Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!
Since their relaunch in 2012, Valiant (give ‘em a follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr!) has been putting out top-quality comics in a tight, shared universe that has garnered consistent critical acclaim. Some books regularly cross over or feature characters from other books, while others are pretty much entirely independent. They have a wide variety of genres, from political action-thrillers, high-concept sci-fi, supernatural romance, and buddy action-comedies, so there’s something for everyone!
All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!
Archer & Armstrong
Obadiah Archer is a naive assassin raised in an fundamentalist cult called the Dominion, part of a larger conspiracy of groups called The Sect who aim to take over the world. Aram Anni-Padda, aka Armstrong, is a 6,000 year old immortal warrior who is more content drinking, reading poetry, and palling around with artists. Archer is sent out by his parents to kill Armstrong and gather the parts of the Boon, which granted Armstrong and his brothers immortality, only to learn the truth about his parents’ evil plans. Together they travel the world fighting the various arms of the Sect, including a Wall Street death cult called the 1% and psychic Nazi Tibetan Monks.
Genres: Action, adventure, comedy For fans of: Globetrotting adventure, social/pop culture satire, mismatched buddy action-comedies, Marvel’s The Incredible Hercules, The Venture Brothers Number of volumes: 7
A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong
The continuing adventures of Valiant’s mismatched pairing of a drunken immortal warrior and his super-polite assassin best friend. The new series finds Armstrong reminiscing about an old friend, so he dives deep into his magic bag to retrieve an old bottle of whiskey (Lagavulin 1907, to be precise). Along the way he gets captured by the mad party god Bacchus, who has been trapped in the bag for millennia and now commands armies of goblins and monsters. Archer discovers his friend is missing and dives straight into the weirdness contained within Armstrong’s bag. Genres: Action, adventure, comedy, fantasy
For fans of: The Venture Brothers, Cartoony action, buddy action-comedies, bizarre adventures with goofy new characters Number of volumes: 3
Bloodshot is an amnesiac soldier, enhanced with nanomachines that give him a variety of abilities including enhanced strength, speed, and the capability to withstand and recover from an ungodly amount of damage. For years he was used by the private military corporation Project Rising Spirit as the perfect weapon for a variety of black operations. On one mission he was captured by a rogue PRS scientist who revealed the truth to him. Now, Bloodshot seeks revenge on the people who manipulated him for years, as well as redemption for all of the atrocities committed while under PRS’ control.
Genres: Action, political thriller, military sci-fi For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Comic and film), the Bourne films Number of volumes: 6
Following the events of The Valiant, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. Eager to escape the violence and chaos of his past life but still plagued by nightmares of the atrocities he has committed, he works as a handyman in a small-town motel. He is reluctantly pulled back into action when a rash of mass shootings occurs committed by people with white skin and red circles on their chests.
Genres: Action, thriller For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, psychological thrillers, redemption stories, Old Man Logan, The Punisher Number of volumes: 4
After the events of Bloodshot USA, Ray Garrison, the man formely known as Bloodshot, has finally found peace with his love Magic and their baby daughter Jessie. But when Magic’s horrific family creeps back into the picture, Bloodshot is once again called back to his old life of violence in the name of protecting his family. Also, in the near future, Bloodshot is missing and Magic and Jessie are hunted relentlessly by agents of Omen (risen from the ashes of Project Rising Spirit) including the sinister super soldier Rampage, an evil mirror image of Bloodshot.
Genres: Action, thriller For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, Taken, family dramas, Logan (movie), Lone Wolf and Cub Number of volumes: 3
For 6,000 years Gilad Anni-Padda, the youngest and bravest of the three immortal Anni-Padda brothers, has fought at the behest of the Geomancer, who can speak with the spirit of the Earth itself. After millenia of constant warfare, he has grown weary and simply wants to live a quiet life in peace. However, for the Eternal Warrior, the battle is never far behind.
Genres: Action, adventure, fantasy For fans of: 300, historical action/drama Number of volumes: 3
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior
Following the events of Book of Death, Eternal Warrior Gilad Anni-Padda finds himself in a foreign yet familiar place far beyond the reaches of life and time itself. Surrounded by strange, evil forces and an overwhelming sense of dread, he sets out to return to the world of the living.
Genres: Action, supernatural For fans of: action, horror Number of volumes: 3
Spinning out of the pages of Harbinger and Unity, fan favorite Faith Herbert aka Zephyr is setting out on her own to discover what it means to be a solo superhero. Hiding her identity as mild-mannered blogger Summer Smith, the high-flying fangirl heads out to Los Angeles where in between stopping muggers and puppy-nappers she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy.
