Lately, I've found myself drawn to a comic company on the rise, and on several ocassions I've contemplated dropping all the books I read from big ol' Marvel (you know, THOSE guys) and just pick up several more books from Valiant Entertainment. If you've never heard of them, then stop what you're doing, go on Amazon, be amazed at how such good stories can be so cheap, and buy several of them.
Because Valiant, to be perfectly blunt, has topped DC and Marvel this year. In terms of event comics, Valiant had clean, quick events with brief tie-ins that provided insightful intrigue on the future of the world. These stories also had consequences in noticeable ways. Heck, even last year's Armor Hunters was far better than the three Marvel events and DC's big stories.
So yeah, this little company has tons of potential. Oh, and they also have a sweet movie deal coming up for five movies, with guaranteed Harbinger and Bloodshot films to lead to Harbinger Wars, which is an epic, large-scale event for the Valiant universe that has major consequences down the road for all characters involved. What really matters?
It's smart. The casual reader can enjoy this story but there are a multitude of moving pieces that if one isn't paying attention, then they can't enjoy the story. in this way, the story does its best to engage the reader. This can easily translate to film as you have a unique premise and several moving pieces to keep the audience engaged while watching the film.
The only thing about these Valiant stories? They're hardly super hero films. Think super-hero film in the same way you think about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, easily the best Marvel Studios film. You've got a guy with super strength, a guy with machine wings, a guy with a metal arm, and super evil corporations. Kinda goofy, right? Hard for it not to be. But, it's the characters and the story and all of the mystery surrounding it that leads it to being such an incredible film.
The Valiant stories can be the same. Can we really trust the oft-crazy Bloodshot? What about this shady Toyo Harada guy? How might the Harbingers/ psiots handle their new powers, and what happens if they come to a divide?
Many people often compare the Harbinger books to the X-Men, and to a degree, I can understand. What's different, though, is the characters. Many of them are young, but are incredibly realistic. Take Faith, a Harbinger with flight capabilities. She is a super hero geek and can provide an incredible gateway for other nerds to relate to the story and her situations. She's tons of fun and actually opens up some doors to other Valiant stories.
I know many people are sort of sick of the super-heroes, but not really, yet I think Valiant will come around at the exact right time. The Avengers and Justice League films will be on such a large scale that a casual viewer, who perhaps doesn't really follow the lore, may be confused. In slides Valiant, where the stories are on a large scale but also are located solely on Earth, maybe within just a large area, even, depending on the type of story they are looking to create.
What I really want to see from Valiant is a Unity film. I often think about how you build that up, but, with Bloodshot probably getting a couple films, and Livewire possibly being around in the Harbinger films (I don't recall her being too involved in "Wars"), there's some lead-in already. But you could go the Thor route where you have a couple connected movies, but introducing The Eternal Warrior, Gilad, first into the larger world may help, as he pretty much meets everyone.
The The Eternal Warrior film can show Gilad battling through history to protect various Geomancers, even introducing Kate as a future Geomancer. He, of course, battles characters related to the Immortal Enemy, until we end the film where Neville Alcott is in Romania, looking up. We follow his view as he speaks into his phone, saying, "Call in Gilad. We're going to need him." The camera pauses on the silhouette of X-O Manowar descending with green energy radiating from his hands. "Someone wants to speak with him."
Boom. X-O Manowar film recounts the events of Aric of Dacia, showing his warrior-ways as a Visigoth before his whole tribe is abducted by the Vine, when he stumbles upon the Armor and begins to take his people back slowly. After an incredible space-battle against the Vine, where he learns where the rest of his people are, Aric returns to Earth and Earth begins to try and deal with him. Other men, who secretly serve the Vine, then decide they have no other choice, and the film ends as they peer into a file simply labelled, "NINJAK."
From there, the doors are wide open. With Gilad introduced, there is a possibility for Valiant to do a comedy with Archer and Armstrong, since Gilad is related, and once worked with, the duo. Perhaps some more Harbinger stuff, maybe a solo Ninjak film (I'm mostly just saying this as Ninjak is my favorite Valiant character), but more likely an X-O Manowar film where Ninjak aids Aric reluctantly, forming their slight friendship until Gilad tries to kick out Aric, and then...
Unity versus Aric of Dacia.
While this does sound like the Marvel ways of building up, there is far more possibility of crossover. Once Gilad is introduced, he can bounce around to every film. Alcott and Harada can do the same. Valiant's full plans have yet to be revealed, too, and I feel they can go far. Since there aren't too many characters to pull from for a well-connected story, it'd be easy for a new viewer to be interested. Not to mention many of the stories they will pull from have really only been around for two or three years at this point, so new readers can be interested. I have total faith in Valiant, and I do think they can help the super-hero genre back to the glory it saw during The Avengers/ Iron Man 3 (still not a good movie) days.