Comic Book Review: Valiant High #1
Did you ever wonder what your favorite Valiant heroes would be like if they were in high school together? Well, wonder no more because “Valiant High” #1 answers that question. Borrowing in tone from shows like Daria and Clone High, “Valiant High” #1 is a charming and funny read for even the most jaded comic book reader.
“Valiant High” #1 is told through the perspective of Amanda McKee, a.k.a Livewire. She’s a sophomore dealing with your typical high school drama. She feels she doesn’t fit in, she’s got a crush on the most popular guy in school and she just wants to pass her driving exam. The big catch here is that she has superpowers and attends a high school full of other kids with superpowers. Pretty much everyone shows up including gym teacher Bloodshot, star runningback Aric Dacia, outcast Peter Stanchek, emo kid Gilad and principal Toyo Harada. This first issue focuses on the aforementioned issues Amanda is facing but also introduces us to the entire cast and the atmosphere of the school itself.
“Valiant High” #1 is a straight up comedy so you can’t go into this expecting something closer in tone to the rest of the Valiant Universe. However, it is that exact sense of humor that makes it work so much. Without spoiling too much, writer Daniel Kibblesmith doesn’t “take shots” at these characters but he does play up on a lot of their traits by putting them in stereotypical high-schooler roles. The script is full of in jokes that Valiant fans will chuckle over and there’s an inherent silliness within all this that just makes the whole thing work. “Valiant High” #1 wants you to have a good time and it throws everything it can at you to make sure you do, but it isn’t without solid characterization and a cohesive plot.
Derek Charm is probably most well known for his recent work on “Jughead” and it makes him the perfect fit to visually tell this story. His character designs are youthful homages to their usual looks with each character being instantly recognizable even as high-schoolers. He doesn’t go too far in changing things but there’s a fun, youthfulness about this entire issue. “Valiant High” looks and feels like an animated series thanks to Charm’s ability to infuse each and every panel with visual gags and deeply expressive characters. He exaggerates things just enough and even the visual behavior of each character matches their personalities perfectly. David Baron is no stranger to the Valiant Universe and he brings everything together through the use of a beautiful, bright color palette. Each character has something special, color wise about them. For example, Aric Dacia (X-O Manowar) kind of this shine to him that makes him look as epic and regal as his main universe counterpart. Faith has this light, airy look and this is the case with each character.
“Valiant High” #1 is a perfect read for any Valiant comics fan who wants to have a good time. We don’t usually see these characters in a more lighthearted setting so this is such a fun change of pace.