Genres: Action, superhero For fans of: Ms. Marvel, bright, fun, and positive superheroics, stories with a strong female lead Number of volumes: 4
Raised by the paramilitary corporation Project Rising Spirit to be psychic weapons, the group of psiot teens known as Generation Zero have escaped and gone underground. Now they’ve sworn to use their powers to protect each other, as well as to fight for a generation without a future.
Genres: Action, teen drama, sci-fi For fans of: Runaways, the A-Team, Stranger Things, Doom Patrol Number of volumes: 2
Peter Stanchek is a psiot, an individual with incredible psychic powers. He is recruited into the Harbinger Foundation by Toyo Harada, a rich philanthropist and easily the most powerful psiot ever. Peter is horrified to learn of Harada’s methods and intentions of global domination. He escapes and recruits a team to fight against Harada: Kris, a brilliant childhood friend with no powers; Torque, a disabled young man whose psychic powers make him appear as a big, strong, superhero; Flamingo, a woman who can create and manipulate fire; and Faith, a full-figured, confident, geeky young woman who can fly.
Genres: Action, teen drama, sci-fi For fans of: Runaways, a darker, more grounded take on the X-Men Number of volumes: 6
In the fallout of the events of the end of Harbinger, the Renegades are scattered. Peter is gone, and with all of the Harbinger Foundation’s secrets out in the open, psiots with amazing powers are appearing right and left. However, the already-dangerous nature of psiot activation is made even more deadly by untrained builders using DIY systems. With a new, darker threat on the horizon, the Renegades must regroup and fight back against the coming storm.
Genres: Action, teen drama, sci-fi For fans of: Runaways, a darker, more grounded take on the X-Men Number of volumes: 2
Following the events of Harbinger, all-powerful psiot Toyo Harada decides to take a more active role in the shaping his vision of humanity’s future. Gathering an incredible force including a genetically engineered Vine assassin, a former terrorist-turned-super-soldier, a pacifist killer robot, and an amoral interdimensional scientist, Harada begins his “battle for Utopia,” which he is determined to win at any cost.
Genres: Action, sci-fi, political thriller For fans of: Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts, villains who believe that they’re the hero Number of volumes: 3
Ivar, the oldest and wisest of the three immortal Anni-Padda brothers, can track small holes in space-time that he uses to travel through time. Dr. Neela Sethi is a brilliant young physicist working at CERN who discovers time travel. Their paths cross immediately before she makes this discovery, and they end up teaming with Ivar’s brothers Armstrong and Gilad, traveling across space and time, including (not) killing Hitler, the end of all time, alternate timelines, and the 41st century. Did I mention clown vikings? Because clown vikings.
Genres: Adventure, comedy, sci-fi For fans of: Doctor Who, exciting adventures with a lot of humor Number of volumes: 3
Colin King aka Ninjak is a British aristocrat and one of MI-6’s top intelligence agents. His solo book follows his hunt for the Shadow Seven, an international criminal cabal connected the people who trained him to be the world-class operative/assassin that he is today, as well as his formative years as a child and later as a new recruit with MI-6.
Genres: Action, adventure, spy thriller For fans of: the James Bond films, Batman, high-tech spy action Number of volumes: 5
Colin King is the latest in a long line of elite ninja agents trained and operated by the British government, dating back to the first World War. The past and present of the Ninja Programme will collide when numerous past ninja agents are killed one by one by a mysterious assailaint, and only Ninjak can stop it.
Genres: Action, adventure, spy thriller For fans of: the James Bond films, Batman, high-tech spy action, conspiracy thrillers Number of volumes: 2
Quantum and Woody
Straight-laced Eric and sleazy con man Woody are estranged foster brothers, brought back together by the murder of their father. During their investigation they end up accidentally gaining amazing powers, but have to KLANG their wristbands together every 24 hours or they will de-atomize completely. Eric, calling himself Quantum, is determined to be a superhero, while Woody is more focused on using his powers for fame and fortune. Throughout their misadventures they run afoul of everyone from separatist militias to a Thomas Edison-founded super science terrorist organization.
