Posted by Tom Bacon @TomBacon
I'm a British guy who has a particular love of superhero movies - and I'm having a great time writing for Movie Pilot! Feel free to foll...
Tom Bacon

The comic book industry is dominated — perhaps to an unhealthy degree — by two companies, Marvel and DC. Together, they routinely account for over 70% of monthly comic book sales, with smaller companies vying for the other 30%. Although these companies are smaller, they regularly produce some of the best comics out there, perhaps in part because they can't simply rely on the fact they're a household brand.

One of these comic book companies is Valiant, founded in 1989 by some key figures in the comics industry (including former Marvel writers and editors). Valiant was relaunched in 2005's "Summer of Valiant," and the company has been producing top-quality comics ever since. Last year's meticulously-crafted Book of Death miniseries was easily the most enjoyable event comic of the year, outshining even competition from Marvel and DC, while this year's comics have been as enjoyable as ever.

The excellent 'Book of Death'! Image: Valiant Comics
The excellent 'Book of Death'! Image: Valiant Comics

Although some critics complain about superhero fatigue, the fact remains that superhero films and TV shows are performing very well indeed. Although the majority of these involve powerful and well-recognized brands like from Spider-Man to Batman, the industry is crying out for new characters and opportunities. Withaliant, with strong characters and top-quality comics, Valiant is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this. The future of Valiant is not just in comics - it's in film, TV, and possibly even (randomly enough) YouTube...

Could Valiant be a TV / Film Success?

In July last year, Valiant announced that they were working with Sony to build their own superhero cinematic universe, but we've not heard anything about the project since then. The plan was to release two solo movies in 2017 (Bloodshot and Harbinger), followed by a Harbinger Wars movie that tied the two properties together, based on 2013's "Harbinger Wars" event.

Although there's been no news about these films since last year, a recent tweet from Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani hinted at not three but four films being in the works. When I queried, Dinesh responded:

It seems that discussions are still going on behind-the-scenes between Sony and Valiant, and that the Valiant cinematic universe may be growing beyond anything we expected...

What About Ninjak?

Ninjak prepares! Image: Valiant Comics
Ninjak prepares! Image: Valiant Comics

One of Valiant's most popular superheroes, Ninjak was created in 1993; the first issue of his ongoing series sold nearly a million copies. An aristocratic British warrior, Ninjak is a master spy who uses his skills for the betterment of humanity. Although he lacks super-powers, he's tremendously intelligent, and has demonstrated tremendous skills as a computer hacker.

Fans reacted with curiosity when Michael Rowe - best known for playing Deadshot in Arrow - tweeted this:

The tags gave a strong hint; Rowe is taking on the role of Ninjak in a web series that will put the character against a range of Valiant superheroes! It's being made by Bat in the Sun, who produce tremendous YouTube videos known as "Super Power Beat Downs". Check out this classic example of a Bat in the Sun video:

If the series has the same quality as Bat in the Sun's usual offerings, then it should be an absolute hit!

But What About this Fourth Film?

The powerful warrior X-O Manowar! Image: Valiant Comics
The powerful warrior X-O Manowar! Image: Valiant Comics

The real cause for excitement is not Rowe's tweet, but rather the hint that Valiant is working on a fourth film. It suggests that the Valiant cinematic universe is still in the works, and is actually being extended. Assuming that the Valiant films follow the same pattern as the comics - which, unusually enough for a cinematic universe, seems to be a safe assumption for Valiant - we'll leave Harbinger Wars on the road to "Unity". The Unity Squad is Valiant's premiere superhero team, but in order to see them assemble on-screen, the franchise would need to introduce some other characters.

The most prominent of these characters is known as X-O Manowar. Created in 1992, X-O Manowar is one of Valiant's most successful characters. He's an ancient warrior who was brought up under the harsh rule of the Roman Empire, and was taken as a slave by the space-faring race known as the Vine. He stole Shanhara, the powerful exo-skeletal X-O Manowar armor, and bonded with it becoming one of the most powerful warriors in Valiant. Forced to flee the Vine's retribution, he returned to Earth, only to learn that - due to time dilation - 1,600 years had passed, and he was now stranded in the 21st century.

It's a certainty that X-O Manowar has to become a part of the Valiant cinematic universe sooner or later, so I'm strongly suspecting that this is the fourth film in the works!

X-O Manowar makes his stand! Image: Valiant Comics
X-O Manowar makes his stand! Image: Valiant Comics

Valiant may not be one of the biggest comic book companies out there, but in my view they are one of the best. I'm excited to see more of Rowe's Ninjak web series, and the conversation on Twitter has left me very excited indeed about these "unannounced goodies". It seems likely we can expect more news at New York Comic Con in October. I for one will be eagerly awaiting that news!

See also:

As you can see, Marvel and DC aren't the only game in town; comic books have a lot more to offer the film and TV industries than just those two brands. Although there's been a long silence, I remain hopeful; for Valiant, I trust that the future's bright.

Do you want to see Valiant films and TV shows? Let me know in the comments!

Ninjak in action! Image: Valiant Comics
Ninjak in action! Image: Valiant Comics

Source: Heroic Hollywood