Review by Ian Keogh
There’s a solid idea underpinning this relay of Valiant characters. A deadly virus in a small test tube has fallen into the hands of a group of anarchists whose purpose for it is unknown. They first need to transport it to a final destination, and for security purposes they’re doing this via a series of dead drops, locations throughout the city known only to them, where something hidden is unlikely to be disturbed until retrieved. As superheroes are generally at a disadvantage tracking a single fast-moving individual through a busy city Aleš Kot sets up an inherent problem, and further restriction is that should the vial at any stage be broken the possibilities could be disastrous. Although, given those possible consequences what’s blithely referred to as collateral damage, ie people likely to die via their presence in the wrong place at the wrong time, is permissible.
The opening segment features X-O, displaying an armoured warrior isn’t of best use in the circumstances, and it’s also not the sequence showing artist Adam Goreham at his best. He has a loose, sketchy style and it’s not suited to the most technically advanced warrior on the planet, resulting in several awkward looking pages. He’s much better when if comes to the lithe athleticism of Archer (from Archer & Armstrong). Equally Archer would have been a far better agent to call upon when parkour was required in the crowded streets of Manhattan, but instead he’s on a train in Brooklyn. Kot’s good at mimicking the indignities the naive Archer suffers in his own title, and the chase switches to Beta-Max, then New York police detective Cujado. Pulling all their strings is British security operative Neville Allcott.
The set-up is far better than the pay-off. Think too much and several unanswered questions occur about the plot, and while Kot deserves some credit for straying onto the path untrodden when it comes to resolutions, it’s anti-climactic. It leaves Dead Drop as a passing fancy, not worth investigating further.