Valiant Entertainment has had one big first year. They've successfully launched five ongoing series, received copious critical acclaim, moved forward on film adaptations, played in the video game world, partnered up with the USA Luge team, and were named Publisher of the Year by Diamond & comic retailers.
And they're not slowing down.Continuing to introduce classic characters into the new Valiant universe, the company has new (old) characters coming into Shadowman with #5, and their first crossover in Harbinger Wars gives them opportunity to bring even more to the forefront. Case in point: the introduction of H.A.R.D. Corps in Harbinger Wars #3.
While writers Josh Dysart and Duane Swierczynski are chained to their keyboards being watched over by Bloodshot himself, newly appointed CEO Dinesh Shamdasani took a moment out of his busy schedule to tell us a bit more about H.A.R.D. Corps' debut, and what the team might be up to in the future, as well as an important story tease for Harbinger Wars.Hairsine Cover HW #3 Newsarama: Dinesh, the rollout of classic Valiant characters has been very measured, but it seems like the lead-up to Harbinger Wars, and now Harbinger Wars itself, has accelerated that quite a bit. What about this event necessitated bringing in so many new characters?
Dinesh Shamdasani: Very simply, it's the size, scope and high stakes of Harbinger Wars that necessitated the acceleration. Harbinger Wars is primarily a character-driven crossover, which is a little bit of a departure from the types of events we've seen lately, but it's also a hell of a slugfest! Harbinger Wars is the first time we're really going to see the big guns in the Valiant Universe go head to head. We teased the potential of two characters colliding with the Enter: Ninjak arc of X-O Manowar and here Joshua Dysart and Duane Swierczynski will be delivering full force on that promise. Without giving away too much, we were able to very organically introduce characters like the H.A.R.D. Corps and the new Harbinger children which allowed us to really deliver stakes worthy of a major event.Evans Cover HW #3 The acceleration is part of a larger plan. With every new story we are building, we're building both the Valiant Universe and building towards something in the future. Harbinger Wars #1, Harbinger #11 and Bloodshot #10 are each the start of a new arc and jumping-on points for new readers. We've strived to make these jumping-on points, knowing that Harbinger Wars will bring a lot of new people to the Valiant Universe. But longtime readers too will notice that this is the logical next step in building a bigger mythology and the new characters are very much a part of that. Joshua has created about 30 new characters for Harbinger Wars and they're unlike anything else that we're currently seeing in comics. He's also laid out some pretty cool rationales that will tie a few of them into other Valiant characters beyond Bloodshot and Harbinger alone.
Nrama: Who are H.A.R.D. Corps in the new Valiant universe? Is this Gunslinger and his crew? And how close will they be to their previous incarnation?
Shamdasani: Great question! But I can't tell you anything!! It's just too much fun to ruin. But I will say that just like in the original H.A.R.D. Corps series, even the most seemingly untouchable characters are extremely vulnerable. They can be be wounded, they can be maimed, and, just because someone appears to be a core member of the team, that doesn't mean that their head won't be the next on the chopping block.Zircher Variant HW #3 Nrama: With the Harbinger Foundation, Bloodshot, Renegades, and now H.A.R.D. Corps all fighting each other – this is sounding more and more like Harada could actually come out on top from all of this. Are there dangers of too many units who should be fighting for the same cause entering the fray?
Shamdasani: You're right! They should all be on the same side but they're busy fighting each other. Why would they do that? Who could possibly manipulate them all and who would benefit? Hmmm...
It's something we've talked a great deal about because really it's an opportunity to do something different. Just this week Executive Editor Warren Simons was geeking out about the new scene Josh and Duane have written pitting Bloodshot against Harada. It was not an easy scene to crack. How does Bloodshot possibly take on one of the most powerful men in the world, do it believably and do it without any narrative trickery? It's a storytelling opportunity that allows us to do something unique and frickin' awesome. When the confrontation between these characters finally comes to a head, hold on because hopefully this will be one of the definitive moments of the Harbinger Wars story and one that fans will still be debating long after the issue has hit stands.
Nrama: What is the future of this new/old team? Will they be one-and-done in Harbinger Wars, or will they be sticking around for the long haul? Any specific plans?Zircher Main Cover HW #3 Shamdasani: It really depends. We'd love to see more of them in Harbinger, or possibly even in their own title. It really all depends on if they make it out of Harbinger Wars alive! Anything is possible and we are not a company that is afraid to take chances. In fact, we feel that we have no choice but to take risks if we're going to be successful. It is safe to say, however, that live or die, killed or captured, the sudden re-appearance of the H.A.R.D. Corps in the Valiant Universe -- yes, I said re! -- will have a lasting impact on all the characters involved coming out on the other side of Harbinger Wars in August.
Nrama: What is one thing that may surprise longtime fans about H.A.R.D. Corps' appearance in Harbinger Wars?
Shamdasani: Longtime fans are going to be incredibly happy...at first.
Nrama: And finally, what's one thing your new readers, who came to Valiant with the relaunch, should know about H.A.R.D. Corps going into this issue?
Shamdasani: These guys are dangerous. They are not covert operators and they are not stealthy. When it comes to a precarious situation like the Harbinger Wars, they are a weapon of last resort. We keep saying internally that the H.A.R.D. Corps are not a scalpel. They're more like a landmine. Dropping them into the mix of Harbinger Wars is going to ensure things are explosive – and, rest assured, they are not an element that Bloodshot, Harada, or the Renegades will be anticipating.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!