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Saturday, April 19, 2014 

New Valiant isn't helping themselves by resorting to crossovers

IGN spoke with writer Matt Kindt about the crossover the revived Valiant is doing called Armor Hunters. Towards the end, they say:
IGN: Is the beginning of this storyline, issue #8, a good place for new readers to start reading Unity for the first time? And for a new reader, what's the main draw of Unity that makes it different from the rest of the Valiant books?

Kindt: For sure. I honestly think the beginning of any Unity arc will be a good jumping on point. We're starting with the familiar core group of characters but bringing in that fourth personality that will be new to everyone sort of puts readers on an equal footing. And I really love having that new personality to mix in to the team because it brings out the personalities in the rest of them -- and adds a facet or shade to them that if you're familiar with the characters will be a little funny and flesh them out -- and if you have no idea who anyone is, it'll serve as a great introduction.

The difference between this and other Valiant books is really just the scope -- we get a wider angle view of the Valiant Universe -- a bigger picture -- instead of focusing on corner of the universe. So in that way, I think it's a great intro to what Valiant's about. And I think what sets it apart from every other team book out there -- from any publisher -- is that the Valiant Universe is still relatively new -- at least to the new generation of readers that may be reading Valiant books for the first time. So it changes the vibe of the book. We're not making in-jokes about characters that have been around for 30 years that you may or may not get. There's not years of continuity that you have to know to get a deeper understanding of the book. These are just good solid stories that happen to have the premise of "team of heroes" -- you get to know them like you would any character in any novel. And the character and story carry the book rather than a reader's built-in nostalgia for something that happened years ago.
The line they're publishing as it stands may be new, but the concept of company wide crossovers is not. It's been around for 30 years now, ever since Secret Wars made its debut. How can it be a good jumping on point if a couple of titles are joined at the hip for a crossover? There are at least 3 ongoings and with that comes a number of specials. And I assume they'll want anyone buying Unity to buy those links to boot (Bloodshot, Harbinger and X-O Manowar). In an age when prices have become too costly (nearly 4 dollars) and some people have to make harder choices, they're not doing a favor - neither for themselves nor the customer - by suggesting they'll have to buy nearly everything connected. For a new company building upon the output of the original in the 1990s, they sure haven't learned from their more major counterparts why it's better to let every title stand on its own. How can the characters and story carry the book when a crossover undermines everything? It's one thing for certain characters to guest star in another's book, and in the Silver/Bronze Age, that was handled well. But shoving them all into a crossover with a wheel hub and spokes has long become ridiculous and unhelpful. That's what Kindt's failed to think about.

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