Advanced Review – X-O Manowar 1
X-O Manowar 1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist Tomas Giorello
Colorist: Diego Rodriguez
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Assistant Editor:Robert Meyers
Editor: Warren Simons
Soldier: Part One
What you need to know:
Aric of Dacia was a Visigoth from the 5th century kidnapped by the Vine, an alien race that took him and his fellow Visigoths and forced them into slavery. Aric freed himself and found the legendary Shanhara armor that the Vine had worshipped. With this new weapon bonded to him, he defeated the Vine and headed back to Earth, only to find himself in current times. As X-O Manowar, Aric has teamed-up with many of Earth’s heroes and faced it’s greatest threats.
Warning: This review will contain spoilers for the first issue of X-O Manowar.
Of the past 5 or so years, X-O Manowar was at the forefront of the Valiant universe. Aric of Dacia found himself front-and-center to so much war and conflict throughout his 50 issues that one would have to wonder where the character could go next. Previous series writer Robert Venditti laid an incredible blueprint for the character, taking him from fallen Visigoth and slave of the alien Vine to pre-eminent hero of Earth. New series writer Matt Kindt is no stranger to the charcter, having written him plenty in the pages of Valiant’s team book Unity.
Gone is the peaceful end from the fight with the Torment in last year’s final issue, X-O Manowar 50. Armed with new knowledge at their hand, we find Aric no longer on Earth or with those who were close to him. Now, Aric is far from Earth, having taken up residence on an alien world with an alien woman close to him. There appears to be some sort of grudge between Aric and his X-O armor, Shanhara, which now freely communicates with him once Aric has cut a piece off to fashion as a finger ring. He’s taken by the Azure Nation to be a soldier in their fight against the Cadmium Emperor. It’s a bloody fight but one that Aric excels at. He makes his way through his enemies on his own until finally, he bonds once more with the armor, ready for the next war.
Books like this that follow an acclaimed run sometimes just have to be that different from what came before in order to give them their proper room to become something. Kindt has done a great job by starting his run as far away from what Robert Venditti did on the previous series. This doens’t start from a happy ending, but instead, it’s full of strife and war and it’s the best thing that could have happened for this book. One familiar note is that the previous series saw Aric as a slave before arming him with one of the universe’s most deadly weapons and in this strange place he’s on, he’s once again a slave, but not in a way that makes it feel like the same thing.
As impressed as I am with the writing, the real gem on this book is Tomas Giorello’s art. Visually, X-O Manowar looks incredible, stunning and beautiful. Valiant readers will remember his work from last year’s equally impressive 4001 A.D. War Mother. His style is perfectly suited to the harsh terrains of the vast, alien world that this issue takes place in.X-O Manowar has had such a rich history of great art, from the likes of Cary Nord, Robert Gill, Diego Bernard and many more. Giorello’s work is as good as anything that’s been done prior.
I do have my questions as to how we got to point B from point A. We are so far removed from the previous volume that there are so many questions in my head but I feel that shouldn’t take away from what Kindt and Giorello are doing with this issue. For someone new to the characters, it is as perfect a place to start X-O Manowar, without being bogged down by numerous mentions of the past adventures. Whether you seek an exciting and compelling story or just want mind-blowing visuals, X-O Manowar will deliver both.
X-O Manowar 1 will be available in comic book shops on March 22nd.
Story: 5 of 5
Art: 5 of 5
Overall: 5 of 5