I really have been pleasantly surprised by the Book of Death event- the main title has been paced well, and there has been a big enough threat in that story to keep me interested. The “Fall of …” titles were ones I was less certain of, because with The Valiant, I hadn’t really delved into any of the tie-in books, but still enjoyed the main series enough for what it was. But after I read The Fall of Bloodshot issue, and the emotional story that issue told, I figured that the rest of them would be as effective and poignant as the one that started it off. The emotion was definitely with this issue, but there was more beyond just that.
The story opens on Ninjak, a character that I don’t really have a lot of personal history with (at least with Bloodshot, I have a few old 90’s Valiant Bloodshot titles, so I have a brief understanding of the character) but with Ninjak, I only know what I have been told about him from other Valiant titles. So to just jump into the story, and see him at the end of his life, alone, meditating in some sort of abandoned temple was something I didn’t expect (mostly because I didn’t have much to expect from this story to begin with).
But then, after we get some inner monologue from Ninjak, we start off the fight sequence that threads itself through the rest of this issue. Livewire was another character that I am not very well versed in, but I know her from Unity and the other Valiant books I have read where she has popped her head in before. I liked the visuals of Ninjak using his mental strength and focus to control the metallic pieces that made up his missing sword arm- it made for a lot of very dynamic and unique looking pages for the story. Plus it lent an air of feeling more “futuristic” because it is something that the Ninjak in the main Book of Death story isn’t capable of yet.
I really wasn’t expecting the story to take the turn that it did, nor that it would wind itself back around to become the origin story for how **SPOILERS** Rai’s future Japan came into being. Seeing Ninjak’s flashback to his time with the Eternal Warrior (who I am really starting to come around on, now that I see him in a different light from the main rebooted series) where they share their warriors catchphrase of “fist- and the steel” as though they aren’t centuries old warriors, but a couple of collar-popping dude-bros playing flippy cup at a house party. It was nice to see the book get personal with Ninjak- from his interactions and history with Livewire and Eternal Warrior, to his conversation at the end of the issue withGin-Gr (the giant purple robot warrior from Unity who aids Ninjak is his attempt to **SPOILERS** destroy the propulsion system that is launching Japan away from Earth and into it’s orbit.
The look of this book was great- I loved the way the characters were posed and the position of the frame for the panels gave the book a really sweeping and cinematic feeling. The story felt a bit rushed, at least the second half felt the most rushed- where I think the book could have slowed down, taken it’s time and maybe added in a couple brief flashbacks to punctuate the finality of the story. But, overall the book was good, it was an engaging read, and I really felt for all of the characters, even though they each had their own motivations or goals in mind.
I think that Valiant has a bright future ahead of them, with their event books really doing well, and their properties being optioned for multiple new major motion picture deals- the future at Valiant is looking a lot better than the one that is being painted for it’s characters as it plays out in the pages of the Book of Death series.
This book is definitely worth checking out if you have read Book of Death, and I think that Book of Death, even after two issues, is promising enough to check out if you want an event book to be more streamlined and concise than some of the bigger events at the other publishers that seem to take a lot longer to tell their story, and take twice (and sometimes even more than that) as many issues to complete the tale.