Unity #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
After years of imprisonment by the alien race known as the Vine, Aric of Dacia, a Visigoth warrior, led a rebellion that resulted in his acquisition of the X-O Manowar armour and the subsequent time travel bringing him to present day Romania. Declaring this modern land his new kingdom he has incited quite a fervent war effort that could potentially explode into a global conflict. Commissioned to remove this king from his self imposed throne, a team is assembled under the banner of Unity. The resulting battle will eventually bring together some of the most powerful heroes the Valiant universe have at their disposal and establish a flagship group that welds the continuity of an entire line of comics into a streamlined and connected world.
Originally published as an eighteen issue crossover event over twenty years ago, Unity was an event that bled into the pages of Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, Rai, X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, Shadowman and others. Now, updated as Valiant’s new team book, Unity throws characters such as Ninjak, The Eternal Warrior, the psionic Toyo Harada and Livewire together to try and defeat the threat of X-O Manowar. Presented in thirty pages of intense action and intrigue, establishing environment and multiple characters, Unity is a good jumping on point for the Valiant universe and an exciting story that pits heroes at odds in a new way.
Matt Kindt has been incredibly busy over the past few years. Writing and drawing his first ongoing series with Mind MGMT, scripting titles over at DC such as Suicide Squad, Justice League of America and multiple of the Villains Month issues, contributing to the Marvel Knights line with his and Marco Rudy’s Spider-man mini series, Kindt’s resume is rapidly expanding. Now with Valiant’s first big event, team book since their reboot a few years ago, he is given the opportunity to help build the publisher’s continuity from the ground up and does a good job making the title easy for readers to introduce themselves to the world without having been exposed to any of the other titles. Establishing context with the inside cover explaining Aric’s involvement and the Manowar armour’s volatile existence on Earth, the first issue of Unity is a story already in progress and the audience is smoothly thrown into the action with confident understanding of the parameters and setting. Kindt’s work is amongst the best in modern comics today and it is great to see him tackle such a diverse array of voices across platforms so adeptly. His superhero work is one that I never would have expected from the creator of Revolver or Super Spy but his involvement with the genre has been a success thus far.
Unity number one has substantial content for its 3.99 price point and a dramatic, violent and suspenseful thread that is slowly bringing together a team to take up arms against a dangerous and frightening alien threat. Propagated by familiar tones (a group of independent heroes having to learn to work together), Unity is delivered in unfamiliar ways and with relatively unfamiliar characters which make for a unique architecture that most comic’s fans haven’t been able to experience before.
On pencils, Doug Braithwaite is a powerhouse that fits well into this darker world with morally ambiguous heroes that essentially launch a whole new universe outside of the long running Marvel or DC camps. Building on established character designs and giving them a sense of his own, Ninjak, X-O Manowar and the like, are drawn with an adult realism and gritty tone that shapes a very aggressive and exciting event comic.
A dense, tightly scripted, swift pace and well delivered character design make the first in the ongoing team book, uniting all of Valiant’s biggest players, a good opportunity to jump onto an exciting continuity in its infancy.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com