With the press release of both further pages of Shadowman #5, as well as the cover promo to Harbinger Wars #3, Valiant tips its hand. Not only are they in the business to make great comics, they know how to keep its existing fans happy, without ostracizing new readers. The re-boot of the Valiant universe (or any comic company’s reboot) is a double-edged sword. Presenting an old idea with a fresh new take is a burden unto itself, but what do you do next? How do you keep it from going stale after the honeymoon is over?
Valiant found the answer by hitting us geeks where it hurts…. nostalgia. If you were a Valiant fan during its first iteration and you’re still collecting comics, you know you cry a little bit when you come across Magnus #25s and Turok # 1s in a dollar bin and wince whenever you see the word Acclaim in the corner of a book featuring X-O Manowar or the Eternal Warrior(s).
The original Valiant run was 24 years ago (yep, check your hair…there’s probably as many grays as there are issues of Deathmate in your LCS’s basement) and a lot of its fans were die-hard. Pulling popular characters from its hearty stable and freshening them up for the new era is a sure way to drag those guys back if they ever even left. Naturally fitting them into the current era’s story keeps the flow fast and exciting for Johnny-come-latelies, who might not know who these guys are but recognize the coolness inherent in each one.
With all the focus on Master Darque and Jack Boniface’s assuming the Shadowman mantle, no one expected the return of Doctor Mirage in Shadowman #5. At least not this early in the game. The original Doctor Mirage and his wife, Carmen, were the stars of The Second Life of Doctor Mirage, an ongoing series spun-off from Shadowman back in 1993. The husband and wife team of paranormal investigators, battled Master Darque on and off again while dealing with personal problems. He was composed of necromantic energy (okay, he was a ghost) and was anchored to this realm by his wife’s love. Unable to interact physically in any way with her, among other issues with his powers, put a heavy strain on their relationship in more ways than just the obvious (perv!).
With wordless pages and little interaction it’s hard to tell if this current version follows the exact same format. First off, the good Doctor is female this time around and we don’t know if her husband is involved at all, or if they’re doing the ol-switcheroo and she’ll be the ghost and he’ll be the human this time. And honestly I don’t care! She looks amazing:
H.A.R.D. Corps was a spin-off title from Harbinger in the 90’s run. A group of comatose baseline humans were given implants, that not only revived them, but gave them the ability to “download” a long list of replicated Harbinger powers one power at a time, even switching powers during the course of a battle through the manipulations of Softcore, their home base operator, who kept track of the team’s vitals and advised them on tactics. With just cover art and a name, there’s not much to expound on here, but I assume it’s going to kick ass!
With Ninjak over in X-0 Manowar breaking the cherry in introducing second tier characters, Valiant plays at the heartstrings and stirs up long forgotten memories, Armorines and Psi-Lords flash through my head, while visions of Timewalker stalk the periphery of my mindscape. Thank you Valiant. Now bring back Rai already!
Shadowman #5 is on sale now! Wednesday March 6th!
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN & PATRICK ZIRCHER
Art by PATRICK ZIRCHER, LEE GARBETT, & ROBERTO DE LA TORRE
Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER (JAN131302)
“Blackout” Pullbox Exclusive Variant by PATRICK ZIRCHER (JAN131303)
Variant Cover by DAVE JOHNSON (JAN131304)
Linewide Variant by RAFAEL GRAMPA (JAN131305)