Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Ales Kot
Illustrated by Adam Gorham
Coloured by Michael Spicer
An alien virus responsible for ravaging planets throughout the galaxy has arrived on Earth and landed on the black market. Before being stolen by a teenage girl, yeah, not good. The thief’s purpose is unclear but MI-6 operative Neville Alcott has managed to discover she’s using a series of dead drops--a method to pass items via secret locations--across New York City. Neville enlisted X-O Manowar to retrieve the virus, thinking one of the most powerful individuals on the planet would have no problem apprehending a teenager. Neville was wrong. Then he turned to the young and virtuous Archer, who ended up falling into a kiddie pool before getting kidnapped by a ninja gang. Neville’s not doing so hot...which is odd for such an accomplished spy….
Oh my stars and garters the first page of this issue made me laugh out loud as it looks dead on Tharok of the Legion of Super-Heroes only less advanced. It made me quite happy actually and his demeanor and eagerness to help plus the distinct halves of his body just make him a delightful new character. His meeting up with Neville and their walk through the park and what he asks Beta-Max to do well it’s kind of interesting and kind of cool and kind of shows us why Beta-Max is the way he is.
Adam and Michael working on this together do some genius stuff! I love the camouflaged work where they are hidden from the public's view that is some great use of imagery and imagination. Also just seeing Beta-Max in all his glory it’s just so much fun and it balances out the seriousness of what’s happening. OH and page ten the reveal yeah thank you for that because well that’s some absolutely gorgeous and gross stuff, kind of like something off Face Off!
What I loved about this issue is that we finally learn more about the virus and who these people are that are after it on Earth. While Beta-Max gets the obligatory explanation as to who they are and what they are after it all boils down to something so incredibly simple and apparently universal. Revenge. Their story isn’t unique but it does leave a lasting impression and the ability to sympathize with their plight and their cause. Now all I wonder is who they are after and who did that to their planet? It couldn’t have originated from our now could it? Are they here with the virus as payback or are they after someone else here like the Vine so they may seek their revenge upon them. While it seems like right now we are their target I’m never quites sure where Ales is concerned.
The characterization, writing, plot development and pacing by Ales are wonderfully done making everything work perfectly. Each reveal and explanation and twist in the story pulls back another layer of what’s happening here in ways you shouldn’t expect. You may think you know what’s going on but I guarantee you that somehow Ales will surprise you with something else.
This is some of the most well crafted, crazy ass storytelling to come out of Valiant. It’s a dynamic thought provoking read that will leave the reader wondering what could be next!