Genres: Action, comedy, satire For fans of: Psych, The Venture Brothers, buddy action comedies, political/social satire, equally crass and heartfelt characterization Number of volumes: 4
Quantum and Woody (2017)
Dysfunctional superhero brothers Eric (aka Quantum) and Woody Henderson have become estranged, living separate lives but still (begrudgingly) meeting up once every 24 hours to KLANG their wristbands together. The cause of their estrangement? Eric discovered the identity and whereabouts of Woody’s birth father, but kept that to himself. Wackiness and brotherly hijinks ensue when Woody teams up with a questionable-at-best organization who promises he can be free of Eric forever if he helps them steal an ultra-secret item from a government facility, where Eric happens to be a security guard.
Genres: Action, comedy For fans of: Arrested Development, The Venture Brothers, buddy action comedies Number of volumes: 2
Witness the future of the Valiant Universe in the 41st century. Japan was built up and developed into a massive pillar, which detached from Earth and is now an orbiting station home to billions of people. New Japan is run by a benevolent artificial intelligence called Father, and the nation itself has divided into sectors based on social hierarchy. Enforcing Father’s justice is the near-mythic figure Rai, the spirit guardian of New Japan, who is called to investigate the first murder in centuries.
Genres: Action, sci-fi For fans of: futuristic/cyberpunk sci-fi, Japanese culture, Akira, The Matrix, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell Number of volumes: 4
Jack Boniface has inherited his late father’s role as the Shadowman, a supernatural guardian against the forces of Master Darque and the Deadside. The gritty underworld of New Orleans will become a supernatural battleground as Jack struggles to live up to his father’s legacy and preventing the forces of darkness from running rampant on the world of the living.
Genres: Horror, action For fans of: horror with a voodoo/Cajun bent, Supernatural (TV series) Number of volumes: 5
Having returned from the Deadside, Jack Boniface is ready to reclaim his title as the supernatural defender Shadowman. As it turns out, he’s the latest in a long line of Shadowmen, dating back to the mid-19th century when the mystical loa bonded with his ancestor and fated Jack to his destiny.
Genres: Horror, action For fans of: horror with a voodoo/Cajun bent, Supernatural (TV series) Number of volumes: 1
The team of machine-talking psiot Livewire, Gilad Anni-Padda the Eternal Warrior, MI-6 operative Colin King aka Ninjak, and Aric of Dacia aka X-O Manowar unite to use their unique skills to counter global threats to humanity, including psychic terrorist sleeper cells, intergalactic alien hunters, and Toyo Harada himself.
Genres: Action, sci-fi For fans of: The Avengers, Justice League, team books, non-stop action Number of volumes: 7
Aric of Dacia is a 5th century Visigoth warrior. Brave, noble, but brash to a fault, he was on the verge of leading his people to sack Rome. Immediately before the final push, he was kidnapped by a scout team of aliens known as the Vine. Along with several of his fellow Visigoths as well as other humans from around the world, he was enslaved and tortured for years until he stole the Vine’s sacred X-O Manowar armor and returned to Earth. However, due to time dilation from lightspeed travel, 1600 years had passed and he was now in the present. A man out of time and equipped with invincible power armor, Aric declares himself protector of Earth against all threats.
Genres: Action, sci-fi For fans of: “Man out of time” tropes, fast-paced storytelling, the idea of how a superpowered person would shift global politics Number of volumes: 13
X-O Manowar (2017)
On a distant world, the weary Aric of Earth tries to find peace, far away from the war and strife that has followed him his entire life. However, when he is conscripted into action to fight a war between two long-warring factions, the man once known as X-O Manowar will once again don the unstoppable alien armor and rise from soldier to general to emperor.
Genres: Action, sci-fi, war For fans of: space operas, The Longest Day, fantasy, Star Wars Number of volumes (to date): 4
After a failed attempt to overthrow Father and free New Japan from his despotic rule, Rai finds himself exiled to a barren and desolate Earth. However, he won’t be alone, with allies including a much older and wiser Eternal Warrior and a gigantic power armor derived from the original X-O Manowar. The fight for the future begins in 4001 AD.
Genres: Action, sci-fi For fans of: Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, futuristic sci-fi, cyberpunk, revolution stories
The Armor Hunters are a corps of elite soldiers, gathered to stop the growing spread of unstoppable power armors across the universe. Their hunt leads them to Earth and puts not only X-O Manowar, but all of humanity in the crosshairs.
Genres: Action, sci-fi, crossovers For fans of: Sci-fi action on an epic scale
In the fallout of Bloodshot Island (Bloodshot Reborn #14-18), Project Rising Spirit has initiated the next phase of their Deathmate project: infecting Manhattan with a nano-virus that turns regular people into unstoppable Bloodshot drones! Bloodshot and Bloodshot Squad (old Bloodshots from wars gone by) must lead the most dangerous invasion ever on American soul to save New York and the world itself!
