Monday, September 14, 2015

The Valiant

When I grabbed this off of our new comics shelf at work, I had no idea that it was part of this whole comic universe.  Thankfully, the authors provide a quick bio of the main players in the beginning.


Alas, that was the only thing I was thankful for.

I was really surprised by how much I disliked this book.  It didn't seem to have passed any quality control checks in either the plot, characterization, or dialogue departments.  And the writers were Jeff Lemire (eh!) and Matt Kindt!  I really enjoy their solo endeavors--Kindt's Mind MGMT in particular is phenomenal--so I have no idea what happened here.  The dialogue is painfully pedestrian, the characters are thinly-veiled copies of other, more famous characters [NOTE: I realize that these are Valiant's characters and not the sole creations of the authors] and the entire story arc was frustratingly pointless.

So, the concept is that there's this immortal guy, Gilan, the Eternal Warrior (woo) whose job it is to protect a person called the Geomancer, who is like an Earth Guardian with superpowers that aren't really earth-related.  She shoots power beams out of her hands.  Woo.  Anyway, there's this GIANT FORCE OF EVIL called the Immortal Enemy who manifests as a dead steer's skull inside of another head (don't ask) and stalks around doing menacing and evil things, including killing all of the Geomancers.  Yes.  Despite all of his fighting prowess and supposed brains, Gilan has not yet managed to save ANY of the Geomancers in HISTORY from being destroyed by the Immortal Enemy.  We're constantly told that if the Geomancer is destroyed, then the Evil will rule the world and we will all die blah blah blah cataclysm blah blah.  But if this has been going on since the beginning of time, why didn't the Immortal Enemy take over the world 10.000 years ago?  Whats he waiting for?  And if he really can't do anything after killing the Geomancer, what is the point of this comic?

Those are just a few of the more articulate questions that ran through my head as I read this.  Others, like, "Whaaa?"  and "Huh?" were more general in scope.

The newest Geomancer, a young woman named Kay, has the requisite identity crisis in about four panels.  She supposedly has all these cool, awesome abilities, but doesn't use them.  Immortal Enemy finds out about her and starts hunting her.  Naturally, Gilan comes to her rescue and once again executes an Epic Fail.  But hark!  Who is that!  Just when all seems lost, coming to the rescue is a nano-enhanced human super-soldier named ... BLOODSHOT.  You can always recognize him because his skin is white and his eyes are red and he has a big red circle on his chest.  However, the nanotechnology inside of him makes him virtually invincible (Wolverine, anybody?) so he can regrow limbs and get hit by a gajillion bullets and live and all sorts of Very Convenient Things.

So Bloodshot rescues Geomancer while the Eternal Warrior dithers around (I suppose when you're immortal, timing isn't exactly your forte) and gets all sad-faced because he is the world's most craptastic guardian.  In association with MI-6, the Forces of Good assemble an army of super ... things to fight against the forces of Evil.  Then, there are some unintentionally hilarious battle sequences with dorky superheroes fighting evil people.  One of the superheroes is actually a giant goat with laser beam eyes.  To quote Dave Barry, "I am not making this up."  See?



But none of it matters because the whole point of this comic is that resistance is futile, so the Geomancer dies anyway and everyone is all sad, including the giant goat.

However, all is not lost.  As it oh-so-conveniently turns out, Gilan's future self placed a future Geomancer inside a magic, unopenable box.  Thankfully, MI-6 has the resources of a very old chap whose job is to open unopenable magical boxes.  So now we have yet another Geomancer that Gilan swears to protect.

Puh-leeze.

The character of Bloodshot was the only saving grace in this.  I was rather curious about him, and really, having a totally unbeatable character is fun in small doses.  At least he didn't pull sad faces all the time and have existential crises about Failure and Purpose like Gilan does every five seconds.

But really, none of this was good.  I'm unsure as to how two comics writers that I generally find competent managed to create this hot mess.  Is it supposed to be satire?  I mean really, that's how bad it was.  I added a star because I love Paolo Rivera's work, and he did a great job with the art considering that he had to illustrate a story with no story.

Just go read Lemire's Essex County books and Kindt's Mind MGMT and skip this one altogether.

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