X-O Manowar – Issue 1 Reviewed

Last week I released a story covering the rebirth of Valiant Comics along with reboot mentions of some of their best selling titles from the 1990’s. With X-O Manowar being the publisher’s flagship title back in the day, they made a common sense decision making the one-man army their first release in 2012. So was this do-over worth the read? Was the art worth a second look? You know the drill. Read on to check out the new Valiant’s exciting first release.

First and foremost, I want to cover the artwork here, courtesy of Cary Nord (minus the cover).  Why?  Because one of the images I included in last week’s article that was released by Valiant showed more of a CGI portrayal of the X-O character instead of a traditional ink and sketch delivery.  That image is misleading as the pages of issue #1 look nothing like that, which for me and likely many other readers, is a big sigh of relief.  Cary Nord brings us a detailed landscape of artwork where emotions on the characters’ faces are easily understood without having to take one look at the dialogue to grasp the feeling of the scene.  Action sequences are also accurately portrayed, whether it’s the onslaught of a brigade or the hit-and-run tactics of a small group, Nord’s graphical layouts get the job done and then some.

The writing, and I’ll try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, is intense if nothing else.  The story Robert Venditti has conjured here is quite gripping at times and should even retain the attention despite the worst my potential A.D.D. has to offer.  Focusing on a great Visigoth warrior by the name of Aric of Dacia, the good-hearted yet cunning warrior leads his people as they defend their lands against the threat of the Roman Empire.  A phalanx, however, will be the least of Aric’s worries.  The story performs its duties successfully as it covers a variety of situations for the lead character in a seamless fashion, pitting our hero in one dire strait after another without being the least bit choppy.

For those unfamiliar with the X-O Manowar suit, it’s a living carapace of armor with a range of deadly weapons that are instantly created by itself in combination with the wearer’s thoughts.  With that being said, not anyone can don the armor and take the fight to the enemy.  The armor only allows the greatest of warriors to utilize its capabilities.  The outcome for an unworthy subject attempting to wear the suit relates to a most unpleasant experience, and while the lid isn’t blown off this vessel in the first issue (thank goodness), that bit of holding back only spells big things to come on the horizon.  My only beef is that one or two sequences made it difficult for me to suspend disbelief…yes, even in a comic book.  I’d explain myself, but I wouldn’t want to give too much away now, would I?

Venditti and Nord make for an awesome duo on the pages of X-O Manowar issue 1.  I didn’t put a lot of faith into this book going into it, and was not only surprised after flipping the last page, but highly entertained as well.  In an economy where it can be tough to stretch a dollar and one must limit their selection of title reading, X-O Manowar has only made it more difficult for me since I will definitely be pursuing issue 2 and beyond if the story quality remains at this high level.  Well done, guys.






Comments are currently closed.