Valiant is going for something completely different with its upcoming Rapture miniseries, a book that brings together some fan favorites on a mission that will take them to some familiar and unfamiliar places in the Valiant universe.
Rapture is written by Matt Kindt with art by Cafu, and ComicBook.com recently had the chance to talk to Kindt about the series, including the return of the popular Shadowman. Shadowman will play a big part in Rapture, and Kindt gave a quick 101 about what fans can expect to see from him.
"Shadowman has been a pretty dark character in the current Valiant Universe. The essential Shadowman lore is that he’s a guy plagued by this loa, a dark demon that possesses him for better or worse, and it’s plagued his family for generations. He wants to be rid of this thing, and eventually, he gets captured by MI-6 and used as a sort of reluctant agent for good. MI-6 is trying to rehabilitate him…turn him into a force for good…but he’s complicated. He has a lot of problems that MI-6 is having trouble fixing."
In addition to Shadowman, characters like Ninjak and Punk Mambo will also be part of this ragtag team. Kindt explained that a familiar face will have a hand in forming this odd alliance. "They all get drawn in by a character named Tama, who is the young 12-year-old Geomancer that we met in THE VALIANT" said Kindt. "She’s been adventuring in the Deadside, and she’s stumbled onto a plot by an ancient being to, simply put, find heaven – or at least the flipside to the “Deadside” that we’ve seen in the past. The idea being that if there’s a Deadiside…there must be a “Liveside.” So…not an altogether villainous plot, but the consequences of finding and breaching the “Liveside” could prove lethal to Earth as we know it. So, she heads back to Earth and calls in all her favors…tapping Ninjak, Shadowman, and Punk Mambo via MI-6."
Rapture has been described as a "Lord of the Rings" for the Valiant Universe. While that's not inaccurate, it isn't exactly in the way you think. "I think the Lord of the Rings comparison is as much about scope as it is theme and genre. I think a place and idea like the “Deadside” – which is a sort of creepy netherworld – can tend to be a little nebulous. But over the past couple years, we’ve been trying to really inhabit that locale and that idea. The fun for me is in making the Deadside seem like a real place populated with interesting characters and mythology. I think that’s what has always amazed me about Tolkien – it wasn’t the stories so much as the world-building and the amazing and massive mythology that he built around Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion specifically. The Deadside is an amazing world that we’ve barely scratched the surface of in the Valiant Universe, so we’re really going to dive deep with it in this series. There are whole factions of armies and cultures at war, and this ancient Geomancer is at the center of it all. But then, we have a wild card – a new character in the Valiant Universe that we haven’t seen before, called Rex the Razer. Rex is this old barbarian...well past his prime, and he has a very checkered and violent history that we’re going to see unfold...he’s done some bad, bad things in the past, and it’s all coming back to haunt him (and ruin Earth) all at the same time."
Hit the next slide for more on Tama, working with CAFU, new villains, and an exclusive preview of Rapture #1. Rapture #1 hits comic shelves on May 24th.
Tama, New Villains, And More.
Fans of The Valiant will recognize Tama, and she's become a personal favorite of Kindt. Tama first showed up in THE VALIANT, and came to earth with this crazy “Book of Death” that prophesizes all of these horrible events, and predicts the death of pretty much everyone. So she’s carrying this book around and trying to constantly put out these apocalyptic fires all over the place. She’s sort of the early-warning system for the Valiant Universe, who’s going to constantly try to rally the troops when they’re needed most. But she’s also a plucky kid that’s smart and ends up loving the adventure. She’s kind of a supernatural Nancy Drew. I love her so much – honestly, I think I could write one hundred issues worth of her stories."
Kindt is hoping that fans will really embrace Tama, who will be a bit part of Rapture, but there will be a few new characters in the mix. "Rapture is introducing a bunch of new characters, including Rex the Razer, and a villain named Babel. But we’re really fleshing out Tama as a character, and I think readers are going to fall in love with her. She deserves her own book, so I’m hoping that’s what comes out of this – that readers demand more Tama! But we’re also really showcasing Shadowman, who has been gone a long time – too long. The plan is to really re-introduce Shadowman and set him up in a way that will make him a more permanent fixture in the Valiant Universe and on comic shelves."
He's also excited to be working with artist CAFU, and can't wait for fans to see what he does with the Deadside. "His “set” design is just amazing. The Deadside is a crazy, topsy-turvy world – which is something you really need a great artist to make come alive. And he does it. If you saw his work he did on the RAI series last year, you know what he’s capable of. He really has an elegant way of setting the scene and making you feel like these places are real. The opening scene takes place in the Deadside, in the “Putrified Forest.” And honestly, you can smell how bad the place is...that’s how great the art is."
There are multiple highlights to a book like this, and Kindt can't pick just one favorite. "There’s a lot to choose from. That’s the beauty of being the writer – I can cherry pick all the things I want to write and jam them into one book! I had plucky kid-detective, super-violent barbarian, Ninjak, and Shadowman on my writing wishlist...and that’s the true story of how a tale like this gets written. Writer wish-fulfillment!"
Hit the next slide for ComicBook.com's exclusive preview of Rapture #1.