Marvel fan? DC fan? Me? I’m a Valiant fan. I remember reading Spider-man and Batman growing up, but nothing entrenched me into comics more than when Valiant first came around with their different, vibrant characters. Seeing these characters back and off to a great start had me chewing at the bit to see this panel. As I anxiously awaited to see what was next in the Valiant universe, the room was filled fast with other eager attendees
After getting my seat, the panel moderator, Hunter Gorinson, introduced himself and the rest of the panel, includingX-O artist, Cary Nord; Shadowman writer, Justin Jordan; Harbinger writer, Joshua Dysart, Bloodshot writer, Duane Swierczynski; X-O Manowar writer, Robert Venditti; Archer and Armstrong writer, Fred Van Lente; and Executive Editor, Warren Simons.
The fellas at Valiant started with a slide show beginning with Harbinger. Giving us the Fifth issue’s subtitle, “Versus,” Dysart stated that by the end of this issue Peter and Harade will, “No longer be friends.” Following this will be several issues bringing back many classic Harbinger characters, who will each get a spotlight in their own issue. We can look forward to seeing Kris (who we have already met), followed by Flamingo. Per Dysard, “She’s the kind of girl who goes to a heavy metal show, shows her tits to the lead singer, and then he catches on fire.” Next is Torque. Dysard referenced Torque saying he, “wears too much Ed Hardy and loves Nickelback.” Next up is Faith or as Dysard put it, “my favorite character.” He went on to describe Faith as being the heart of the new team. I love seeing the return of the old team members. The Valiant team seems to be spot on with what its fans wants. The announcement of the old team returning was met with great applause from the crowd.
The panel moved on to Swierczynski and Bloodshot. Bloodshot’s journey continues as he will figure out that he doesn’t know who he is. Sweirczynski let us in on the next story line saying, “The next arc is Bloodshot’s assault on Project Rising Spirit.” Jokes were made between the panel to not reveal what is in “The basement” of Project Rising Spirit. Simmons did say that Bloodshot issue 6 will have “massive repercussions for the Valiant Universe,” and a huge secret will be revealed. I am enjoying Bloodshot, his story is akin to The Bourne Identity with a sci-fi twist. While the news of Bloodshot’s plot arc was nothing earth-shattering, the little tease about the “basement” and secrets revealed make me eager to pick up the next issue.
Then, they moved on to the one title that started Valiant’s new beginning, X-O Manowar. Valiant’s first trade paperback of X-O will be hitting shelves in December with plans to release a new one each month thereafter. As most fans know, Ninjak is also coming out in the X-O title. While they did not reveal much of future plans with Ninjak, they did state it will be an interesting clash between “A Visigoth that fights with brute force and Ninjak who uses stealth.” Also announced was that Cary Nord’s run on X-O is done after issue 5, but he is working on a new, yet to be revealed Valiant project. I’m was sad to hear of Cary Nord moving off X-O and disappointed to not hear much on the story plot beyond the next issue.
“Goes anywhere, does anything, and you never know what to expect.” stated Fred Van Lente of the description of his book Archer and Armstrong. And with that, Archer and Armstrong #5 will give us Giliad, “The Eternal Warrior.” Yells of, “YES!” followed by cheers followed the announcement, and a slide show played teasing us with Giliad’s return. We knew this character was coming. His past popularity almost demanded it.
Jordan keyed up next on his work on Shadowman. This garnered a standing ovation by the crowd (including myself). When asked to describe this new incarnation Jordan joked, “He punches monsters in the face…Hard.” They encouraged us to see the free preview down in the main hall. I was thrilled by this news. Out of all characters, Shadowman was my favorite in the Valiant universe. I loved the dark atmosphere surrounding his character, mixed with voodoo culture. Plus, a great antagonist and story combined to elevate a troubled anti-hero into one of best written and drawn figures in comic history.
With the panel individually introduced – fans were then allowed to fire away with questions. I raised my hand in question and the gentleman next to me was chosen. Luckily he asked exactly what was on my mind. Will we see the Geomancers? The crowd was given a simple “yes,” leaving us to wonder when and where they will appear. A few questions were asked on old characters coming back. Without giving names, they did state they plan on bringing back many old characters. I was finally able to get a question in myself, asking if we would see Magnus, Rai or Solar. Gorinson stated in response, “Magnus, Solar, and Turok are owned by Keystone, so as of now we don’t have rights to use those characters” Followed by “We love Rai” but no further info. The tempo of everyone in attendance was smiles and enthusiasm, Unlike the energy in other panels, with guests questioning what writers are doing to our most beloved character or discussing soft reboots with gaping plot holes, this was all positive energy. In a huge field of miss steps by bigger companies, it’s nice to see someone getting it right.
The panel finished with some jokes on foil, “chromium” covers and a final question had us asking, “Who in Harbinger is the bad guy?” Dysart responded, “I don’t believe in a black and white type of story, I like shades of grey.” He continued saying that both parties will do terrible things to remain in power or to gain it, jokingly stating he would love to see half the people Team Peter, the other half Team Harada. To me the choice is easy, I’m for Team Valiant!