In attendance were creators Josh Dysart (Harbinger), Fred Van Lente (Archer & Armstrong) and Justin Jordan (the forthcoming Shadowman). They were joined by Dinesh Shamdasani (CCO of Valiant), Warren Simons (Executive Editor) and Hunter Gorinson (Director of Communications), who led the panel.
Right out of the gate, Gorinson told the crowd that Shadowman #1 is at the printers. Patrick Zircher and Justin Jordan are putting their hearts into it. The new Shadowman, Jack, will have his personal journey as the highlight. They will show him using his powers and showing what it means to be a Shadowman in the Valiant Universe. The book will start set in New Orleans. Warren Simons explained that the great thing about Valiant is the rich history to pull from. They're pulling items from all versions of the property, including Dead Side that was originally introduced in the Acclaim video game.
Van Lente informed the crowd that issue 5 is the start of a new arc. The Eternal Warrior will be going after Archer, so the book might become "Armstrong" soon (said with a smile). They'll be introducing Geomancer in this arc, as well. Starting with this arc, The Sect will be much more threatening, despite the inherent goofiness in the names of the groups that make up this "united nations" of evil and conspiracies (like the Nazi Buddhists (or was it Buddhist Nazis?) that became a running punchline for the remainder of the panel, as Joshua Dysart questioned exactly how menacing a nazi that practiced Buddhism could be.
Bloodshot sees a new arc with issue five,where Duane Swierczynski and Manuel Garcia will be continuing to kick butt. First arc, we found out not who he is, but what he is. They'll be looking into who he really is. This book is hyper-compressed, as Simons says that, if Bloodshot doesn't die three times in a book, they haven't done their job.
There will be a mini-event in X-O Manowar called "Planet Death," where X-O wages a one man war against the Vine homeworld. Aric was willing to let sleeping dogs lie when he got back, but the Vine were not. As a Visigoth, where they went and sacked Rome in response to their attacks, he decides he needs to take this directly at the Vine in similar fashion. We'll, also, see the commando version of the armor in the event. The story will be drawn by Trevor Hairsine, after which regular series artist Cary Nord will return.
Harbinger #0 will be a story of Harada discovering his powers in a refugee camp. We'll see his rise to power at its start, as the young psiot takes control of the camp. In the Renegades arc, Dysart will be dedicating stand alone issues in the series tackling each of those original Harbinger team characters.
Dysart described Harbinger as the heavy character books, while X-O is the big action book and Archer & Armstrong is the Monty Python of the group.
News that received quite a reaction, especially since it is not part of the current line, was that Quantum & Woody will be released on ComiXology starting on October 24th (with the first issue free) and hinting at having something being cooked up.
Justin Jordan arrived late and talked a bit about the genesis of his partnership with Zircher. He's said how it is a great asset to be co-writing with an artist who can help make sure the script comes together with the artist in mind. It has been a very collaborative effort where Jordan says he couldn't stand back and tell you what in the book was his contribution versus Zircher's.
Bullet points from fan questions:
We'll be seeing a previous Shadowman on the first page of the first issue.
The inspiration on the different Ivar take is that he was always the smart one of the brothers and it felt natural to make him someone that can get his head lost in the clouds. We will see him back, being the immortal that he is, but we may or may not see him as Timewalker (offered up without having been part of the question).
The previously-licensed Gold Key characters have appeared in reprints and could appear in a Unity collection, if/when they are ready to do it. A later question made it clear that the move isn't on their radar, but they had mentioned it in passing in a conversation with Dark Horse.
A fan asked about a team book, which had the panel remind that Harbinger is a bit of a team book, but, also, seemed to give a wink and a nod that they were already thinking of putting one together.
Fan asked about a new Unity-like crossover, which the panel didn't exactly respond to, but there were smile, laughs and jokes that seemed to suggest there was something cooking.
To another fan's question about how the X-O Manowar armor ball form and a globe seen in Archer & Armstrong, there was a statement that there is a very concerted effort to make this an interconnected universe.
At the panel, they teased that they should have strong movie news tonight or tomorrow (with the news breaking this evening that it was for Shadowman and possibly more to come).