Beyond the Marvel and DC Universes, Valiant Entertainment has comic books featuring perhaps the next most robust superhero universe. There have been numerous incarnations of this shared world, with each having their own takes on respective Valiant icons. This has given the publisher a steady stable of interesting and unique characters, both good and bad.
From the irreverent to the dark and gritty, these heroes and villains are very different from those in mainstream comics. Each new version has played with the central concepts differently, honing these figures in each continuity. The result is an entire universe of exciting and beloved heroes and their foes, with certain ones standing out to redefine the Valiant Universe.
10 Faith Is Valiant’s Most Lighthearted (and Relatable) Heroine
Faith Herbert, a.k.a. Zephyr is unique within the Valiant Universe. Whereas the other characters merely possess superpowers, Faith is actively a geeky fangirl enthralled by science fiction and comic books. Thus, her being “activated” as a flying, telekinetic psiot is a dream come true for her. In a sense, she’s sort of a predecessor for Marvel’s Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.
Faith’s plucky attitude makes her essentially the audience insert character for the Valiant Universe. Likewise, this makes her stand out (somewhat comedically) beside the darker and more cynical characters in her world. In many ways, she’s definitely the breakout character of the Harbinger books, even receiving her own series of Young Adult novels.
9 Punk Mambo Is Valiant’s Magical Rebel
Rebellious and irreverent, Punk Mambo is one of Valiant’s greatest magic users. Utilizing the loa spirits and her own tenacious attitude, she boldly does whatever she wants with her powers. Unfortunately, the result is often much more than she bargained for.
Exclusive to the third major Valiant Comics continuity, Punk Mambo has quickly become a fan-favorite character. She’s in many ways like DC’s magical guru John Constantine, even sharing his British origin. Alongside Shadowman, she represents a part of the Valiant Universe that’s many times overlooked.
8 Toyo Harada Is Valiant’s Greatest Villain
Toyo Harada is the leader of the Harbinger Foundation and the prevailing villain for the entire Valiant Universe. A powerful psiot with vast mental abilities, he’s in many ways Magneto with Professor X’s powers. Even then, he’s much more than a standard villain trope and falls on the morally ambiguous side.
Harada is a rare example of a villain who straddles the line between being truly understandable and maniacally evil. Likewise, his vast power (which includes both his psionic abilities and his wealth) explains why he’s such a major and long lasting threat. The Life and Death of Toyo Harada is also considered one of the best books from the current Valiant continuity.
7 Rai Carries the Blood of Heroes While Defending the Future
Rai – especially his ’90s incarnation – personifies the era’s fascination with Japanese culture and the advancement of the country’s technology. The defender of a futuristic Japan far along in the history of the Valiant Universe, Rai is part of a bloodline of similar warriors with almost robotic precision and fighting skill. In fact, the original version of the character connected him to the present day character Bloodshot.
Many of Rai’s stories have an almost cyberpunk or dystopian edge to them. This gives him a fresher appeal than merely making him another superhero. Likewise, the politics surrounding these stories showcase that not all is perfect in the Valiant Universe’s future.
6 Ninjak is the Valiant Comics Equivalent of Batman
A rich super-spy with vast wealth and even greater martial arts training, it’s not hard to compare Valiant’s Ninjak with DC’s Batman. Colin King is one of the company’s greatest assassins, with his adventures putting him on a collision course with all manner of espionage. Likewise, he frequently interacts with (and even hunts) other major characters, including heroes.
While Ninjak might recall DC’s Caped Crusader, he’s not nearly as averse to resorting to lethal means. When combined with his ninja-esque costume and usually slick art, he’s a character that truly represents a deadly shadow. The current Valiant continuity made him only one of several alphabetical ninjas, yet he’s still the one who’s made the biggest mark on the surrounding world.
5 Shadowman Is Valiant’s Foray Into the Supernatural
Usually the paranormal alter ego of Jack Boniface, Shadowman is actually a legacy mantle of those who bond with the spiritual voodoo loa. This makes the character one of the few mystical beings in the Valiant Universe, which is generally more realistic, grounded, and science based. This role also puts him in direct conflict with the enigmatic Master Darque.
The original incarnation of Shadowman stood out the most due to the combination of his more esoteric mysticism and grounded, street-level stories. His actually being the result of supernatural forces was up for debate, eliminating any dependence upon more otherworldly themes. This gave him the exciting characterization of a man driven by justice and a love for the night.
4 Peter Stanchek Is Valiant’s Most Nuanced “Hero”
Having incredible psionic powers, Peter Stanchek (also known by the name Sting) was a threat even to Toyo Harada. In fact, these abilities are so great that Stanchek actually activated them himself instead of needing an external stimulus. Upon discovering the evil behind Harada’s Harbinger Foundation, he breaks away to form his own group of “renegades” to oppose him.
Peter Stanchek stands out (especially in the newer Valiant titles) because he’s really not a hero. Before fighting against Harada, Stanchek used his own powers for personal (and sometimes completely amoral) gain. Thus, his becoming a sort of freedom fighter against Toyo Harada is almost happenstance.
3 Valiant’s Eternal Warrior Has a Long, Bloody History
Born centuries ago as Gilad Anni-Padi, Gliad’s healing factor and longevity have allowed him to live throughout several ages. As the Eternal Warrior, he constantly seeks battle to right wrongs and defend the innocent. Unfortunately for those in his path, he’s also known for immense ruthlessness. This has even put him in conflict with his brother Aram, also known as Armstrong (of Archer and Armstrong).
The Eternal Warrior showcases how psiots/Harbingers aren’t the only ones with powers in the Valiant Universe. Likewise, he has connections to several other major characters, including the Geomancers that are tied to the Earth itself.
2 X-O Manowar Combines Alien Tech With a Barbarian’s Warrior Spirit
X-O Manowar combines several tropes and ideas from different companies, albeit in a totally original fashion. Born Aric of Dacia, this warrior was a Visigoth abducted by aliens. Accessing the extraterrestrial Shanhara armor, he returned to Earth in the present day as a man outside of time.
Essentially Conan the Barbarian in an alien Iron Man armor, X-O Manowar has remained one fo the heroes most associated with Valiant. Brash and largely unable to take commands from anyone else, he’s another example of how Valiant’s stable of characters are far different from the two-dimensional heroes seen in other companies. His armor is also one of the most advanced pieces of technology in the entire Valiant Universe.
1 Bloodshot is One of Valiant’s Most Recognizable Heroes
Armed to the teeth and with nanite blood flowing through his veins, Bloodshot is a hi-tech gun for hire who eliminates the lowest dregs of society. Although his origin sometimes differs, it always result in a normal man becoming infused with nanites that control technology, bestow him with a healing factor, and push his body beyond human levels. Well experienced with all manner of weapons, Bloodshot is an unrivaled killing machine who has no qualms about eliminating anyone who stands in his way.
Although he may sound like something less than a hero, Bloodshot’s greatest trait is how much he wants to do the right thing, albeit in his own way. He is intially portrayed as either a nobody or as the same type of criminal scum he would later hunt. Getting a new lease on life, Bloodshot uses his advanced powers to take down anyone looking to terrorize the good people of his world.
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