Eric Heisserer is a screenwriter you want to follow. He is known for “The Thing” (2011), “Final Destination 5” (2011), “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010), and “Hours,” (2013) his directorial debut, starring Paul Walker.
You will see his work this year in “Lights Out,” a supernatural horror film directed by David F. Sandberg; and “Arrival,” a sci-fi thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve. “Lights Out” is in theaters starting July 22, 2016 (USA). “Arrival” will open wide on November 11, 2016.
In this interview, we chat about storytelling and we begin with “The Dionaea House,” an online project that launched Eric’s professional screenwriting career with its sale to Warner Bros. in 2005.
DIVINITY II is a satisfying time travel thriller. I love a good time travel tale and this series from Valiant takes us to some very interesting places. You can well imagine that if Vladimir Putin was ruling over the only superpower on the planet that he’d be quite alright with that. A chilling thought but just the right frame of mind to enjoy this comic. Great script by Matt Kindt and a very kinetic style to the artwork by Trevor Hairsine.
A whisper in Gorby’s ear.
We have one rogue character, cosmonaut Myshka, with the potential to shift the balance of power in favor of the Soviet Union that she so dearly misses. Hey, you learn quick that changing history is not exactly a piece of cake. You can’t just whisper into a world leader’s ear, suggest a change of course, and then expect to de-wrinkle a moment in time. Just not gonna happen. Of course, you need a very persistent sort to keep trying and that’s our Myshka. She’s set to give pep talks to everyone from Stalin to Gorbachev. Stay resolute, dudes, Communism is here to stay!
Fun stuff! We’ve seen way too many time travel tales about killing Hitler and saving JFK. That said, I wouldn’t mind a whole series, at least a one-shot issue, dedicated to Jeb Bush going back in time to kill baby Hitler. You remember Jeb Bush, right? Oh, how time flies!
Jeff Lemire is known for his quirky vision. Well, for this project with Valiant Entertainment, he gives us a washed-up grunt who was once the deadly assassin, Bloodshot. In Lemire’s hands, Valiant’s Bloodshot is truly reborn.
Lemire writes it and shares the artwork duties with Mico Suayan. All in all, it is a satisfying offbeat story placing a broken man in direct contrast with the large-than-life force that he used to be. And this sets the tone for the big guy’s return back into the game.
What will set something like this apart requires a great leap of faith since we’ve been down this road before. If the creative team is committed to the project, then readers will respond. The fact is, these type of adventures do sort of write themselves up to a point. You need the vision that Lemire can bring to make it special.
You’ve got all your goodies here: a lone wolf character who has been controlled by Project Rising Star, a shadow government agency. He was known as Bloodshot, all white skin and red eyes, like the scariest ripped clown you’ve ever seen. And all these little nano robots flowing through his bloodstream keeping him alive and in line. And then he escapes. And that wasn’t so good as life off the grid usually goes. But there was that one woman, Kay, the Geomancer, who believed in him.
Take all this Valiant universe stew and let it simmer for a bit. And here’s where you add the quirk. Bloodshot goes incognito. He ends up in the middle of nowhere in Colorado. He takes the name Ray Garrison and now works as the facility guy at the Red River Inn. He sort of becomes friends with Gene, the widower, and her grandson, 12-year-old Toby. But the whole time, he knows something has got to give.
Before too long, things do fall apart. Before we end this first issue, our hero is way in the thick of trouble. And what gets us there is done with good pacing and a certain style. And that’s because a decent story does not write itself! I think Lemire is on to something with his take on Bloodshot. The whole look of the comic is very promising. So far, it has that type of staying power that reminds me of a good Ed Brubaker pot-boiler.
BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 is available as of April 15. For more details, visit our friends at Valiant Entertainment right here.
It is a pleasure to see Matt Kindt’s mind at work. He’s always had a thing for intrigue and circuitous plots. His latest work on Ninjak is right in step with that. I love how this comic opens up with a dramatic fighting scene that turns out to be something from a movie that our main character was viewing when he was a kid. It’s one of those added touches you can expect from Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT). And you’ve got great follow through from artist Clay Mann (X-Men: Legacy, Gambit) in the first of two parallel stories running in our first issue.
