Revisiting 'Unity': The Crossover That Shook The Valiant Universe


Yesterday, Valiant announced that they would be resurrecting the "Unity" name with a new project starting in November.

So why does that have some old-school Valiant fans excited? What did the original universe-shattering (literally) event do for the line and more importantly... who is Mothergod?

The two-issue miniseries (including the freebie "Unity" #0, and "Unity" #1) stretched throughout the entire line as the Valiant heroes were confronted with the reality-bending villainess Erica Pierce. Of course, that wasn't the name she was going by: Pierce made her home in the time-tossed Lost Land and redubbed herself "Mothergod" before embarking on a plan to rewrite time and the universe. The story brought together characters from April 1992 to the year 4001 with Rai and Magnus entering the conflict, actually creating a loop in the latter's origin story. It's heady, weird, high sci-fi stuff that kicked off the second phase of the Valiant U, all the more exciting because it was so interconnected.

It's admirable how compact the story is, albeit at the time, there were only six ongoing titles and two--"Eternal Warrior" and "Archer & Armstrong" introduced during the course of the event. Again, this was the beginning of a new phase for Valiant, which stretched its continuity backwards and forward through time to explain more of itself, paving the way for the introductions of Bloodshot later that year as well as the dinosaur-hunting Turok in the series proper.

But it was the book's heavy, Erica Pierce who was the real star of "Unity." Pierce--designed by the great, mostly M.I.A. in comics today Barry Windsor-Smith--was a fascinating if problematic construct: a powerful woman driven by some pretty striking psychological trauma, she was nonetheless a collection of unsettling and overt Oedipal issues--see her relationship with her sadistic son Prince Albert*, which spawned side dramas throughout the "Unity" saga. Pay attention to the design Smith created for the character: a bracing mix of sexuality and casual danger. Smith's original, NSFW designs (here's one--Smith's personal site with more images appears to be down) featured a mostly-nude pierce under diaphanous wrappings, she required no more protection from the world than her boots, her own anger and incalculable power.

She's Solar's first evil twin (Poor physicist Phil Seleski was filthy with doubles and dopplegangers): created in the same accident that spawned the physics-bending hero, she was likewise granted the ability to move through time at will. And she's not happy about the timeline, which she views as imperfect. So from her base in the mash-up pocket universe of the Lost Land, she plans to merge all timelines together to something more her liking. Here's hoping an incarnation of Pierce as messy, complicated, and dangerous as the original shows up in the new Valiant.

"Unity" was a big deal for the original line: not only was it the first company-wide crossover, but the relative rarity of some of those early issues drove up demand for Valiant books as a whole, really feeding into the speculator's boom from that era. Back then, you could try finding pre-"Unity" issues of "Rai" or "Shadowman" but you'd have to be willing to shell out big bucks to get them.

So what's in store for this new "Unity?" How will it reshape the new Valiant universe? We'll have to find out in November.


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