Written by Fred Van Lente
Drawn by Cary Nord and Clayton Henry
Colors by Brian Reber
There's something to be said for a one-and-done issue. You don't have to worry about getting the next issue because you get the complete story. In the world of comics, they're usually a bit more expensive, since they have a few extra pages, but I think it's a fair trade off. In this one shot from Valiant, the three immortal brothers Eternal Warrior, Ivar, Timewalker, and Armstrong (of Archer and Armstrong fame) team up to take on the mythical Green Knight in a story where nothing is what it seems.
Structured similarly to The Princess Bride, the story is actually Archer reading the classic story about the knight Gawain to Faith, remixed thanks to some references and firsthand details from Armstrong. As a device, it's fine, nothing amazing, but it allows for fun references to that movie and D&D, among others.
The main story itself is more centered on Gilad, the Eternal Warrior than his brothers, who mainly serve to lighten the book up a bit. Not that this is a particularly dark book to begin with, but it never hurts to have comic relief. The story takes place over the course of a year, telling little snippets from the group's adventures while looking for the Green Chapel. It reminded me a lot of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, particularly in tone. This is a pretty fun book. Writer Fred Van Lente does a nice job working in references to the greater Valiant Universe in a way that lets the reader know the story is set against a bigger background without making knowledge of that universe necessary. It's always a struggle to find the balance between too much continuity and not enough context, but he nails it. The ending is a bit rushed, and I had to reread a part of it to fully understand what happened, but I think that says more about my reading comprehension skills than anything else.
The art is really clean. Cary Nord uses a lot of nice, thick lines, and it gives the whole thing a really nice look. It fits the tone of the story perfectly, serving to enhance the writing in the way that the best art does. He typically sticks to a pretty basic panel layout, occasionally having a figure or scene pop out of the borders around the page, making it pop.
Overall I enjoyed this story. It was fun, and gave me a nice introduction to some of the characters I hadn't come across before. If you're looking for a nice, quick, fun read, then you could do a lot worse than this.