In honor of Valiant’s 25th Anniversary, we’re counting down your picks for the twenty-five greatest Valiant Comics stories.
You all voted, now here are the results!
NOTE: Sorry for the delay in the results. The blog was going under some maintenance last night, so I wasn’t able to post it when I wanted to late last night, so I’m starting with ten today instead of five yesterday and five today.
25. “Time and Space” (Eternal Warrior Vol.1 #6-7)
This two-parter by Barry Windsor-Smith introduced the menacing Master Darque in a tale where Darque kidnaps the previous Geomancer (Geomancers are essentially guardians of the Earth – they pass the role down over the years), Buck McHenry, and tortures him for information. So Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, must essentially make sure that his old friend, Buck, can’t give out any more information. Meanwhile, Darque makes his move on the now-unprotected Geoff McHenry, the newest Geomancer.
We all know how great Barry Windsor-Smith can be when it comes to storytelling, but he really outdoes himself in this story, as he wrings every last piece of tension out of the conceit. What a great introduction for Master Darque.
24. “Twilight of the Eighth Day” (Harbinger Vol.1 #23-25)
In this game-changing tragic storyline, Peter Stanchek discovers that Toyo Harada has been toying with his life for years now and, well, he has finally had enough. This leads to a final confrontation between the two adversaries, two of the most powerful beings on the planet. Maurice Fontenot, Howard Simpson and Gonzalo Mayo delivered the tale, which is most famous for the wide-screen battle between Peter and Harada that leads to Harbinger being changed forever. This was one of the bolder “everything you think you know is wrong” stories of the era…
23. “Retribution” (X-O Manowar Vol.1 #1-4)
The concept behind X-O Manowar is really still such a fresh concept. A warrior taken out of his time and held captive until he escapes with a futuristic suit of armor and then finding himself in our time, forced to adapt to a world so unlike his own? That’s such a solid concept. This opening arc is also an example of when “creation by committee” actually works out, as there are multiple writers, pencilers and inkers for just the first four issues of X-O Manowar. Steve Englehart has the basic idea and then first Jim Shooter and then Bob Layton distill Englehart’s idea, with pencils by Barry Windsor-Smith, Sal Velluto and Mike Manley (and a ton of inkers).
One of the coolest aspects of the warrior Aric, as we get to know him in this opening story, is that he is formidable withOUT the armor. He is kicking alien ass withOUT the armor, as it is being held by a corporation that is directly tied into this spider alien conspiracy. However, when the armor shows up, the whole field of battle is turned up on its ear…
This opening story arc also introduces Ken, the slimy, manipulative but ultimately a good guy. What makes Ken so cool is that he just rolls with the punches, while still willing to make a stand when it matters most. He’s the type of guy who finds out that the corporation that he has risen to the top of is being controlled by spider aliens and he says, “Okay, I guess I will work with spider aliens.” He’s a guy who loses his hand to a laser blast and is cool with it (this really impresses Aric). But he is also a guy who is sent to lead Aric into a trap and he can’t do it – he can’t let Aric be killed, and instead, the two team-up and they end up taking over the corporation for themselves. Plus, for a 1992 comic book, it is noteworthy that Ken is gay without it being played up like it is a big deal. It’s just who he is.
Read on to the next page for #22-19!
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