The idea is to show you Colin King from two perspectives: as a raw recruit; and, some years later, as a seasoned MI-6 master assassin. Kindt has a way with getting you deep into the story in unexpected ways. We next see Colin fight the sexy and deadly Roku. She’s been genetically enhanced. Her hair alone is a lethal weapon. It just takes three braided strands and her hair can “garrote or behead a man. It can cut through metal and it has incendiary capabilities.” Whoa, hang on there, how do you “garrote” a man? Yikes, that’s smarts. Quite quirky and memorable line. Kindt is definitely the guy to take Valiant’s Ninjak to new places.
Let’s linger just a bit more. Here’s the thing with a Kindt adventure, it just keeps building, twisting, and turning. That opening scene with the kid repeats itself in different ways to reveal a tumultuous and abused young life. But the kid keeps fighting.
We ultimately find Colin infiltrating the notorious Shadow Seven and then we make the jump to Colin as a raw recruit in North Korea, this time teaming up Kindt with artist Butch Guice (Captain America, Action Comics). The style is rougher and fits in well with that more gritty time in Colin’s life. This second ongoing story lacks some of the potency of the first but perhaps that balances things out. The thing I like most, so far, in this whole comic is the flipping back and forth between the 10 year-od Colin and the 30 year-old Colin in our first story. Overall, this is a well-executed first issue.
NINJAK #1 is available now. For more details, visit our friends at Valiant Entertainment right here.
Fred Van Lente (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four) knows how to spin a yarn. In “Ivar, Timewalker,” he takes us on a time-traveling adventure full of heart. With one of these stories, you’ve got to have a device or portal or some kind of method. Here, we’ve got the Tachyon Compass. And you’d better have compelling characters too and we do with Neela and Ivar. You see, Ivar seems to have gone rogue. And, Neela, who has been pursuing him, has also fallen in love with him. Go figure. These things happen. If it’s not attempting to kill Hitler, then love is in the air.
Back with his partner, artist Clayton Henry (Archer & Armstrong), Van Lente rolls out a daringly gritty and funny tale. It’s a balancing act, for sure. Neela is quite the spitfire and takes her fire spitting seriously. And you need a sense of humor when you delve into some Nazi torture. It gets a bit bloody but it’s all one of a piece and makes sense within context.
So, while in hot pursuit of Ivar, Neela loses him and gains a stalker, The Lurker. With Issue 3, we find Neela desperately trying to get back on track. She stumbles upon Gilad, Ivar’s brother from another life, and nearly sideswipes Hitler! And then there are these creatures from the fourth dimension who would like to have a word with Neela if only she’d hold still long enough. Pretty good stuff.
IVAR, TIMEWALKER #3 is available as of March 18. For more details, visit our friends at Valiant Entertainment right here.
Harbinger: Faith #0 Variant Cover B by Lucy Knisley
Faith Herbert is a “heavy woman,” as she puts it, but she’s totally fine with that. She loves her body and herself. In today’s society, she’s bucking the systematic glorification of supermodels–but she’s not losing any sleep over it. She’s even bucking the superhero requirements of uber-athletic builds. And, of course, she’s Valiant Entertainment’s answer to the all too typical overtly sexual depiction of women in comics.
Gilad has great powers, really great powers, as The Eternal Warrior. But his arch-foe is just as powerful. Hey, he might even be Satan or pretty high up there. He’s The Immortal Enemy. And these two have been duking it out for coming on, what, ten thousand years? That’s pretty long! Well, Gilad is a proud fella and pride never goes out of style.
But Gilad is struggling to adjust to the 21st century. He just might be due for an oil change and a new sidekick. Enter a new breed of Geomancer, this is a young blonde who might have let her alias get the better of her. That will happen when you start to believe your work in public relations is actually real work. This time, the eternal battle is going to require something more. This time, they’re going to need The Valiant!
If you’re new to the Valiant universe, this is a perfect time to dive into an epic story from New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) & Matt Kindt (RAI, Mind MGMT) and Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera (Daredevil). All systems go. Everything here is smooth and appealing. You’ve got your epic battle and a nice mix of humor, intrigue, and adventure. Sounds like a sweet deal.
“The Valiant #1” is available as of December 10. For more details, visit our friends at Valiant Entertainment right here.