Earlier this week, Valiant sent out a press release touting Valiant First, a new program that will see The Flying V launch a new series every month for six months. Here's what they've got planned:
Each month, VALIANT FIRST will debut an all-new series by some of the premier storytellers in comics today with new #1 issues featuring Valiant's biggest, brashest and boldest characters.
RAI #1 (May)
Written by Matt Kindt (Unity, Mind MGMT); Art by Clayton Crain (X-Force, Carnage)
A VALIANT FIRST ongoing series! Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain are about to prove that there is nothing else in comics like RAI!
In the far future of 4001 A.D., Japan is a single endless city-state, governed by a benevolent artificial intelligence and policed by an army of just one – the mysterious Rai, spirit guardian of the rising sun. But, soon, a single bullet will shatter the peace it has taken 2,000 years to secure…
ARMOR HUNTERS #1 (June)
Written by Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, Green Lantern); Art by Doug Braithwaite (Unity, Justice)
A Valiant Universe crossover event! This summer, Earth will be the greatest hunt of all when VALIANT FIRST unleashes the first issue of 2014's must-read mini-series event!
A relentless and surgical strike team from the farthest reaches of space – sworn to exterminate the X-O Manowar armor and all like it – have found finally their last target. They will hunt. They will trap. They will kill. And they will rid the universe of the X-O Manowar’s incalculable destructive power…even if it means taking the Earth with it.
In the tradition of the universe-changing HARBINGER WARS, Valiant's biggest heroes launch into the summer's blockbuster 18-issue crossover event right here in ARMOR HUNTERS #1 – and then take the fight to the world's first full-scale cosmic threat with new arcs of UNITY and X-O MANOWAR beginning in June, and ARMOR HUNTERS: BLOODSHOT and ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER beginning in July!
ARMOR HUNTERS: BLOODSHOT #1 (July)
Written by Joe Harris (The X-Files: Season 10); Art by Trevor Hairsine (X-Men: Deadly Genesis)
The most dangerous weapon in the Valiant Universe has come in from the cold. With Earth under siege by the Armor Hunters, Bloodshot is the only thing standing between the destruction of the extraterrestrial intelligence agency known as MERO and the liberation of one of the Armor Hunters' own.
ARMOR HUNTERS: HARBINGER #1 (July)
Written by Joshua Dysart (Harbinger Wars); Art by Robert Gill (Batgirl)
Because you demanded it! Out of the ashes of Harbinger Wars, the volatile psiot strike force known as Generation Zero step into their very first adventure – and right into the crosshairs of the Armor Hunters!
THE DELINQUENTS #1 (August)
Written by Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies) & James Asmus (Thief of Thieves); Art by Kano (Gotham Central)
It’s the world's worst team-up when Archer & Armstrong meet Quantum and Woody! We apologize in advance for what can only be described as a swashbuckling, conspiracy-smashing, partner-trading, goat-fueled race across the USA!
THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE #1 (September)
Written by Jen Van Meter (Hopeless Savages); Art by Roberto de la Torre (Daredevil)
World-renowned parapsychologist Dr. Mirage and her husband Hwen were madly, deeply, stuff-of-legends in love – until the day a tragic accident stole Hwen away. Now, Dr, Mirage will have to use every ounce of her training and talents in the mystic arts to do the one thing Hwen taught her never to do – journey across the realms of Deadside and bring her love back to the land of the living.
It can't be denied that this is an impressive lineup of creative talent on a set of very interesting books, but is there something more sinister going on here? According to a report on Bleeding Cool, artist Bernard Chang took serious issue with the costume design of RAI, which uses the Japanese Rising Sun Flag, considered offensive in some countries due to its use during the Japanese conquest of East Asia and the War in the Pacific. We're talking about this flag here:
From Bleeding Cool:
At first, we thought, that's an unfortunate mistake, but the image is used on other commercial products, perhaps due to a lot of people outside of Asia being unaware of the flag's negative implications. But is there something more sinister going on?
In the spirit of taking things way beyond the limits of good taste, we did some research and found that the name Valiant First is strinkingly similar to America First, a paleoconservative political party founded by Pat Buchanan supporters which, according to Wikipedia, "is pro-life, opposes all gun control, seeks to end affirmative action, racial quotas, and illegal and unlimited immigration." The Rising Sun Flag is sometimes used by right wing groups in Japan as well.
Is this evidence that Valiant is using its comics publishing business as a front for a worldwide neo-fascist movement? Is Valiant developing advanced psuedo-scientific technology in the basement of its Manhattan headquarters with the purpose of using the DNA of some of the world's most ruthless and evil military leaders in history in order to create a new Valiant emporer who will lead the company to world domination?
As far as we're concerned, the answer to both of those questions can only be: yes.
Buy Unity, in stores now! This I command!
It makes sense. How else could Valiant lock down so many high profile, fan favorite creators and produce an amazing, coherent superhero universe? For more on this, we spoke with Valiant's Vice President of Talent Relations, Doctor Mindbender.
OH: Thanks for talking to us.
DM: It is my pleasure.
OH: What do you have to say to accusations that Valiant Entertainment is terrorist organization determined to rule the world?
DM: Vhat?! That is outrageous! All ve vant to do is produce quality comic books! Is there anything wrong vith that?!
OH: If that's true, what does Valiant need with a military base on a private island with a massive snake-themed temple at the center of it?
DM: That's none of your business!
OH: Oh, so you admit you have one of those?
DM: Vat?! No, I never said that!
OH: You just did!
DM: This interview is over! Guards!
We barely escaped with our lives. Hopefully, Valiant realizes that their character design on RAI, while well-intentioned, is offensive and insensitive, and they correct it before the issue sees print. Or not, you know. Ha ha. We don't want to get shot with a laser and put inside the Brainwave Scanner.
For more on this story... well, don't look here. We're never speaking of this again. We love Valiant! Don't hurt us!