I've never read a Valiant comic. I remember all the cool kids at the comic-book shop in the '90s were reading "X-O Manowar," but, alas, I wasn't a cool kid, so I wasn't. As such, this series is meant exactly for me, the collector who feels intimidated jumping into an entirely new universe. The good news is that Lemire and Kindt do a great job making it an easy introduction.
By the end of the issue, we know the back stories of a few characters that I recognize just from being a denizen of comic-book shops, such as Bloodshot, Armstrong (of Archer and Armstrong), and X-O Manowar. We're also introduced to Gilad the Eternal Warrior (Armstrong's brother) and the Geomancer, and Lemire does it in a way that similarly gives you a good sense of who they are and what their goals are. We've even identified the Big Bad, the Immortal Enemy. It's still not clear why the Immortal Enemy is charged with killing Geomancers or why Gilad is charged with saving them, but I assume that we'll get there. We've also got some spy stuff happening on the margins, with Bloodshot collecting some sort of mysterious pacakage for MI-6, that I assume will be important later.
In other words, if you were tempted to get this issue, follow that hunch and get it. It's not only a great introduction to Valiant, but it's actually, most importantly, an interesting story, and God knows we need as many as those as we can get in comics.
*** (three of five stars)