Genres: Action, sci-fi For fans of: smart, exciting action movies, The Rock (film), The Punisher
Book of Death
Following the events of The Valiant, the Earth seems to be rebelling against humanity, with bizarre natural disasters killing hundreds of people. Having brought a young Geomancer named Tama from the distant future to the present day, Gilad Anni-Padda consults her knowledge of future events in order to stop the death and destruction caused by the Earth itself.
Genres: Action, fantasy For fans of: crossovers, fast-paced event books with major consequences
At the height of Nero’s reign of the Roman Empire, “Detectioner” and Legionnaire Antonius Axia is sent to the farthest reaches of the Empire to investigate the reports of strange events coming from the isle of Britannia. On the fringes of civilization he will face unimaginable horrors that blur the line between real and nightmare.
As Rome’s leading (and only) detectioner, Antonius Axia is dispatched by Nero to investigate a string of gruesome murder of Roman nobility, the only connection between them being a bloody statue of Apollo found at each of the murder sites. Meanwhile, a fierce woman gladiator is only a few victories away from earning her freedom, stirring up whispers of uprising in the empire.
Genres: Action, horror, mystery, crime noir For fans of: Gladiator (film), psychological thrillers, historical action, pulp detective stories, Roman mythology
Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome
When three of Rome’s finest legions are soundly defeated by Germanic barbarian hordes and the eagle standards they carried signifying them as mighty Roman troops are stolen, the mad emperor Nero dispatches detectioner Antonius Axia and his companion, the former gladiatrix Achillia to recover the lost symbols. Their journey leads them to the depths of terror and madness in the woodlands of Tottenwald as they discover the true power of the lost eagles.
Genres: Action, horror, mystery For fans of: psychological thrillers, historical action, Roman mythology, H.P. Lovecraft
Four interconnected stories follow the unlikely grouping of X-O Manowar, Archer, Detective Cejudo, Beta-Max, and MI-6 operative Neville Alcott as they desperately pursue a courier carrying a deadly alien virus across New York City. If they don’t catch the virus before it’s released, it’s the end of all life on Earth as we know it.
Genres: Action For fans of: fast-paced non-stop action
Conspiracy-busting best pals Archer & Armstrong team up with the World’s Worst Superhero Team of Quantum & Woody in a cross-crountry adventure to find a massive hoard of hobo treasure while preventing it from falling into the wrong hands. Using an ass-map. Yes, really.
Genres: Adventure, comedy For fans of: crossovers, road trip comedies, The Venture Brothers, team-up stories
Decades ago, Abram Adams was the USSR’s top candidate selected for a top-secret program that would not only beat the Americans into space, but to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. He was lost, presumed dead, and erased from the history books. Now he has returned in the present with the powers of a god.
Genres: Sci-fi For fans of: smart sci-fi, 2001: A Space Odyssey
In the first Divinity miniseries, a trio of cosmonauts were sent to the furthest depths of space. One of them returned with godlike powers, threatening to shift the balance of world affairs. Now another has returned, and is setting her sights on using her immense powers to restore Mother Russia to her former Soviet glory.
Genres: Sci-fi, political thriller For fans of: classic sci-fi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cold War thrillers
Divinity III: Stalinverse
Following the events of Divinity II, the world as we know it has changed. The Soviet Union won the Cold War and now rules and globe with an iron fist, their rule enforced by the nanite-enhanced Komandar Bloodshot, alien armored champion Aric, Son of the Revolution, and the godlike cosmonaut Myshka. Amongst all this, Soviet Agent Colin King remembers a world of heroes, and seeks out the omnipotent Divinity to restore the world to normal.
Genres: Sci-fi, political thriller For fans of: smart sci-fi, alternate history, Cold War thrillers
Outside of our known universe of space and time, a parallel realm has developed full of mystery and wonder, linked intangibly but irrevocably to our own. What are these links, and what do its inhabitants want with the son of Abram Adams, the being known as Divinity? Join Abram and his companion Myshka as the venture into the infinite realm and encounter the Unknown itself, source of their godlike powers.
Genres: Sci-fi For fans of: smart sci-fi, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moebius/Jodorowsky, Kirby and Ditko’s psychedelic work in the 1970s
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage
Shan Fong, better known as Doctor Mirage, has the ability to talk to the dead, a gift she uses to help solve murders and bring peace to the grieving. Sadly, the only one she can’t communicate with is her recently-deceased husband Hwen. Shan embarks on a journey into the world of the dead in the hopes of finding her lost love, before he is truly lost forever.
