Review - The Valiant #1

"You have no choice. This is the way of things."

Being immortal is a gift and a curse. Sure, you get to live forever and see all sorts of things. You also have to live with yourself and your actions, realizing that the consequences of some actions have longer to linger. For The Eternal Warrior, things have historically been a little rough, but in The Valiant #1 from Valiant Entertainment, there's a slight glimmer that things will improve. The issue is written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt and illustrated by Paolo Rivera.

The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has The Valiant.

To say that Kindt and Lemire have talent is an understatement and that talent is on full display in The Valiant #1. Gilad is The Eternal Warrior, which is good from a physical immortality perspective, but it also means he has to endure tremendous emotional pain as well. Gilad's characterization as a somewhat tragic protector is very well done, Kindt and Lemire do a fantastic job delving into his past failures in protecting Geomancers as a means of giving him depth. The inclusion of other Valiant heavy-hitters gives him even more depth in terms of support and helps him to mitigate the losses in his next encounter. And the issue is paced very methodically, gradually traveling through time alongside Gilad into the present where the next grave danger awaits.

As The Valiant #1 includes familiar players, there's a certain look expected and Rivera nails it. His interpretations of some of history's most famous mythological creatures is very well done and brings with them even more fear. There's a wide range of emotion shown on the part of all the characters, but Gilad especially is illustrated with looks of sheer sorrow and desperation on quite a few occasions. Rivera handles this emotion perfectly, ensuring that the impact of the events on page fully resonate with the reader. And Rivera displays everything from simple conversations to physically brutal confrontations with ease, giving the book a look that feels befitting of the story.

The Valiant #1 is a very strong first issue that offers the quality story and art that Valiant has become known for since its relaunch. The story is extremely engaging and promises to be full of intrigue and action, all of which is set against the backdrop of Gilad's growth through the centuries as the Eternal Warrior. Lemire and Kindt cast a pall over the proceedings with their script and its hints of being subdued; it's as if the characters know something bad is coming even if they don't really. Rivera's illustrations are the perfect match for the issue and give the reader a great look at all things good and evil. The Valiant #1 is an issue that should definitely be on everyone's pull list as it promises to go to dark places for the heroes of the Valiant Universe.

The Valiant #1 is in stores now.