Guide to Unity
This Wednesday will see the release of a brand new series from Valiant Entertainment. Unity is shaping up to be one of the company’s biggest releases since they relaunched with X-O Manowar #1 early in the summer of 2012. This will be the first “team” book put out by the publisher, and features a lot of familiar faces from around the Valiant universe.
A huge selling point for many readers is the team of Matt Kindt (writer) and Doug Braithwaite (art) taking control of this book.
For you newer readers, Valiant is really pushing this as a jump on point. As I have already read Unity #1 I can safely say that Valiant provides you with all of the necessary information to enjoy this book out of the gate. For those out there that like to get a little more background on characters or events, we’ve put together this “Guide to Unity” to give you just that and let you know what to pick up if you feel like exploring any back issues from Valiant.
Aric of Dacia was abducted by an alien race known as the Vine over a millennium ago. Along with other members of his clan, he served as a slave aboard one of the Vine ships. Aric organized a small rebellion that ultimately put him in contact with the Vine’s legendary and prophetic armor of Shanhara. The armor had rejected all previous attempts by the Vine to bind one of their warriors with the armor, but it quickly accepted Aric as its new host.
Aric returned to Earth once only to find that over 1000 years had passed while he was gone. He later ventured back into space to confront the Vine on their home world. While he was there he encountered a group of human slaves that were descendants of the Visigoths. After defeating the Vine, Aric led the group back to Earth where he promised to return them to their ancestral home.
Additional Reading: For Aric’s origin and first return to Earth check out issues #1-4 of X-O Manowar, and issues #11-14 (“Planet Death”) to read about his battle on the Vine home world. Issues #16-18 deal directly with the events leading up to the launch of Unity #1.
Toyo Harada is a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. It was after the attack that Harada discovered he had power beyond that of an ordinary human. He was a psiot.
Psiots are more or less the Valiant equivalent of mutants. One major difference however is that the vast majority of psiots don’t manifest their powers naturally. They need their powers to be unlocked through some rather extreme means that not all survive.
Harada has founded the Harbinger Foundation to help with making the world a better place. Unknown to the public he recruits and unlocks new psiots. Those that survive the process are usually trained to work at the Foundation. The more powerful also run black ops missions for Harada.
While he has been presented as the main antagonist of Harbinger, Harada’s goals seem to ultimately be for providing a better existence for all on Earth. He is a leader and teacher for many of the world’s psiots. His methods may be questionable by some, but what he does, he does for the greater good. He’s not a character than can simply be labeled as either “good” or “evil.” I tend to think of him as an amalgamation of Lex Luthor and Professor X.
Additional Reading: Harbinger #0 was an origin issue focusing on Harada.
Ninjak is probably the foremost elite of assassins in the Valiant Universe. Not too much is known about this current incarnation of the character, but he is a man with a code. Ninjak was contracted to capture Aric and the X-O armor back when the Visigoth first returned to Earth. When it was revealed that people that hired Ninjak were actually alien Vine bent on conquering the world to retrieve the armor, Ninjak and Aric reluctantly formed a truce to battle against the Vine agents on Earth. He may have his assassins’ code, but in this instance the destruction of the world would have been bad for business. The two parted ways after their success. Since Aric is a man of loyalty and allegiance he is not trustful of “sell swords.”
I love this character, as he combines all of the badassery associated with Batman, Boba Fett, and ninjas.
Additional Reading: You can read more about Ninjak in X-O Manowar #5-8.
Eternal Warrior, also known as Gilad Anni-Padda, is an immortal warrior and brother of Archer and Armstrong’s Armstrong. For several millennia he has walked the Earth as the protector of the Geomancer; a powerful sorcerer chosen by Mother Earth to defend it. His background and history have been explored throughout Archer and Armstrong and are currently being delved into in his own series, Eternal Warrior. Although, It doesn’t look that any of these adventures in his solo will be tying into Unity anytime soon.
What new readers should know is that the Eternal Warrior is several millennia old and is beyond an expert in combat and the arts of war. Before Aric was captured by the Vine, Gilad was a friend and mentor. It is yet unclear, but it also appears that Harada and Gilad have some history together as well.
In issue #15 of X-O Manowar Gilad meets with Aric and tries to explain to him that the world has changed. The two do not separate on good terms.
Additional Reading: X-O Manowar #15 is going to tie directly into these events. For more on his origin and roles throughout history check out Archer and Armstrong issue #0 and issues #5 to 9.
Livewire is also set to be joining the team. She was once a high ranking psiot in the Harbinger Foundation. She is technotelepathic. In other words she can control machines with her mind. She aided in Peter Stanchek’s (the lead character of Harbinger) escape of the Foundation. She was last seen in issue #8 of Harbinger as Harada’s prisoner. She still thinks of him as her master and has not thought much about escape.
Additional Reading: While her parts are not too large she appears in Harbinger #3, 4, and 8.
What’s the deal?
Aric of Dacia has returned to Earth with the Visigoth descendants he freed while fighting on the Vine home world. He has landed in Romania and claimed their ancestral home with him as king.
The governments of Earth don’t take too kindly to all of this. Since he arrived in an alien spaceship, they are handling it like an alien invasion. Russia is none too happy about all of this going on in the former Soviet Block.
I mentioned already that the Eternal Warrior met with Aric to try and explain to him how the world works. This invasion of Romania is what prompted Gilad’s visit, but Aric’s stubbornness doesn’t seem to be helping his cause any.
Following these events, Russia has launched an attack against Aric and his people. It was a failure against Aric and the alien technology the Visigoths now possess. The Russians are now turning to the possible use of nuclear weapons.
The world is on the brink of World War III, so Toyo Harada, the founder of the Harbinger Foundation, has put together a team consisting of psiots, Ninjak, and the Eternal Warrior to stop Aric, in order to avoid all out nuclear war.
This series has been promised by Valiant to shake up the status quo of their universe. By setting the antagonist of one series as a protagonist and vice-versa, it should definitely lead to some major changes. Who is doing the right thing, and is anyone truly doing the wrong thing. There is definitely a large grey area which leaves this series open to go in any direction.
Unity #1 releases this Wednesday November 11, so be sure to check it out. Valiant has made all issues returnable by retailers, so there is really no reason your local shops should short order this book. If they do sell out pick it up digitally. Valiant always throws in some cool uncolored or uninked extra with the digital copies.
We’ll have an advance review for you tomorrow!