Valiant writers Fred Van Lente, Joshua Dysart and Justin Jordan, along with Executive Editor Warren Simons, Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani and Marketing & Communications Manager Hunter Gorinson, gathered at New York Comic Con Friday afternoon in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fans to share preview art, tease future stores, and decline to answer questions about Gold Key characters.
The group discussed upcoming events in Valiant's immediate future, starting with the first issue of "Shadowman," which will be released in early November. The series follows Jack Boniface, the current Shadowman who is new to his role and hasn't fully discovered the extent of his powers or responsibilities. Past Shadowmen will appear in the book (beginning on page one of the first issue), but the story will be about Jack. He'll have to come to grips with the fact that there are monsters in the world even as he has to learns how to fight them. As time goes on, Boniface will venture into areas of the Valiant Universe that we haven't seen before. The book is co-written by Justin Jordan and artist Patrick Zircher.
"Archer and Armstrong" #5 begins a new story arc featuring Armstrong's brother, the Eternal Warrior. He'll be hunting Archer, and since the single most important fact about Eternal Warrior is that he gets things done, "The book might be just called 'Armstrong' soon," series writer Van Lente joked. The previous version of Eternal Warrior was a combination of James Bond and Highlander, but the current version is "a little more Jason Bourne." Issue #6 will introduce a new Geomancer while The Null, a faction of the Sect, will play a prominent role in upcoming storylines. While the Sect has been treated as a joke in the past, Van Lente says the new version is rather dangerous.
"Bloodshot" #5 kicks off a short arc re-introducing the Chainsaw team: Cleaner, Recon, Point and Gunner. "It's not subtle," said editor Simons. While it's fashionable to tell decompressed stories, "Bloodshot" takes the opposite approach and offers hyper-compressed arcs. "If Bloodshot doesn't die at least six times an issue, we aren't doing our job," said Simon.
"Bloodshot" #7 will begin the next story arc, "Harbinger Hunter." At one point in his history, Bloodshot was part of that response. The arc will explore that aspect of his past and send him on a new mission.
"X-O Manowar" enters "Planet Death" with issue #9. X-O is a Visigoth, a race who were oppressed by the ancient Romans, but ended up invading Rome, taking the fight to the Romans. X-O continues this tradition by taking the fight to the Vine home world. This story, featuring art by Trevor Hairsine, will also feature the Commando Armor.
Writer Joshua Dysart announced a Zero issue for "Harbinger, which delves into the origins of original Harbinger, Toyo Harada. It's the story of a small boy awakening to his powers in postwar Japan. Mico Suayan provides the artfor the story which exploresi the roots of how Harada came to decide that what he needs to do is control the financial power of the world.
In the ongoing "Harbinger" title, the Renegades storyline will explore the personalities of the original Harbinger lineup. "If 'X-O Manowar' is the big action book, and 'Archer and Armstrong' is the Monty Python of the Valiant Universe, this is our high-end character-based drama," Dysart said. "We also blow up tanks." Other characters, including Torque, will be joining Harbinger. "He'll live longer than he did in the original Valiant Universe!" Dysart promised.
Quantum and Woody, Valiant's original cult favorite title, is slated to return through comiXology. Issue #0 will be released as a free download in late October. Without promising anything, the panel teased the notion of future Quantum and Woody appearances.
The question and answer session was brief, because Simons and Shamdasani were wary of spoiling future stories or getting themselves into legal hot water. Several characters from the original valiant Universe were licensed from Gold Key and despite repeated questions from fans, they declined to discuss the legal situation or the future of those characters.
When asked about the rumored Harbinger movie, Shamdasani reminded the crowd that these things take time. He did note, however, that Valiant would soon be making an announcement that they were very excited about. Since then, they've announced that J. Michael Straczynski will be writing an upcoming Shadowman movie.