“It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school. ” – Ferris Bueller (but you already knew that right !?!)
Valiant Entertainment Digital First through Comixology
words: Daniel Kibblesmith pictures: Derek Charm
High School, if you’re reading this there’s a real good chance that you’ve either already made it out the other side or your living through it now.
But what is about those formative adolescent years that make them such fertile ground for stories ranging from Harry Potter to Grange Hill to Degrassi the New Class?
Is it the influence of those half a dozen years in shaping the young adults we would soon be?
Is it the all power no responsibility era of youth with all its hormone charged potency without any of the responsibilities, compromise and crushing existential doubts of adulthood?
Is the unresolved, long suppressed memories of the triple threat of the green, brown and grey uniform?
Whether its the Eternal Teens of Riverdale’s Archie, the thrilling misadventures of Gotham Academy‘s Olive and Maps or DC’s Younger Readers’ books like Super Hero Girls and Study Hall of Justice it seems like Super Hero High School stories are enjoying something of a resurgence right now.
Valiant High is Valiant’s attempt to hop on that school bus.
We are quickly introduced to Amanda “Live Wire” McKee and Faith “Zephyr” Herbert who are just ordinary Sophomores trying to navigate their way through the cliques and classes of Valiant High. Well I say ordinary except for the fact that Amanda can talk to machines and Faith can fly.
As the bell rings and students begin to file in we are introduced to the rest of the cast. Valiant favourites like Archer and Armstrong, Quantum and Woody, X O Manowar and the Eternal Warrior all make appearances as Amanda and Faith’s school mates while Dr Mirage, Bloodshot and Toyo Harada make up the faculty as Biology Teacher, Gym Coach and Principal / Evil Mastermind respectively.
Kibblesmith and Charm play a pretty fast and loose game with Valiant’s characters and continuity to serve up a light hearted, fast paced, joke-filled story of a school yard social dynamics, friends, foes, relationships, romance and the brutality of Coach Bloodshot’s Driver’s Ed Class.
Oh yeah and teenage NINJAK!
There are plenty of Easter Eggs, nods and winks if you’re a more well read fan of the Valiant Universe but don’t let that deter you.
Charm’s energetic art jumps effortlessly from his work on the opening arc of Judghead over at Archie.
David Baron does a great job on finished colour art. His bright and bold colour palette injects energy, life and light to every panel.
Valiant High is all the stuff you lived through or know from the tropes of the genre.
It’s In Groups versus Out Groups.
It’s Jocks versus New Kids.
What is Principal Harada’s Master Plan?
Why does the firey Southern Belle Charlene have it in for Amanda?
Will Aric Dab his way to victory as the school’s star Running Back?
You’ll have to pick up Valiant High to find out.
Final Verdict – B: A solid, entertaining first issue. It’s not trying to change the world but it will make smile and chuckle out loud on your bus ride home.