The battle against the Immortal Enemy requires all hands on deck as Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt do an in-depth character exploration of Kay McHenry and Bloodshot. Is it good?
The Valiant #3 (Valiant Comics)
Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt begin with a little bit of exposition explaining the magic box, while introducing a bit of mystery as to how the whereabouts of the box were actually discovered, while reinforcing the all-encompassing threat of the Immortal Enemy. In case you didn’t realize how scary he is, Paolo Rivera reminds you with a bone-chilling image of his raw nature. Contrasting the raw nature and fear created by this image, the next image you see depicts courage, teamwork, and recognition of the threat in what I can only describe as the entire Valiant universe of superheroes including a goat with laser vision and a fleet of high-tech warplanes mobilizing to combat their new foe.
Rivera uses a number of different camera angles to depict the action sequences, whether it is a close up of a hero’s torso ready to launch a Molotov cocktail or an over-the-shoulder angle of Gilad swinging his axe. He provides a good mix showing enough angles of the action for the reader to get an almost 360 degree view. His full page panels really draw the emotion to create semi-climaxes, but he is also able to offer lighter touches especially in regards to the panels involving Kay and her facial reactions as she bites into some beef jerky or is faced with blunt criticism. They are reactions you can relate to or have already experienced: satisfaction, curiosity, introspection and just a touch of sass. He truly breathes life into the dialogue Kindt and Lemire have created.
The dialogue between Bloodshot and Kay is great; it begins in shock and trying to make sense of her encounter with the Immortal Enemy. However, it adds touches of humor to lighten the mood and even some very dry, blunt humor coming from Bloodshot (despite him professing he doesn’t tell jokes). This type of humor is especially enjoyable since many times people can be taken aback when confronted with it, but it works very nicely in the written word. What really drives the dialogue between Bloodshot and Kay are the many questions and their respective answers. Kay acts for the reader trying to figure out more about Bloodshot and who he really is.
However, not all of the dialogue is as good as that between Kay and Bloodshot. The opening dialogue between Gilad and the Immortal Enemy is a little dissatisfying since Kindt and Lemire introduced us to the Immortal Enemy and Gilad’s conflict through a number of battles including ones where Gilad had recruited allies to defend the Geomancer against the Immortal Enemy, which negates the dialogue between the two. There are also some odd placements of question marks in the middle of the sentences which don’t really fit the flow of the conversation.
Finally to finish out the book, Jeff Lemire leaves us with some of Paolo’s work from rough sketch to finished product and provides some commentary explaining the panels and giving more insight into the creation of the book. It adds more value and goes the extra step of giving an inside look into the hard work and cooperation it takes to produce a comic book.
Is It Good?
Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera produce another solid entry with The Valiant #3. Paolo Rivera’s artwork is really brilliant from creating natural human expressions to creepshow horrorfests in the form of the Immortal Enemy. Kindt and Lemire do a wonderful job with the dialogue between Kay and Bloodshot, really giving an in-depth look into both of their characters. The exposition to open the book takes a couple of panels to really grab you but the mystery of the memo and box sinks the hook in although the placement of some of the question marks leaves a little to be desired.