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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:18:55 pm 
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:09:42 pm
Posts: 198
Location: PA
Valiant fan since: 1994
Favorite character: Solar
Favorite title: 90s Shadowman
The time when the wheels came off, Acclaim jumped in, and everyone knew it wasn’t working. This pre-Birthquake period very much feels like a big send-off to the original Valiant universe.

Chaos Effect – Epsilon (4020) titles were okay. Delta (space war) was pretty entertaining. But this “event” as a whole was a mess. Most of the titles had no real connection to what was happening. What was happening was poorly defined and didn’t come off as much of a threat. And the whole thing seemed to be built around the intent to shoot Dr. Mirage’s stature in the Valiant universe through the roof but then they just decided not to. The two-issue Epilogue with Magnus was interesting though. A weirdly half-hearted effort to create another Unity style event.

Magnus #41-48 – Once we come back around to focusing on Magnus’ return from the events of Chaos, and not his obnoxious son, this series returned to fun intrigue and political maneuvering. The two-issue flashback to end this period was an interesting, introspective look at what human cost of Magnus’ declaration to purge all robots.

Solar, Man of the Atom #38-45 – The birth of the Destroyer was definitely an interesting issue. Then the series treads water for a few months; recycling the same old plot lines making me wonder if editorial really just didn’t know what to do with a god-like figure. Priest’s two issues completely come out of left field and don’t vibe with the character traits at all, but were still a fascinating read.

Rai #26-33 – I surprised myself by eventually coming around to like kid Rai. Bring Ax into the mix was a fun nod to continuity that the books were drifting away from at this point. A very average but generally satisfying end to the run.

Harbinger #34-41 – With the exception of #36 & 37 that tie into the Chaos Effect Epilogue, this was just an unbelievable mess. I haven’t been a fan of any incarnation of Harbinger, but this just didn’t make any kind of sense from a storytelling point of view or a marketing one. “Let’s take everything that worked for us before and just throw it out the window and make Faith a wandering nomad. Oh, and let’s focus on the D team too!” Huh?

X-O Manowar #33-43, ½ – Ooof. This series fell on hard times after Chaos. Overly long story arcs with no payoff, including the impossibly bad Wolfbridge Affair storyline (which may include the worst Wizard #1/2 issue ever), and bad interlude issues, including the failure of a Shadowman crossover. I have to imagine people were welcoming the massive change to whatever Sears was bringing after this stuff.

Shadowman #29-37 – Probably the best series immediately following Chaos. I particularly enjoyed #30-34. The slower burn Ishmael arc that continues into Birthquake is less engaging though.

Eternal Warrior #26-35 – This series pretty much just treads water for me. I wanted to like both the Immortal War and Mortal Kin arcs more than I did, but there was never any real tension or feeling like Gilad would lose any of the fights.

H.A.R.D. Corps #23-30 – This series rarely ever was about Harbinger resistance, but this stuff about in-fighting with their psycho boss and the team fighting a new team was utter garbage. I love Mike Baron’s work on stuff like Nexus and Badger; but his run on this title was an absolute disaster.

Bloodshot #20-29 – This series was a mess following Chaos. The Ax fight didn’t work for me. The circus arc REALLY didn’t work for me. Thankfully the Rampage crossover saved it, but that was mostly due to Sean Chen’s dynamic pencils. Valiant had been fighting the idea they had a house style for months at this point, but this was the first time they successfully proved it.

Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #16-24 – Very much like Solar, there didn’t seem to be any clue what to do with this character. Regurgitated plotlines, ridiculous supporting characters, and ineffective art made #24’s return to the Lost Land a very welcome change.

Secret Weapons #13-21 – There’s no way to be delicate here, this series was an absolute steaming pile. Nothing about any of the generic, super-suit powered characters makes the reader care in the least about them or their motivations. Every one of them is at the same time forgettable and unlikable. The Rampage arc saves this series from being a complete write-off.

Second Life of Dr. Mirage #11-18 – With the failed attempt to make Dr. Mirage mean something to readers in Choas, the character just sort of bides his time through one similarly bad story after another until the merciful cancelation.

Ninjak 8-16 – Lanning and Abbnett fail to capture the imagination with their long-run White Wolf storyline until a bit too late. The White Wolf is actually pretty interesting and his motivations clear, but he just comes out of left field, as does his ties to the previous issues.

Armorines #5-12 – A merciful end to an unnecessary series. That said, the Chaos space war and Cuban Connection issues were pretty well done.

Psi-Lords #3-10 – Just another seven issues of indistinguishable characters and pointless fights. It’s hard to understand what editorial was thinking with this series.

