Older comic fans may remember the original Valiant superhero universe, and the epic crossover known as Unity. So when the new Valiant announced a new Unity #1, the natural assumption was that this would be the first multi-title crossover in their superhero line. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Valiant publishes superhero books, and what do superhero books do? They cross over! Oh, how wrong we were!
Unity #1 functions as both a team-up book (kinda) and an introduction to the Valiant Universe. If you haven’t been reading Valiant comics, they make it awfully hard to keep your excuses up. Their books are mostly self-contained, they offer plenty of easy jumping-on points for new readers, and the collected editions are reasonably priced. Unity #1 isn’t quite as accessible as some of their other recent first issue offerings like Quantum & Woody #1 or Eternal Warrior #1, but it’s no harder to follow (and introduces no more characters and story beats) than your average dramatic television pilot.
What’s up with Unity? Aric (the wearer of the X-0 Manowar armor) has decided to reclaim his ancestral home of Dacia (currently Romania). Needless to say, the rest of the world doesn’t take all that kindly to this, and the story opens with Russia more or less declaring war on Aric. It doesn’t take long for the action to start in Unity #1, and all the necessary exposition is dispensed with in that first page.
In short order we’re introduced to Toyo Harada, Gilad (the Eternal Warrior), Ninjak, and a team known as Unity who are such obvious cannon-fodder that I won’t even post a spoiler warning about it. If this sounds unremarkable, I assure you, it’s not. For such an overstuffed first issue, it’s compelling and brisk, despite being so densely packed with characters and information. The credit here goes to both writer Matt Kindt and series artist Doug Braithwaite for keeping things moving, giving everyone a voice (Ninjak and Eternal Warrior come off exceptionally well) and making everything clear.
It’s saying something when you can have this much action and set-up in a first issue and still have it be this entertaining. It’s going to take a little time, I suspect, before we see the “real” Unity show up on the page, but that’s alright. If any of the concepts you see here appeal to you, you’re probably safe to check out books like Eternal Warrior, X-0 Manowar, or Harbinger. But if you’re short on widescreen superhero team action (without any actual capes), Unity will do you just fine!