:
“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.”
The Valiant heroes. X-O Manowar. Bloodshot. Ninjak. The Harbinger Renegades. Unity. This is how they lived. This is how they died.
Now we know. The Book of the Geomancer has recorded it all. But only a young girl – the last in a line of the enigmatic mystics who protect the Earth known as Geomancers – has seen this future come to pass, from the coming cataclysm to the dawn of the 41st century. Alone with her sworn protector, the Eternal Warrior – a soldier battle-forged across five thousand years of combat – the duo must defy their allies to stop the Dark Age that now threatens to eclipse our world.
Together, they are the number one target of every hero and villain on Earth. Either the Eternal Warrior hands her over…or they take him down. But can even he single-handedly protect one child when the entire Valiant Universe wages war against him?
The blockbuster Valiant event of 2015 starts here as New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (X-O MANOWAR) joins superstar-in-the-making Robert Gill (ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER) and visionary artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS) to begin a thousand-year journey into the future of the Valiant Universe…and rain, fire, blood and war on the heroes of today.
It’s no secret that Valiant has quickly become one of my favorite publishers putting out comics. At this point it seems that a majority my pull list is either Valiant or Star Wars related, and I am perfectly fine with that. The company consistently puts out tremendous stories with some really great characters. I will say that I am generally a little wary of crossover events, so when I heard about Book of Death I was initially… let’s say optimistically skeptical? But ultimately I was excited. I mean, it features some of my favorite characters and it’s written by Robert Venditti, who is doing a great job on Valiant’s flagship title X-O Manowar.
Just a quick heads up: while this book is really good, it’s probably not the best jumping on point for newcomers to Valiant. Book of Death looks as if it will feature the entirety of the Valiant universe lore and all. I would recommend at least reading Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt’s miniseries The Valiant before diving in with Book of Death or you might be a bit lost.
Let me start by saying that even though there was a tremendous amount of hype with this book, which sometimes leads to major disappointment, I thought that Book of Death was really well done. The majority of this issue centers on the prophesy as told in the Geomancer’s Book of Death (Geomancers speak for the Earth. You know, like the Lorax). The prophesy tells of the fall of the Valiant universe and everything in it. Tama, the Geomancer that Gilad brought back from the future in The Valiant, is being hunted and being framed for all sorts of gruesome shenanigans like the tree of death shown above. Instead of turning Tama over to his pals in Unity, Gilad, who vowed to keep Tama safe, is traveling from desolate locale to desolate locale trying to keep her away from friend and foe.
I was really impressed with the creative team. Robert Venditti, Valiant’s Chosen One, writes a stark tale with plenty of action and badassery, but it also looks like he is setting the stage for what appears to be a war against fate itself. I’ve loved his work on X-O Manowar, and this issue makes me look forward to what he’s going to do on the upcoming Wrath of the Eternal Warrior ongoing. The art in Book of Death is also really good. Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite’s art almost has a twinge of 90’s nostalgia, or at least it reminded me of some of the art from that era. The character designs are spot on and some of the panels are pretty brutal.
In the end, I thought Book of Death was a great first issue. Venditti is setting the stage for an epic battle over the next three issues featuring all of Valiant’s heavy hitters. Next issue should have a pretty awesome opening battle sequence featuring two of my favorite characters. It will definitely be interesting to see where this series is going! Book of Death also has four one-shots featuring the prophesies of X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Ninjak, and Harbingers, plus the four issue, limited run Legends of the Geomancer. Below I’ve attached a 9 page preview courtesy of Valiant. Be sure to head to your local comic shop Wednesday, July 15 to pick up your copy of Book of Death!
Make sure you pick up Book of Death #1 when it hits comic shop shelves, and Comixology, this Wednesday!