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WonderCon 2019: Now is the Best Time to Jump into the Valiant Universe

Valiant reinforces their commitment to new readers with a massive slate of new titles perfect for fresh eyes.

Valiant Comics is coming off a monumental year, landing three titles- Livewire, Bloodshoot, and Shadowman– in the top five best-selling single issues for non-premiere publishers in 2018. There’s no slowing down for the 30 year-old New York based publisher, who showed off a ton of their upcoming titles at WonderCon- including a handful of never-before-seen panels.

The panel, moderated by Valiant Social Media Manager Emily Hecht with paenlists Joshua Dysart (Life and Death of Toyo Harada), Vita Ayala (Livewire), Lysa Hawkins (editor, Bloodshot and Punk Mambo) and Director of Marketing Mel Caylo, showed WonderCon attendees the massive slate of Valiant Comics hitting shelves in 2019 and even hinted at plans for universe wide shake-ups in 2020. While explosive action certainly abounds, one thing was made abundantly clear about Valiant Comics in 2019 and beyond- they’d focus on the moral and ethical ambiguity of all their character’s actions.

From left: Emily Hecht, Vita Ayala, Joshua Dysart, Lysa Hawkins, and Mel Caylo.

Take a look below for all the latest details on each series, as well as a bevy of brand new images of interior panels.

Bloodshot

The future is very, very bright for Valiant’s nanite infused super-soldier. With Bloodshot: Rising Spirit wrapping up, a special Free Comic Book Day issue slated for release, a new solo series on the way, and a feature film releasing in 2020, Bloodshot is poised to rocket to comic book super-stardom in the next year.

Valiant’s Bloodshot FCBD Special will feature an exclusive new story specifically for Free Comic Book Day written by Dan Abnett. This free issue will also include a short story by new Bloodshot writer Tim Seeley that will lead directly into the upcoming relaunch of Bloodshot this fall.

Releasing just a few months before Vin Diesel’s live-action portrayal of the character hits theaters in February 2020, Bloodshot #1 from Tim Seeley is intended to be a companion piece to the upcoming film, completely designed for new readers of the titular super-soldier. According to Emily Hecht, Seeley said he “wanted to make a 90’s comic, but only the good parts” with Bloodshot.

Seeley’s Bloodshoot will see the character in a new light, especially given the incredibly rough go he’s had of late. According to editor Lysa Hawkins, Seeley’s take allows Bloodshot to be a true hero, giving him a few much needed wins while injecting some serious humor into the character.

Bloodshot FCBD Special will be available for exactly $0 on May 4 from writers Dan Abnett and Tim Seeley with art from Tomás Giorello and Juan José Ryp. Bloodshot #1 will hit stands in September 2019 by way of writer Dan Abnett and artist Brett Booth.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada

Written by Joshua Dysart and drawn by Spanish artist Cafu, this six-part mini-series examines the inner workings of longtime Valiant baddie turned quasi-good guy Toyo Harada as he attempts to rid the world of all conflict- through any means necessary.

“Imagine if Superman stopped fighting aliens and instead decided to end world hunger,” said writer Josh Dysart. Though this series is intended to be new reader friendly, Dysart went on to explain it is the conclusion of everything he has been building within the Valiant Universe since 2011.

Dysart continued, saying the whole point of this story is to examine the drastic actions Toyo takes in his attempt to control global resources in order to end world conflict- and he’s failing. Getting more desperate, he continues to surround himself with more and more ethically questionable people, causing him to grapple with his own morality even more. The story features a dual storyline that not only showcases Toyo’s present, but takes a look at his past to show readers just how he became the man he is.

On top of a gripping, globe trotting story centering around a bad man trying to do good, The Life and Death of Toyo Harada boasts incredible art from Cafu. “I actually think this is Cafu’s best work of his career,” said Dysart. “I got to chill with him in Spain and see his process and he’s just so laborious over it all.”

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 is out now, followed by #2 on April 10 and #3 on May 15.

Livewire

Livewire has been a runaway success for Valiant since it launched in December last year. Described by writer Vita Ayala as “a slightly less evil Siri,” Livewire, aka Amanda McKee, is still facing the personal and public fallout after destroying the United States’ power grid during The Harbinger Wars 2.

Though this series will continue to deal with the events of The Harbinger Wars 2, Ayala assured readers that Livewire is a completely accessible series for new readers- whether you jump in at #1 or at #5. Ayala is no stranger to the character either, telling attendees that she requested to read every single appearance of Livewire before taking the reins of the new series.

“I couldn’t in good faith present her as a hero without dealing with [events of Harbinger Walls 2]. ” said Ayala. “To me, she is one of the most powerful people in this universe, but also the most caring and empathetic. And it’s fun because I can play with so many realms aside from the physical.”

Livewire #1-#4 are available now with the trade collection hitting stores April 24. Livewire #5 is available April 10.

Fallen World

Out May 1, Fallen World is a brand new limited series from writer Dan Abnett and artist Adam Pollina that follows Valiant mainstays Rai and Bloodshot as they navigate a post-apocalyptic dystopian world.

Though this new series will boast plenty of recognizable characters and exist within the Valiant Universe, it was created specifically with new readers in mind as a part of Valiant’s “Breakthrough” slate of new Comics.

The unlettered dialogue bubbles around Bloodshot are cries for help around the world that he experiences through his heightened connection to technology- it’s slightly overwhelming

As shown by the never-before-seen panels above and below, Fallen World promises to be an absolutely insane story featuring moral complexity on an epic scale, giant robots, and even dinosaurs.

Fallen World #1 debuts from writer Dan Abnett and artist Adam Pollina on May 1.

Psi-Lords

Described by Emily Hecht as “whacky, galactic Jack Kirby Eternals stuff but with existential comic horror,” Psi-Lords will hit stands in June 2019 from writer Fred Van Lente and artist Renato Guedes.

“It’s fun and bright, but also everyone is going to die,” said Hecht. “There’s a real sense of dread under all the fun.”

The story centers around four earthlings who suddenly awaken with strange, new powers in a cosmic prison with no idea how they got there or why they’re imprisoned. The first arc is described as “escape from Space Alcatraz” with all new characters. Though this series is set lightyears away from anything currently happening in the Valiant Universe, Mel Caylo did hint that it will lead into a new Valiant event in 2020.

Killers

Spinning out of Christos Gage’s recently concluded Ninja-K series, Killers will take a deep dive into the shrouded history of MI-6’s Ninja program, the same program revealed in Ninja-K.

Described my Mel Caylo as a “very, very brutal book” with heavy spy thriller vibes, Killers will follow the stories of each Ninja for every decade- Ninjas A-J. As an added bonus, it was revealed that Killers will lead directly into a new Ninja-K stand alone series in 2020.

Killers #1 hits stands this July by way of writer B. Clay Moore and artist Fernando Dagnino.

Valiant Comic’s WonderCon presentation put the publisher’s commitment to new-reader-friendly books on full display, and it appears they’re backing up their talk with books that are equally accessible to new readers and die-hard fans alike. “Now is the Perfect Time to Read Valiant!” was not just the name of this panel- it’s a definitive summation of Valiant’s slate of releases and a call for new readers that should not be ignored.

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