Geomancer #1-8 – First off, I legit thought this character was a black guy from most of the cover art and coloring. Then I started reading a story about a blind, former NYCPD white guy and thought, “Man, that was a lost opportunity to do ANYTHING different.” Like so many other titles during this too-many-titles glut, there’s simply no character building or motivations. More issues are average than not, but we were never given a reason to care in the first place.

Visitor vs The Valiant Universe #1-2, Visitor #1-3 – Speaking of given no reason to care… This character is thrust upon the readers shrouded in a “mystery” that no one cares about. I remember reading this as it came out and giving up quickly. I see why. There’s zero attempt to engage the reader in these rote superhero stories.

Overall, it seems like there was absolutely no interest in producing character driven book during this period. It was all longer arcs and fights all the time. And while I hesitate to single out creators, I just couldn’t connect with anything Baron or VanHook did here at all. And they seemed to do a lot. At this point, Birthquake is a welcome change of pace in this re-read.

Extras
Eternal Warrior Yearbook #2, Shadowman Yearbook, Ninjak Yearbook – All very annual-style forgettable story.

Destroyer #0 – I didn’t dislike the end result of this issue, I just didn’t particularly enjoy the story to get there.

Harbinger Files #2 – A character so 90s, he could be X-Treme or Cabbot’s brother. This intro issue was actually fine, it’s just all the silliness that follows.

X-O Manowar Yearbook – Lots of punchy punchy.

_________________
"What kind of name is Unity for a superhero team anyway? They deserve to die for that alone." - Bloodsquirt, Bloodshot Reborn #5


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:53:51 am 
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!

Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:53:37 pm
Posts: 287
Location: Greensboro, NC, USA
Valiant fan since: 2013
Favorite character: Blister
Favorite title: Rai and the Future Force
Favorite writer: Jim Shooter
Favorite artist: Barry Wind-Smith
SwiftMann wrote:
The time when the wheels came off, Acclaim jumped in, and everyone knew it wasn’t working. This pre-Birthquake period very much feels like a big send-off to the original Valiant universe.

Chaos Effect – Epsilon (4020) titles were okay. Delta (space war) was pretty entertaining. But this “event” as a whole was a mess. Most of the titles had no real connection to what was happening. What was happening was poorly defined and didn’t come off as much of a threat. And the whole thing seemed to be built around the intent to shoot Dr. Mirage’s stature in the Valiant universe through the roof but then they just decided not to. The two-issue Epilogue with Magnus was interesting though. A weirdly half-hearted effort to create another Unity style event.

Magnus #41-48 – Once we come back around to focusing on Magnus’ return from the events of Chaos, and not his obnoxious son, this series returned to fun intrigue and political maneuvering. The two-issue flashback to end this period was an interesting, introspective look at what human cost of Magnus’ declaration to purge all robots.

Solar, Man of the Atom #38-45 – The birth of the Destroyer was definitely an interesting issue. Then the series treads water for a few months; recycling the same old plot lines making me wonder if editorial really just didn’t know what to do with a god-like figure. Priest’s two issues completely come out of left field and don’t vibe with the character traits at all, but were still a fascinating read.

Rai #26-33 – I surprised myself by eventually coming around to like kid Rai. Bring Ax into the mix was a fun nod to continuity that the books were drifting away from at this point. A very average but generally satisfying end to the run.

Harbinger #34-41 – With the exception of #36 & 37 that tie into the Chaos Effect Epilogue, this was just an unbelievable mess. I haven’t been a fan of any incarnation of Harbinger, but this just didn’t make any kind of sense from a storytelling point of view or a marketing one. “Let’s take everything that worked for us before and just throw it out the window and make Faith a wandering nomad. Oh, and let’s focus on the D team too!” Huh?

X-O Manowar #33-43, ½ – Ooof. This series fell on hard times after Chaos. Overly long story arcs with no payoff, including the impossibly bad Wolfbridge Affair storyline (which may include the worst Wizard #1/2 issue ever), and bad interlude issues, including the failure of a Shadowman crossover. I have to imagine people were welcoming the massive change to whatever Sears was bringing after this stuff.

Shadowman #29-37 – Probably the best series immediately following Chaos. I particularly enjoyed #30-34. The slower burn Ishmael arc that continues into Birthquake is less engaging though.

Eternal Warrior #26-35 – This series pretty much just treads water for me. I wanted to like both the Immortal War and Mortal Kin arcs more than I did, but there was never any real tension or feeling like Gilad would lose any of the fights.

