X-O Manowar #1 (Valiant Comics)
X-O Manowar has been the star franchise for Valiant Comics, a company that made a huge splash with their much publicized relaunch a few years ago. But like everything in comics, eventually the spotlight fades, and you have to renumber to get people interested. I’ve heard great things about Valiant’s comics for a few years now, and with the major push behind the new Matt Kindt and Tomas Giorello series, I figured I’d give the book a shot. Speaking as someone who’s never read anything starring the character, I’m glad I did.
This latest installment of X-O Manowar follows Aric, the barbarian who hosts the X-O armor, living a peaceful life on a distant alien planet. After years of war, death, and destruction, all Aric wants is to farm in peace. But when an alien species kidnap him and drop him into their war, he has to call upon the X-O armor again to help save the citizens of his new home.
Simply put, this comic is awesome. Matt Kindt takes a familiar story and tells it expertly. Despite only knowing the bare minimum about this character, I was able to immediately understand Aric’s plight and his reasons for giving up his battle armor. Not only that, but Kindt is able to present a pretty gripping battle scene as well. Everything about Kindt’s script is a wonderful example of a great comic book.
Speaking of that battle scene, Tomas Giorello does a fantastic job on art here. Valiant has long had a pretty solid stable of artists, but I was completely blown away by Giorello’s work. Like Kindt’s writing, Giorello is able to expertly go from the quiet early moments of the book to some truly outstanding battle scenes reminiscent of Hacksaw Ridge. There’s a stunning amount of brutality in this book, but under Giorello’s art, it’s never gratuitous. Instead it’s used to further cement Aric’s beliefs about war, which makes his final decision all the more heartbreaking.
I was completely blown away by this new start for X-O Manowar, and I’ll definitely be adding this series to my pull list. For all the marketing and gimmicks that Valiant put out for this book, it’s pretty great that the end result is as good as it is. If you’re looking for something new to try out, I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s fantastic.