Today marks the first issue of The Valiant, Valiant Entertainment's ambitious, four-issue miniseries that spans centuries and sets up new stats quos for Bloodshot, The Eternal Warrior, the Geomancer and more.
Featuring art from Eisner winner Paolo Rivera, the series is arguably the most anticipated new project since the publisher relaunched with a slate of top-tier talent back in 2012.
Series writers Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt sat down with ComicBook.com at Comic Con International: San Diego this summer to talk about the project, which debuts today.
What was it that brought you to this project, Jeff? Was it just wanting to work with Matt?
Lemire: Absolutely, yeah. Obviously I've been following the Valiant stuff for a few years. Matt [Kindt] and Josh Dysart and Rob Venditti are all good friends of mine and people whose work I follow and admire. I'd been reading the stuff and they all had nothing but good things to say about working with Warren [Simons] and Dinesh [Shamdasani] and the whole Valiant outfit.
And on top of that, Matt and I just always wanted to try to work on something together if we can. So that became "Why don't we try and do something for Valiant?" I think originally it was going to be something small, like a one-shot story that we would write and draw together or something, and then it became a bigger thing, where you say, "If we're going to do something together, let's make it some big story that matters to the universe," and being my first thing, where I would get to play around with different characters.
So yeah, it grew out of our friendship and...and now we're no longer friends. It was a big mistake.
Kindt: But we have this beautiful comic that came out of the ashes of our friendship.
Lemire: It's like a Phoenix, rising from our tears.
I'm excited to see Geomancer back in action after she was introduced in Fred Van Lente's Archer & Armstrong...
Kindt: Yeah, she's the best. Other than Ninjak, she's the best.
...Where is she when you start off? It's been a while since we saw her.
Lemire: She's kind of a mess, really. She's really uncomfortable with this role of the Geomancer that she's been cast in and she's uncomfortable with her life, you know? She was this spokeswoman for Zorn Industries, very much the opposite of what she should be doing with her life, being the Geomancer, is being the spokesperson for this massive corporation that's destroying the environment. So she's a mess personally and professionally and it really starts with her trying to find herself and find out if she can do this. It starts out with her and Archer...or is it Armstrong?
Kindt: Yeah, there's a great scene with Armstrong giving her advice, which is kind of a hilarious idea.
Lemire: And then from there, she tries to be a little more proactive and tries to own being the Geomancer. It doesn't go well, and that's sort of the starting point.
Kindt: She's trying to figure out what she wants to be. She has these abilities, but what do you do with that?
Lemire: She finally stops overthinking it and tries to do it, and it doesn't work.
Other than the present-day Geomancer, are you having fun with some of the history?
Lemire: Oh, yeah. We see more than one Geomancer, that's for sure, and we see Gilad throughout history. He was a great entry point to that mythology that spans so many different Geomancers and stuff. We had fun seeing the scope and the history of the Valiant Universe through his eyes and Armstrong was a blast to write.
Kindt: We start at the beginning.
At the very beginning, and show Gilad and the first Geomancer and then you get to see how he gets his scars.
Has the current status quo for the Eternal Warrior helped really set that up? His series with Greg Pak jumped around time and stuff, too.
Is there one stand-out character in this series, where you want to write more of them?
Lemire: I think we each have our own. Matt's big on Ninjak and I'm big on Bloodshot so those are kind of like our guys. But Kay, I really love right now.
Kindt: Kay is really fun right now. If we fight over anything, it's who gets to write the Kay scenes.
With Kay, she's a bit more of a blank slate than most of the rest. Is it great to have that as an entry point to the series?
Lemire: Very much so.
Kindt: I think she's the most grounded character in the book, because everybody else already knows who they are and what they're doing, or they're kind of established. With her, she's fresh and she doesn't really know what she's doing, so the reader is going to follow along with her while she tries to figure everything out.
Here, you're drawing characters away from every kind of "family" in the Valiant Universe. Is that harder than it is in Unity where you mostly have control over the individual characters?
Lemire: It's a lot easier for me, coming from DC where you've got 52 books. To do something like when I did Trinity War or Futures End and you have to touch on everything, you work with like 50 different writers and 50 different editors, whereas with this, it's like there's nine monthly books, there's a handful of writers most of which are good friends with mine. It's much easier, much more organic.
We can do things that make sense for story versus things that are dictated to us through editors, you know? "Put this character in there." It's easier.