Valiant High Trade Paperback Review
Written By: Daniel Kibblesmith
Art By: Derek Charm
Colors By: David Baron
Letters By: Simon Bowland
Cover: David Lafuente and Brian Reber
Outside of Faith, I have not read anything from Valiant Entertainment. However, this book seemed like the perfect place to dip my toes into the Valiant universe. Valiant High is Valiant Comics’ first all-ages book and is advertised as an entry point for new fans as well as fun fan service for longtime readers.
The way the characters are approached reminds me of the Avengers Academy mobile game. Outside of being a money pit, the game takes a twist on Marvel classic heroes and villains by introducing them all within a high school setting. The book itself is a mixture of the movie Sky High and Archie comics with a dash of Morning Glories and the art reflects it. Eisner Award-winning artist Derek Charm previously worked on Jughead and his cartoonish art style works well for the tone of the book.
The concept and look of the book are fantastic however the execution is flawed. Unlike Archie‘s 2015 reboot, similar high school drama story, this book fails to make readers care about these characters early on. There is no overarching event or history that is established to grab readers into the story. While this story is entertaining, it is not captivating. Multiple times throughout the trade the story attempts to create drama and cliffhangers but fails because, outside of possibly longtime readers, there is no emotional connection created with the characters. I struggled to remember characters names because not enough time is devoted to each character individually. This story would have been more successful if it took it’s time to develop each character and their personal arc more.
The moments between specific characters and their relationships were the highlight of the book. There were many arcs I wanted more of including Amanda “Livewire” McKee and Faith “Zephyr” Herbert friendship and their fallout with ex-best friend Charlene “Flamingo” Dupre as well as better establishing Colin “Ninjak” King chemistry with Peter “Sting” Stanchek and the mischief they get into. Overall, the story felt rushed as if the main goal was to get as many Valiant characters included as possible instead of telling a compelling narrative about a group of high school kids with powers.
While that might be fine for longtime readers, new readers jumping in with be confused and have difficulty caring about the characters since they have no history or prior knowledge to them. However, if you are a longterm Valiant Entertainment fan this book is a light read that might be right up your alley.
This trade paperback is a collection of Valiant High #1–4. It will be available at comic books stores September 5, 2018, and retails for $9.99.