Comic Book Review: Incursion #1
Incursion represents the latest series in Valiant’s Beyond initiative, taking us through an exploration into the Valiant Universe’s hidden depths. Those depths delightfully having to do with the ever expansive Deadside. I couldn’t help but look forward to this limited series because of one more opportunity to go there and experience the premiere of a completely new villain to the Valiant Universe, the ruthless intergalactic conqueror known as Imperatrix Virago.
From the start of this first issue I felt invested with this Imperatrix Virago because they showed us what it really means to be a conqueror and a walking nightmare as a necromancer. It was easy to figure out her deal just based on the black coloring of her text, the use of necromacy, and her intent with it. The way I would have described Imperatrix Virago is a more successful version of Master Darque if he had ever shown greater ambitions than what led to his demise. From there it also wasn’t hard to piece together the kind of plans that this conqueror would have for Earth if she made her way there. So the only question that remained was if she would actually get to that point and how. Till then, it was just exciting to see a new kind of danger that could present itself outside of Earth. I should mention that it was cool to find out that Virago isn’t even the only one you should fear for what she is capable of. For the duo of Gilad and Tama, this is certainly nothing like what they have faced before.
For a debut, this creative team held nothing back when that time also managed to come in this very issue. Perfect execution between the army unleashed upon the world, and the kind of threat that Tama would face to set the tone for what’s to follow this entrance. It said a lot that so much devastation could occur in such a short amount of time and this have little to do with Imperatrix Virago’s hand in it. The whole experience was fitting as if seeing what it’s like for the Galactus of this universe to find his next meal and prepare it.
Getting back to the Eternal Warrior and Tama the Geomancer was an interesting point of interest for the stage in their relationship. Unless you read every story put out, you probably haven’t seen these two together in quite some time. Both do have their tendencies to do their own thing in spite of the Eternal Warrior/Geomancer dynamic that has been a thing with each generation. For where this story picked up for the two, I couldn’t help telling myself that it was about time that they began to take their jobs seriously again. I mean, what are these two if they aren’t being champions of the Earth? They are at their best when the world as a whole is in danger.
The art team of Dough Braithwaite, Jose Villarrubia, and Diego Rodriguez hit a good rhythm with the kind of story told through the interior artwork. Braithwaite in particular has a style to his pencils that is always perfect for these kinds of stories set in the Valiant Universe. The way he illustrates this first issue was something to marvel at for the way that he is usually able to make pencils look like beautiful strokes of a paintbrush. And he does it so well that none of his shading or detail is every lost to the colors. This was so important when also being able to soak in the beautiful creations that this art team as a whole was able to put together when it came to Imperatrix Virago, those who serve her, and some other foreign introductions which were nothing you’ve seen before. What I admired most in this first issue was how human these characters came off no matter where they stood in this conflict. That goes for Gilad and Tama especially who still really struggle to find common ground in what they do. This was captured in every reaction and response they gave each other in the face of what they see as priority in their duties. I was surprised that this stood out to me more than the action which was satisfying as well.
Through the events of Incursion #1, this creative team met the hype that this debut had built up to. They pulled no punches in this first chapter when we are quickly hit with the reality that there is much more to fear than the Master Darques of the world, or the Toyo Haradas. Not when you have a villain the likes of Imperatrix Virago who has been there and done that on so many other planets before Earth.