Genres: Supernatural, horror, romance, drama For fans of: supernatural romance, strong female leads, varying ways people deal with grief
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives
Following the events of the first miniseries, Shan and Hwen Fong are searching for some way to restore Hwen to his physical form. They discover an ancient, obscure spell that can do exactly that, only to find that it accompanied by an unspeakable evil that threatens to destroy both the living and the dead.
Genres: Supernatural, horror, romance, action, drama For fans of: romance, strong female leads, Supernatural (TV series)
Faith and the Future Force
Time itself is unraveling as a mysterious foe is destroying the threads of history, throwing all of reality into chaos. Dr. Neela Sethi, Timewalker, recruits LA’s own high-flying fangirl Faith and they set out on an epic mission across all of space and time to prevent everything that is, was, or ever will be from being destroyed.
Genres: Action, sci-fi For fans of: strong female leads, time travel
Bloodshot and the psiot children rescued from Project Rising Spirit, Toyo Harada and the Harbinger Foundation, the group of psiots known as Generation Zero, Peter Stanchek and his Renegades, and the advanced paramilitary force of Project Rising Spirit all come crashing together on the Las Vegas Strip in the first Valiant crossover, featuring the casts of Bloodshot and Harbinger.
Genres: Action, sci-fi, crossovers For fans of: Large scale action
Harbinger Wars II
With the sudden surge in the number of active psiots following the release of the Harbinger Foundation’s data, the government dispatches the paramilitary organization Omen and their H.A.R.D. Corps unit to stem the tide. Meanwhile, the Harbinger Renegades have been building a force of psiots with astonishing abilities to stand up against the oppression brought down by Omen and their army of thugs. This also draws the attention of X-O Manowar, having just returned from his own odyssey of war and struggle on a distant world. Still more, Amanda McKee aka Livewire sees the growing threat of Omen and must choose between her allegiance to the government and her own team of Secret Weapons. In the ensuing chaos, Bloodshot and Ninjak are dispatched to stop Livewire at all costs.
Genres: Action, sci-fi, crossovers For fans of: Large scale action
In the mysterious and dangerous realm known as the Deadside, Tama the Geomancer of Earth must gather the eclectic team of Ninjak, Shadowman, and Punk Mambo to stop an ancient foe from breaking through to the walls of heaven and destroy all of creation.
Genres: Action, adventure, fantasy For fans of: Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones
In the past, world-famous soccer star Kevin Sauvage, his wife Veronica, and their infant son Kevin, Jr. crash land on an uncharted island. However the island is far from deserted… Deep in the jungles lie monstrous reptilian horrors from the prehistoric era! The family must struggle not only to survive, but to retain their very humanity. Today, Kevin, Jr. is alone on the island, struggling day-to-day to survive and fighting off vicious dinosaurs at every turn.
Genres: Adventure, action, horror For fans of: dinosaur action, the Savage Land, survival/castaway stories
The technopath hero Livewire, in an effort to fight evil and protect the innocent, recruits a team of psiots with seemingly useless powers: a girl who can talk to birds, a young man who can make anything appear but with no control over what appears or when, and a man who can make anything glow with a soft green light. Drawn out by the killer mechanical horror known as Rex-O, Livewire’s team will realize their full potential and show that no matter how useless, their powers can make a world of difference.
For 6,000 years during his time as the Eternal Warrior, Gilad Anni-Padda has faced the Immortal Enemy three times. Three times he has failed, which led to the Geomancer dying and Earth being plunged into a new dark age. This time, he won’t be fighting alone. Valiant’s major event of 2014 brings together every major hero of the Valiant Universe, with a main focus on Bloodshot and the Eternal Warrior.
Genres: Action, adventure, horror For fans of: fast-paced event books with lasting consequences
A re-imagining of the heroes and villains of the Valiant universe as high school students and their teachers. X-O Manowar as the hotshot quarterback, Livewire and Faith as the lead besties, Ninjak as the mysterious new foreign exchange student, Bloodshot as the overly-intense gym coach, among others. Laughs, thrills, and romance abound, and you never know who will turn up in the halls at Valiant High!
Genres: Comedy, romance For fans of: Archie, Ms. Marvel, Teen Titans GO!
2,000 years in the future, a lone warrior and her sentient sniper rifle are all that stand between a peaceful village in the jungles of former Central America and a violent end at the hands and claws and fangs of unspeakable mutant horrors that lie just beyond the walls.