Valiant Entertainment is entering its third summer as a publishing company and things are heating up. They just celebrated their first 25th issue milestone with their space armored Visigoth, X-O Manowar, teaming up with New York’s Oren’s Coffee and Midtown Comics to celebrate with green tea frozen drinks and free comics galore. Their answer to X-Men, the super-powered Renegades, who star in Harbinger, will hit 25 next month.
Valiant announced their Valiant First initiative earlier this year. They limit their release schedule to nine titles a month, rotating out their already vast cast and focusing on the quality, not the quantity of titles. Currently, the Valiant Universe is dealing with Armor Hunters, tying into Harbinger, XO, and the nano-infused super soldier, Bloodshot with a series of miniseries. In September, they will launch their first female staring miniseries, The Deaf-Defying Dr. Mirage. Dr. Mirage, a.k.a. Shan Fong, channels spirits and is looking for her dead husband in the realms of the underworld. The 5 issue series is written by Jen Van Meter (Eisner-nominated Hopeless Savages, Red Sonja) with art by Roberto De La Torre (Ms. Marvel, Shadowman, Iron Man). Issue one comes out September 3rd.
Valiant is no stranger to strong female characters. X-O’s wife, Deidre is a warrior herself. Livewire, currently kicking ass in the team-up book Unity, split from her former employer, Harada, and now hangs out with ninjas, immortal (Eternal) Warriors, and X-O himself, saving humanity and stuff. Mary-Maria gained enough popularity over in Archer and Armstrong to get her own one shot in September’s issue 24, written by the one and only Karl Bollers (Watson and Homes, Emma Frost, Sonic the Hedgehog)!
But, it’s Harbinger where the females (out)shine their male counterparts. The super powered, teenage Renegades are a group led by the telekinetic/telepathic psiot, Peter. He kidnapped a girl he liked, the mere mortal, Kris, but she quickly proved her own, shooting down the romance quickly after she gained control of her brain (Volume 1 will entice you, trust me). Faith is a plus sized, fun loving girl with the power of flight who is dating Torque, a Georgia boy with the gift of super strength. Rounding out the team is the fiery Flamingo. Spoilers to follow…but bear with me: here come the feels.
Flamingo and Kris share a kiss at a concert in issue 15 (collected in Volume 4: Perfect Day). The kiss was met with little news coverage and after that one panel: life went on for the characters. The next arc was called Death of a Renegade and…SPOILER…Flamingo dies. In issue 24, Kris is left with her guilt and explodes at Torque and Faith, confessing her love for her deceased teammate. In true Harbinger fashion, life quickly moves forward. We will see what happens with Kris in Harbinger 25, out next month, and the two miniseries running after that throughout the summer.
Before the issue dropped this week, I spoke with Valiant CEO, Dinesh Shamdasani about status of LGBT in the Valiant U. His promise: "There are plenty of LGBT characters in the Valiant Universe, we just haven't told their story yet." As the universe rapidly expands, we can expect the same progressive progression of their past two years.