Not since Jim Shooter pulled an impressive assemblage of creators together in the early 90’s has Valiant garnered this much attention. And, arguably, never in the company’s history has the acclaim been as well deserved as it is right now. Jody Houser’s Faith series, chronicling the adventures of Zephyr, found itself in many of last year’s best-of lists. And this week, she’s back with a brand new event series, Faith & The Future Force, featuring a team of Valiant heroes from across the timestream. Despite attempting to keep the lowest of profiles following being framed for murder, Faith Herbert can think of only one possible response when being told, “Come with me if you want to save history.” I mean, we’ve all wanted to hear those words, yeah?
And this really underscores the primary appeal of Faith. While generations of comic book superheroes have captured various aspects of human virtue, representing our greatest qualities and most profound aspirations, Faith is one of those rare heroes who truly feels human. She looks like a real person, talks like a real person, and behaves how any one of us fanboys and girls would likely behave if given half the chance to save the city, the world, or, indeed, all of history.
Together with Timewalker and Ank, the dinosaur lady, Faith must skip across time to combat a killer robot who seems to be consuming every action movie catchphrase, while decimating everything else. The book is beautifully illustrated by Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson, with vibrant colors by Ulises Arreola, and is another big win for Valiant in 2017.
In case you hadn’t noticed (and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a bit late to the party), these guys have been killing it recently. And there hasn’t been a better time to jump onboard. Matt Kindt, along with Tomás Giorello and Doug Braithwaite, have reintroduced us to X-O Manowar in a relaunch that is a gorgeous tribute to classic comic book sci-fi fantasy. Eric Heisserer and Raul Allen bring back Secret Weapons, a series replete with cloak & dagger subterfuge, offbeat superpowers, and corporate conspiracy. And later this year, Jeff Lemire continues his brilliant Bloodshot run with Bloodshot: Salvation, a new series partnered with Lewis LaRosa and Mico Suayan.
But what would a comic book universe be without a cinematic counterpart? These days, if you want your superheroes to be taken seriously, you need the big screen treatment. And, fortunately for Valiant, they have an Oscar-nominated screenwriter hard at work on just that.
In a conversation with Vulture’s Abraham Riesman at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Heisserer talked a lot about making Arrival a reality (and also dropped a nugget that he’s adapting another Ted Chiang story, “Liking What You See: A Documentary,” for AMC). He also spoke about the imminent Valiant Cinematic Universe. At their core, the Valiant comics have been about more than classic superhero tropes; one could easily describe Bloodshot as science fiction with superhero elements, or Secret Weapons as agency drama with mutant powers. And that’s exactly what Heisserer hopes to capture in these films. If you have to remind yourself that you’re watching a comic book flick, whilst being thoroughly entertained by an ass-kicking albino or time-displaced Visigoth, then mission accomplished. And if the movies end up being as fresh and exciting as this recent spate of comics, we maybe can finally forgive Sony for those last few Spider-Man movies.