Unity is a super team from Valiant comics (a la, the Avengers or Justice League – but not directly comparable, I just wanted to make clear what a super team was). If you are not familiar with Valiant comics you have not perused a 50¢ bin of 90s comic books, and that’s okay. Valiant relaunched in 2012 with a whole new universe (many returning characters, but knowing the old story lines is not necessary because it is as if they no longer exist). I like valiant, liked them before, like them now, and while I cannot say that every book is amazing there truly is some great writing and art in these books. Of course I like their big names, Ninjak, Eternal Warrior, and X-O Manowar being my favorites (not going to be like some comic book hipster who’s like “oh, I don’t like the mainstream heroes and villains. I mean, The Rhino is cool, but have you heard of The Armadillo?”). You may have heard about their Craft of Comics event in October of 2015, if you follow me on Twitter or other social media outlets you definitely saw some posts about it. It was a very cool search for a new artist in partnership with Hastings.
Whew, with that out of the way let’s get started with the review! As always, I try to stay spoiler free, but a couple minor details may slip in to better convey the story without giving away any major plot points or unexpected twists.
In 2013 the Unity story line came to fruition. The first four issues were collected into a trade paper back (TPB) called “To Kill a King”. This story focuses on the return of Aric of Dacia (X-O Manowar) to Earth with the intentions of reclaiming the lands his people inhabited before being abducted by aliens. Toyo Harada has put together a super team dubbed “Unity” to take him out. They fail miserably. A new team must be assembled, and these books see that new team put together, learn to work together, an see if they can (in effect) stop a human wearing a super weapon as a suit of armor.
One of the things I like about this story line is that we get to see quite a range of powers from different characters. And a wide range of emotion and thought – one thing Valiant is good at is depth to their story without becoming too wordy. I did not see the story ending (using that term loosely, it is how this tpb ends, but the stories are from an ongoing series) the way the did, and as my introduction to the new Valiant Universe I thought it did a great job of introducing characters and plots without over complicating or being derivative.
I don’t want to give anything away, and plenty has been said about Valiant going good work (by me and others), but there’s a reason this story was nominated for three Harvey Awards in 2013 (Best Single Issue or Story / Best Colorist / Special Award for Excellence in Presentation)!
Here is my favorite panel from the story, both at once a wonderful understatement of the situation, prime example of Aric’s personality, and fantastic piece of art: