ARCHIVE - Barry Reese's Guide to Unity 2000

During the Unity 2000 series (1999-2000), originally planned to be six issues,
Barry Reese maintained a very nice issue-by-issue guide online.

Unity 2000 and all other Acclaim comics were cancelled in December 2000 after Unity 2000 #3.

Thanks go out to Barry for allowing this archive of his Guide to UNITY 2000...

This series brings back the original Valiant Heroes and is written by Jim Shooter, with art by Jim Starlin. Considering the monumental nature of this series, I'll be analyzing each issue in-depth. At the bottom of the page is a cover gallery.

ISSUE NUMBER ONE : The limited series kicks off with a bang, as the Master Darque of VH-2 (the second Valiant Universe) embarks on a plan to grant the dead dominance over the living throughout the multiverse. To this end, he and his sister Sandria have moved into the Lost Land in order to bring about his "hegemony of death." Having realized that only a Jack Boniface could prevent his plan, Darque has slaughtered Bonifaces throughout the multiverse -- but, unknown to him, he has missed one. The Jack Boniface from the original Shadowman series had been saved from death by his lover Elya and taken to the 41st Century. When Solar learns of the threat, he gathers together many of the world's heroes (Magnus, X-O Manowar, Eternal Warrior, the Harbinger kids, Bloodshot, Geoff the Geomancer, and Archer & Armstrong) and takes them into the Lost Land. After a battle with a Darque-enhanced Sandria and a legion of zombies, the heroes realize that all might be lost as Darque's final plan moves into action. The sudden arrival of Shadowman (Jack), however, saves the day -- though it costs Jack his life. Darque and Sandria escape, but Solar knows that their threat will return.

While I personally hate the fact that Shooter chooses to write these characters like they never advanced past Unity (which is when Shooter stopped writing them back in '92 or so), it was good to see them again. I've always liked multiverses, so the general theme of this series is fine with me -- though I dread the merged universe and this sort of thing (the merging of multiple realities) has become cliche since the Crisis on Infinite Earths series was published by DC Comics back in 1985. The final death of Jack Boniface wasn't quite as touching as I would have liked but overall I'd give this issue a somewhat uncertain thumb's up.

ISSUE NUMBER TWO : This issue is a major improvement over the first. Primarily a Solar story, this issue features a major turning point in the series. Phil Seleski (the VH1 Solar) discusses the nature of the multiverse with his girlfriend Gayle -- apparently each of the 'copies' is more and more removed from the original, resulting in universes that aren't steeped in reality like VH1. This is once again Shooter's way of criticizing the Valiant comics published after he was forced out. Solar seeks out Erica Pierce (Mothergod, from the original Unity series) and asks her how and why she sought to merge all realities. Deciding that she was right, Solar makes the decision to wipe out all realities save his. Darque, not pleased with this, seeks help from Lucifer Morningstar. Morningstar is quite a character -- basically the Judeo-Christian Devil, he lives in the suburbs with his wife and daughter. Morningstar helps Darque find the creature that lives at the heart of all reality -- a big, bloated monster that feeds off the multiversal energy. Darque tries to strike at Solar, resulting in the death of Gayle. Solar reananimates her, but promises that Darque is going to pay.

I really enjoyed this one, far more than the sometimes uneven first issue. By focusing more directly on Solar, Shooter avoids the continuity gaffes he made in the first one (and yes, I know -- he's writing heroes from the reality he created. Whatever). Nobody writes Solar like Jim Shooter. I also began to enjoy Shooter's Darque a lot more than before. While he seemed like a generic nut in the first issue, he's far more interesting here. And I love Morningstar! Very good characterization. An enthusiastic thumb's-up.

ISSUE NUMBER THREE (updated 07/27/00): The best issue yet. Gayle is acting very strangely, with a flat affect. Darque points this out at one point and I'm guessing that Solar's "resurrection" has left some nasty after-effects. Solar continues his plan to destroy the multiverse. He travels to an alternate reality where a variant Solar destroyed the world and he tests his new plan -- to create a multiversal 'black hole' that will fold all realities back into the original one. Darque and Morningstar (who's been paid off for his help thanks to Sandria's sexual prowess) watch in horror as Solar successfully destroys the alternate reality he's found. Darque, depressed over Morningstar's reluctance to take an active role against Solar, is somewhat cheered up by Sandria's attentions. Meanwhile, Solar has invited Magnus to stay at his home to serve as Gayle's bodyguard while the Man of the Atom is away. When Darque sends an X-O Manowar variant to kill her, Magnus engages X-O in bloody battle. In the end, he slays X-O but demands that Solar tell him what's going on -- Darque is amused to realize that Solar will have to lie to his friends to retain their aid. In this case, truth is on Darque's side. He tells Sandria that he'll destroy Solar's world and his friends.

The highlight of this issue is the X-O/Magnus fight. While some of X-O's dialogue is off, overall this was very intense. Seeing Magnus slay X-O was awesome -- they're my two favorite Valiant characters and I've always wondered who would win in the end. It's also interesting to point out that this X-O is the post-Birthquake X-O. He's wearing the armor designed by Bart Sears around X-O # 50. Sandria, with this issue, has become a favorite as well. I like her! A very, very enthusiastic thumb's up! Hopefully the next three issues will come out on time!

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This archived webpage has been preserved in its original format,
with the only change being that the "Click to enlarge" photos of the comic covers
now point to the VALIANT Revisited Database listings for these issues,
showing the enlarged photos and database information, instead of
showing only the enlarged photos.

All comic images are © Acclaim Ent.