(Valiant Entertainment, 2014)
Review by Brad Gischia
Writer – Matt Kindt
Artist – Doug Braithwaite
Colors – Brain Reber
Letters – Dave Sharpe
Covers – Doug Braithwaite, Cary Nord and Travel Foreman w/ Len O’Grad
When I hear the name Valiant Comics I am always reminded of the dollar bins of the 90’s, when there were so many overstocked titles that they were practically giving them away. I remember very little of the actual content of any of the Valiant books. That is all changing with Valiant’s recharged lineup and titles like Unity.
In Unity issues one through three we have the introduction of the Unity team, founded by Valiant mastermind Toyo Harada. Matt Kindt has done what every company should and does at some point do, cross their titles. In Unity we have X-O Manowar, Gilad Anni-Padda from Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, and Livewire. It crosses the titles and makes them a more complete universe.
The first three issues are a short arc based around Aric of Dacia and the Manowar armor. Kidnapped from Earth he goes to an alien planet and takes their most powerful relic, the X-O Manowar, what seems to be a set of sentient alien armor. He returns to Earth with the descendants of his people and reclaims his seat of power, now modern day Romania, after 1600 years. Needless to say that 21st century governments have a little to say about this encroachment of their national borders.
Toyo Harada makes it his mission to avoid the nuclear holocaust he is sure will happen and sends in his most recent team from the Harbinger Foundation. They mount a precision strike. Aric takes two of them out while they’re still in the air and the second two as they hit the ground. A billion dollars is vanquished in seconds. Harada must go to his “A” team, which means bringing Livewire out of retirement.
Amanda McKee has the ability to interact with technology, and is crucial to the effort considering that the Manowar armor is built of alien tech. Along with her are Ninjak, an MI-6 agent hired by Harada and sent ahead, and Gilad, an immortal Conan-esque character with super strength.
They are successful in the attempt to liberate Aric from the armor, and Livewire is able to take it over. But once she is connected to the alien tech she finds that it changes her, a side effect that will surely come up later in the series.
Toyo Harada is by far the most interesting character in the book. He plays both sides against the middle. He is a powerful “psiot” (telekinesis and such) and he has no qualms about murdering those he thinks deserve to die. He is the worst kind of superman, the one that has no oversight, no real peers to watch him. Harada’s relationship with Livewire, though not really explored in this book, is long and of the samurai/student nature. The writer in me wanted to see Livewire take the armor away from Harada, who she knows has ill intentions. The issue ends with her plotting against him anyway, and she is in a position of power the moment before she gives it up. I’ll have to trust Matt Kindt and his unknown plot points that it’s for the good of the story.
Unity is a gripping tale nonetheless, and Valiant is on the right track to making me think of the entire company in a different light. I’ve only read one other title from this newest batch of releases, Eternal Warrior, but I must say that they have put together a memorable and exciting lineup. Keep your eyes peeled on Valiant, a company showing how to reboot characters in the best way.
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