Since its rebirth a few years ago, the Valiant Universe has been nothing if not bold. They’ve pushed their characters in new and exciting ways, clearly allowing creators to swing for fences and really reshape, rethink, and redesign their stable of players. That said, they were still the same old Valiant characters. Repackaged with new takes, sure, but all in all the same characters Valiant was playing with in the ’90s. That is, of course, until Divinity.
When Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine launched Divinity, they were in completely uncharted waters. “It’s fun—it really is,” Kindt told us.” I feel like it’s a new character, but still works within the Valiant Universe that’s been established.” Divinity was an instant success for Valiant, spurring multiple reprints and enough critical accolades to fill a Soviet shuttle with. Kindt admitted he loves playing in the Valiant sandbox, but the idea of creating a brand new character was a huge appeal. “With Divinity, he’s wholly mine from the beginning, so I think I’m able to put more of myself and my ideas into him without having to be respectful to everything that’s come before.”
It was only natural, perhaps, given the book’s success, that a sequel follow. Or rather, as Valiant announced this week, a trilogy (and maybe more). Kindt explained that the story started self-contained, but quickly grew from there. “I think when I first started the outline for the four issues of the first Divinity series, I was only thinking one story,” Kindt said. “But by the time I’d actually sat down and scripted the first issue, I had an idea for the next two story arcs. And by the time I’d finished issue #4 of the first story, I had an idea to make it a four-part story.”
While Divinity II is still out, we learned that Divinity III is coming and it’s coming in a big way. Dubbed Stalinverse, the series is set to play with reality for the Valiant characters like we haven’t seen before. We probed Kindt for details, but we wouldn’t give us much. We asked him to just describe Stalinverse for us. “Russia takes over the world, in a sentence!” Kindt said. “The true twist here is that no one is even aware that this isn’t how the world should be. That’s how far reality has been bent. No one even realizes that Russia hasn’t always ruled the Earth. Well, no one realizes except two people.”
We secretly hope that one of those two aforementioned people is well-documented great comic character ever, Ninjak. Surely Kindt, writer of Ninjak, would give us some details on Ninjak? “I can promise you that the Russian Ninjak is 100% NOT what you think he’s going to be. It’s my favorite twist in the story. But no spoilers.”
For now, we don’t know much more than that about Divinity III, but given the stellar quality of the original series and, thus far, it’s sequel, we can’t help but be excited. Plus, the whole team is coming along for the ride. We asked Kindt about Hairsine’s gorgeous artwork, and he got all mushy about the entire creative team. “Wow, I can’t overstate how much he means to the series – the muscular layouts he brings to the storytelling are really what sell it. Ryan Winn’s inks and David Baron’s colors are essential too – I’m writing this script for all three of ‘em. It’s really the most finely tuned artistic machine I’ve worked with to date. Everyone’s on the same page.”
We’re on board, too, and we’re ready to see where Stalinverse takes us. You can check out some exclusive art from Divinity II below and get pumped for Divinity III. We can’t wait to see what this new universe brings to Valiant. And we hope Ninjak is okay.