Review: Valiant High #3

Valiant High #3 comes out this week, and I am going to cut straight to the chase… I loved this book. Daniel, Derek, and David (whoa, how have I not noticed this alteration before?!) did another fantastic job cultivating this alternative universe in the Valiant Mythos. The writing was clever. The art was energetic, and the colors were bold. There is honestly nothing else I could have asked from this creative team.

Throughout this series, Daniel has done an excellent job maintaining the personality of each character through their high school translation. What makes this issue even better than its predecessors, though, is how he interacts the kids with the adult staff; whether it is with Dr. Mirage or Mr. D, Daniel works the dialogue to capture the chaos and ridiculousness of puberty. To me, this added the right reality check to keep the series relatable. Another aspect of the writing that I really have been enjoying is the ebb and flow of the story beat. Most comics these days start slow and save the really big plot twists until the end; it has become all too predictable. Daniel, however, has changed this up a bit, making the pace of the plot feel like a roller coaster. There were a few big moments that he could have ended the issue on, and most would have, but instead, he kept pushing through. This has made the series both fun and mildly unpredictable.

Now, remember, this is not a one-man act. Derek and David have both put in equal amount of work to bring this book to life. Probably the most fun that I have had with this series has been watching Derek do his own translation of the Valiant Universe through his linework. For this issue specifically, I adored the way he brought Divinity and GIN-GR into the fold. On the more technical side of things, Derek is very good at portraying a sense of movement; none of his panels were stagnant, and each one of his pages flowed gracefully into each other. Altogether, Derek’s lines were an absolute treat. Which makes David’s colors icing on this cake.

I already mentioned in my review of issue #2 how amazed I was at David’s ability to switch from coloring Bloodshot Reborn and Divinity III to Valiant High. This has not changed. With this mix of flat colors and cel shading, David mirrored Derek’s linework perfectly. I read this whole issue wondering how he found the perfect balance between complex rendering and letting the ink do the talking. Either way, it was stunning.

As a whole, this book and its team is the whole package. On the outside, Valiant High may look like a childish rendition of Archie and the Gang, but it is so much more than that. Daniel’s scripts have been spot on, with engaging dialogue and a unique story line. Not to mention the art team. In an interview I did with Daniel, he said that there have been moments where Derek’s art has inspired him, and I can definitely see why with this issue. All wrapped up with David’s colors, you really can’t ask for much more. I give Valiant High #3 5 out of 5 stars. Get on Comixology and buy this book, and the two back issues now. You won’t be disappointed.

Written by Daniel Kibblesmith
Art by Derek Charm
Cover by David Baron, David Lafuente
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