What it is and why it’s awesome: Shadowman is one of the most unique and interesting comics, not only from Valiant but out of all the superheroes. It all starts with saxophone player Jack Boniface, who chooses the wrong woman to go home with one night and wakes up the next morning with a strange connection to the dark. When the sun goes down and the shadows take over, Jack begins to feel different and discovers that he now has enhanced abilities. Taking on the mantle of “Shadowman,” J has enhanced strength and speed, quickly regenerates, and can see in the dark. The whole series sees Jack fighting supernatural crime in New Orleans with his new-found voodoo powers, even taking on monsters, zombies, and the necromancer Master Darque. Master Darque has even faced off against other Valiant heroes such as Eternal Warrior, Armstrong, and Turok the dinosaur hunter.
We recommend: Both the original Shadowman series by Jim Shoot and Steve Englehart and the rebooted series have their charms, depending on your taste.
QUANTUM AND WOODY
What it is and why it’s awesome: Definitely the strangest of all the Valiant titles, Quantum and Woody is a buddy cop movie in the guise of a superhero story. Quantum, real name Eric Henderson, grew up in Connecticut with his friend Woodrow “Woody” Van Chelton. The two were best friends until Woody mysteriously left one day. The pair were reunited after both of their fathers died in a plane crash, which they suspected wasn’t an accident. While investigating the man they think is behind the death of their dads, the pair begin to fight (as friends do) and find themselves in a room that turns the pair of them into living energy. As result, they have to connect their power bands every 24 hours or risk being broken down into subatomic partacles. Don’t let all those big words fool you though, Quantum and Woody is hilarious and not a deep subtextual exploration. It’s low brow humor will easily appeal to fans of Deadpool.
We recommend: The first volume of the series has been collected into a “Director’s cut” trade paper back, and while it’s out of print, it’s worth seeking out. The characters have also found a new life in a weekly comic over at IGN.
What it is and why it’s awesome: As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, Valiant relaunched many of their titles in brand new ongoing comic series last year. The comics continue to run today and from the beginning maintained the same level of connectivity that was seen in the original run of the Valiant comics. Harbinger Wars is the first crossover for the titles and it’s handled in a way that feels natural to the characters and stories as opposed to other big superhero crossovers that appear simply as cash-ins.
Harbinger Wars sees the merciless Bloodshot free a group of powerful teenagers from a government facility. Unbeknownst to him though, Bloodshot has just started a war between Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation and Peter Stancheck and his group of renegades over these superpowered kids. These two groups will stop at nothing to get to these powerful kids first and recruit them to their own cause. But don’t think that Bloodshot is just going to sit it out after his initial involvement, he’s still present for the story. In addition, another Valiant series made their reboot debut, the H.A.R.D. Corps.
We recommend: The first three issues of Harbinger Wars are available for purchase, with the final issue coming this month. It will be collected in its entirety this September, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up.
This list only scratches the surface of the Valiant Comics world, there’s still a whole slew of characters out there for readers to experience and hopefully we’ve put you on track to take that journey. Which is your favorite Valiant comic series? Sound off below!