H.A.R.D. Corps #23-30 – This series rarely ever was about Harbinger resistance, but this stuff about in-fighting with their psycho boss and the team fighting a new team was utter garbage. I love Mike Baron’s work on stuff like Nexus and Badger; but his run on this title was an absolute disaster.



This is a fun read ... thanks. You've given me a lot to think about. I'm at work, bringing my phone out while no one is looking, so I will have to comment in pieces.

On Solar you mentioned Priest. Is that the Priest from Priest and Bright? And you're right. The Solar splitting to birth Destroyer was pretty awesome. I had not realized it was in Year 3.5 as you call it. It's maybe the high point of all 3.5

You're pretty critical of Woodbridge Affair. I hadn't read it yet and appreciate knowing to lower my expectations. But that Sword cover was pretty awesome and deserves a special mention at the very least.

You're also pretty critical to the XO Shadowman crossover. I must disagree. I very much enjoyed it. Blister is awesome and I say is the best villian Valiant ever made. I know I'm a minority opinion in that :-)

But seriously I valued learning about XOs weakness against Necromantic energy. And the scene where Shadowman conjures an energy shield is one of my clearest artwork recollections.

_________________
I've been looking everywhere for the ultra-rare Turok vs Blister issue. I've only heard rumors about it in hushed tones. Anybody able to help me out?


Last edited by Oxmyx on Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:16:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:07:28 am 
I do embrace my inner geekdom
I do embrace my inner geekdom
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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 11:37:59 am
Posts: 16186
Location: watertown, wi
Valiant fan since: 1991
Favorite character: Gilad
Favorite title: Pre-Unity Harbinger
give you a lot of credit going back through that list....98% of it was pure dreck...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:00:25 pm 
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:09:42 pm
Posts: 198
Location: PA
Valiant fan since: 1994
Favorite character: Solar
Favorite title: 90s Shadowman
Oxmyx wrote:
On Solar you mentioned Priest. Is that the Priest from Priest and Bright?

Yup, Christopher Priest. He did the two issues just before Birthquake that had Solar living a second life as a cop. They came out of left field, but, thankfully, this was during (what I see as) Priest's creative peak in the mid-90s, so it was a good read despite being way out of character.

Quote:
And you're right. The Solar splitting to birth Destroyer was pretty awesome. I had not realized it was in Year 3.5 as you call it. It's maybe the high point of all 3.5

Yup. The ideas thrown out there for him were definitely interesting and engaging. I genuinely don't know if anything more gets done with him, so that will be a surprise one way or another.

Quote:
You're pretty critical of Woodbridge Affair. I hadn't read it yet and appreciate knowing to lower my expectations. But that Sword cover was pretty awesome and deserves a special mention at the very least.

Ha. Well, I agree that cover is pretty good, but 1) it wasn't the interior artist and 2) it was in advertisements for months leading up to it, so I saw that image close to 100 times once I finally got to the issue. And storywise it was just a cartoonish, mustache twirling villain execution.

Quote:
You're also pretty critical to the XO Shadowman crossover. I must disagree. I very much enjoyed it. Blister is awesome and I say is the best villian Valiant ever made. I know I'm a minority opinion in that :-)

I can't say I love Blister, but I liked the Shadowman issues that followed X-O #37. I just really didn't like the two-issue "crossover" part, particularly the X-O issue, which had a LOT of art problems.

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"What kind of name is Unity for a superhero team anyway? They deserve to die for that alone." - Bloodsquirt, Bloodshot Reborn #5


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:02:52 pm 
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:09:42 pm
Posts: 198
Location: PA
Valiant fan since: 1994
Favorite character: Solar
Favorite title: 90s Shadowman
myron wrote:
give you a lot of credit going back through that list....98% of it was pure dreck...

The first few issues of Birthquake are a breath of fresh air after this junk. Higher quality paper, art, colors, and stories (so far) are a needed relief after 200 some issues of sameness.

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"What kind of name is Unity for a superhero team anyway? They deserve to die for that alone." - Bloodsquirt, Bloodshot Reborn #5


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:04:01 am 
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!

Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:53:37 pm
Posts: 287
Location: Greensboro, NC, USA
Valiant fan since: 2013
Favorite character: Blister
Favorite title: Rai and the Future Force
Favorite writer: Jim Shooter
Favorite artist: Barry Wind-Smith
SwiftMann wrote:
myron wrote:
give you a lot of credit going back through that list....98% of it was pure dreck...

