Proving Ground – Unity Volume 2: Trapped by Webnet

In the latest volume of Unity, the team still fresh off their battle against Aric, the X-O Manowar, now have to face off against their latest threat which is the strange and evil Dr. Silk.  Joining the team as an ally instead of an enemy is the very same Aric of Dacia because alone, they will not be able to complete the job without him.  Written by Matt Kindt with art by CAFU, the three issues that comprise the latest arc, as well as a reprint of X-O Manowar #5, are exciting and action-packed with the team facing what seems like an unstoppable foe.  As a team, this will be their first mission without Harada at the helm and will determine if they can actually do what they set out to do.  Should not be a problem whatsoever.

Kindt does a great job with the story, loading the book full of action and suspense with a little mystery thrown in for good measure.  The pacing is break-neck at times and the book reads exceptionally fast.  Dr. Silk is a fascinating villain, one that almost seems like he could be at Harada’s level of evil genius, and maybe even surpass him.  Perhaps it is because Dr. Silk is able to download his consciousness into any person on the planet that happens to be infected with a code that he has created, thus making him essentially immortal.  If there was a reason for this team to stick around, Kindt has supplied it in this second story arc.  As a whole, team books are great ideas and Valiant is not exactly known for having really strong teams, so it is good to see that Unity is turning out to be one of their must-read titles.

As such, it is not only villains that Kindt is good at writing.  The entire team is quite the motley crew to throw together.  Livewire, the only woman on the team, is an extremely interesting character and it would be great if she was featured just a little bit more than she currently is.  She has a great power-set and while Aric, Gilaad and Ninjak are known fairly well, Livewire is still a bit of an unknown.  Conversely, it is great to see Ninjak heading up the team as he does not seem like the type to do so, but Kindt goes against the grain on this one and it turns out to be a good idea.  While X-O is onboard for this arc, having him stay on can only be a good thing, for the team and the book.  It is not only because he is the biggest name on the team, but he offers powers that the rest of them simply do not possess.

There is one problem with this trade paperback and it has nothing to do with the writer or the artist.  At only three issues of the actual Unity title, this trade was a little on the light side.  Even though it is sometimes said that quality makes up for the price, it is not so in this case.  This second volume was just as good as the first and the first was four issues for a lower price.  In this instance, if somebody picks this up who has never read a Valiant book before, the reprint is a good idea, but most people are not going to start on the second volume of a book, they will obviously start with the first.  It would have been nice to have either had one more issue, or another arc at a higher price to make this book ultimately worth it, but price-wise, it sadly was not.

Aside from a single flaw that was more than likely the product of poor planning, the rest of the book was done up quite well.  CAFU’s artwork is clean and expressive and his action scenes are exciting and thrilling.  The book moves at a mile a minute and it takes no time to read at all, but the best thing about it is once done, you want to read it again.  Matt Kindt was a good choice by Valiant to head this book up and not only is it full of great heroes and situations, it is smart and inventive as well as proven by Dr. Silk and his uncanny way to gain immortality.  A really great and fun title.  If you are not reading this book, this is one you should consider giving a shot.

4 out of 5

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