The second hardcover collection.
Writer and artist: Harold Foster
Publisher: Fantagraphics

The second collection starts with action when King Arthur’s knights battle the invading Saxons. The king follows Prince Valiant’s plan and because it works flawlessly, Arthur knights Valiant, starting the prince’s career as a knight errant. But first Valiant brings to his father a plan to get back his throne on Thule. Val, his father, and their twenty loyal soldiers return secretly to Thule and get to work.

After winning back the throne, Valiant settles a few disputes but quickly grows bored with the peaceful country. His father forbids his only son and heir to leave but Val leaves anyway, heading towards Europe looking for adventure. Soon, he hears that Rome has fallen to the Huns. In fact, the Huns have conquered almost all of Europe: only one proud castle remains and Val hurries to defend Anderkrag and its merry lord Camoran.

This time, King Arthur’s court doesn’t play much of a role at all. Valiant goes to the continental Europe and fights against the Huns. Later, he’s joined by Sir Tristam and Sir Gawain and they adventure together for a while. Again, the collection ends in a cliffhanger: Val in a small boat headed towards a storm.

During this time, Foster drew small, very detailed pictures on the four corners of the page: two on opposed ends of the headline and two near the end of the page. The pictures (called stamps even though I doubt they could have actually been used as stamps) depict various characters or gears such as saddles or stirrups. They showcase Foster’s eye for detail and research.

Val grows a bit. Some of his recklessness fades when he leads a group of men against the Huns and have to keep them fed and trained. But he’s still rather eager to kill and fights with a smile. This time, the Huns are just a pack of enemies to fight and not individuals at all.

Luckily, I can just dive into the next one (I bought used the first six collections at the same time).