Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt have just torn my heart out! The Valiant #4 concludes on a series of down endings but for all the right reasons. This is Valiant moving to the next level.
The official description from Valiant:
The darkness is now! The heroes of the Valiant Universe make their triumphant last stand at the end of all things as superstar creators Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera bring their magnum opus to its gut-wrenching conclusion! The Immortal Enemy has all but won and only Bloodshot and Geomancer are left to stand against his darkness. Are they willing to save humanity if it means losing their own – and each other?
The Valiant, as a series, has been an in-depth look into the horrors that lie within the major players in the Valiant Universe. It gave us a more complete understand of Gilad, the Eternal Warrior and his dedication to protecting earth’s geomancer throughout history. Kay is the latest and oddly enough in The Valiant #4 her last hope is not Gilad but Bloodshot. Once the Immortal Enemy makes his final appearance to stop Kay, disguised as her childhood fear, Mister Flay, there’s no better hero to have on your side than Bloodshot.
Lemire and Kindt also don’t leave Kay as a helpless damsel either. This is the issue she sets up, realizes her power and what she must do to fight her own battle, she’s been strong in the past but it’s not until the final battle she shows her true strength and character. Gilad’s final move is one even he doesn’t quite understand. A future version of himself has sent the safe that the Codebreaker has been trying to crack the whole series but it’s on Gilad’s puzzle to solve and only he can control what’s inside. A great twist, if not a tad confusing, but what lies inside will destroy the Immortal Enemy. Lemire and Kindt makes the price almost too high for readers to stomach and even with the severe gut-punch it still makes for a great story.
Paolo Rivera is at his best of the series here. The final battle for Bloodshot is everything you would expect and more. All rendered beautifully by Rivera. It’s detailed in it’s gruesomeness and horror and never shies away of the importance of those details to set-up for the heartbreak that will come for one and the possibilities of a new beginning for another. His work is not only visually captivating but it’s importance of capturing the highly emotional ending can not be undervalued.
The Valiant #4 is an outstanding conclusion to this story. It had all the elements of surprise, twists, action and emotion without a single wasted page. The epilogue sets-up what will become Bloodshot: Reborn from Lemire and it’s a new direction for Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, as well, with a familiar task but with a fresh new twist. The Valiant has easily been the best new mini-series from Valiant and some of the best independent work from both Lemire and Kindt. The tone and pace of, not only this final issue but, the entire run has been near perfect with a creative team that needs to do more work together. They solidified themselves on these long standing Valiant characters and gave them a freshness and originality all their own.