The first few issues of Birthquake are a breath of fresh air after this junk. Higher quality paper, art, colors, and stories (so far) are a needed relief after 200 some issues of sameness.


I really appreciate learning from this that Birthquake and Rampage are both really worth reading while Wolfbridge is not. That Wolfbridge sword cover is so cool...and was hyped so much... what a disappointment. Also good to know that Year 3.5 Shadowman and Armorines Chaos is worth keeping an eye out for.

You say this period saw "no interest in making a character driven book"
I find it weirdly funny that not only is that true but 3.5 has The Visitor with the character and motivation intentionally obscured! Well, I guess at least they did try SOMETHING new (for Valiant anyway)

Something I reflect on is the sad reality that my very first Valiant comics were mostly 3.5. In retrospect, also reading Unity at that time just have balanced the tables so I still had a high opinion of Valiant.
I was aware these comics weren't very good. This was mostly Turok 3.5 but I kept going looking for that Unity magic
Still, Destroyer #0 was one of my first Valiant comics, and it did a good job hooking me

_________________
I've been looking everywhere for the ultra-rare Turok vs Blister issue. I've only heard rumors about it in hushed tones. Anybody able to help me out?


Last edited by Oxmyx on Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:54:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:52:40 am 
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:53:37 pm
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Location: Greensboro, NC, USA
Valiant fan since: 2013
Favorite character: Blister
Favorite title: Rai and the Future Force
Favorite writer: Jim Shooter
Favorite artist: Barry Wind-Smith
Swift, you make no mention of ArcherArmstrong. I realize their run ended with Chaos but I'd like to hear your thoughts on that decision by Valiant.

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I've been looking everywhere for the ultra-rare Turok vs Blister issue. I've only heard rumors about it in hushed tones. Anybody able to help me out?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:46:41 pm 
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:53:37 pm
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Location: Greensboro, NC, USA
Valiant fan since: 2013
Favorite character: Blister
Favorite title: Rai and the Future Force
Favorite writer: Jim Shooter
Favorite artist: Barry Wind-Smith
Swift, you don't include Secrets of the VU #3 as part of Year 3.5

It seems like it should be. I'm reading it tonight

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I've been looking everywhere for the ultra-rare Turok vs Blister issue. I've only heard rumors about it in hushed tones. Anybody able to help me out?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:21:00 pm 
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:09:42 pm
Posts: 198
Location: PA
Valiant fan since: 1994
Favorite character: Solar
Favorite title: 90s Shadowman
Oxmyx wrote:
Swift, you don't include Secrets of the VU #3 as part of Year 3.5

It seems like it should be. I'm reading it tonight

The timeline I was using has this as an early read since it's all pre-4001.

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"What kind of name is Unity for a superhero team anyway? They deserve to die for that alone." - Bloodsquirt, Bloodshot Reborn #5


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:22:39 pm 
Harbinger rank: Aonisaibushi
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:09:42 pm
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Valiant fan since: 1994
Favorite character: Solar
Favorite title: 90s Shadowman
Oxmyx wrote:
Swift, you don't include Secrets of the VU #3 as part of Year 3.5

It seems like it should be. I'm reading it tonight

I seem to make folks here mad when I talk about A&A. For me, the Barry Windsor Smith stuff was good to great. Everything after #8 was unnecessary at best and horrible at worst.

You can check out more specific thoughts in my other breakdowns in this forum.

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"What kind of name is Unity for a superhero team anyway? They deserve to die for that alone." - Bloodsquirt, Bloodshot Reborn #5


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:46:35 am 
Personal shoe-shopper for Atom!
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:53:37 pm
Posts: 287
Location: Greensboro, NC, USA
Valiant fan since: 2013
Favorite character: Blister
Favorite title: Rai and the Future Force
Favorite writer: Jim Shooter
Favorite artist: Barry Wind-Smith
SwiftMann wrote:
Oxmyx wrote:
Swift, you don't include Secrets of the VU #3 as part of Year 3.5

It seems like it should be. I'm reading it tonight

The timeline I was using has this as an early read since it's all pre-4001.


Fair enough, but if the topic is Year 3.5 doesn't it need to be included? Especially since it seems to me to be a well-done comic (which is notable because there isn't much in 3.5)

I agree that "unnecessary at best" is a fair evaluation of A+A but I personally see that as a strength not a weakness. When I read A+A I have learned not to expect the necessary or the reasonable or even a proper story. I am seriously in no way arguing with you. It's a matter of preference.

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I've been looking everywhere for the ultra-rare Turok vs Blister issue. I've only heard rumors about it in hushed tones. Anybody able to help me out?


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