I’m going to start out by saying that I never read an X-O Manowar comic until last year. I’ve been a fan of Valiant Comics since the 90’s but the character never really appealed to me. I think it’s because at the time I was reading Valiant, it was owned by Acclaim and they released a video game starring X-O and Iron Man called Heavy Metal. Back in those days, no one really cared about Iron Man like they do now and subsequently, I couldn’t really get into another suit-of-armor hero.
When Valiant went through it’s relaunch in 2012, I came back to my familiar heroes of Ninjak, Bloodshot, and The Eternal Warrior; but again, I didn’t go back to X-O. I always enjoyed his presence in the comics, but just didn’t read his solo series. All that changed when I picked up the first hardcover volume of X-O by Robert Venditti. I burned through that and all the rest of them all the way up to it’s dynamic conclusion in Issue #50. X-O Manowar had soon become one of my favorite superheroes ever. Vendetti had created a compelling hero out of Aric of Dacia and his Manowar armor. That last issue left me with a sense of peace and fulfillment for the character and I couldn’t think about what would happen next.
Enter Matt Kindt.
Kindt and artist Tomas Giorello have taken the familiar and completely flipped it on it’s head. This first issue of the new run brings Aric not to “Urth”; but an entirely new planet where he is spending his days farming…for about one minute. There’s quite a time gap between Issue #50 and this one. Aric is communicating with his armor telepathically and they don’t seem to be friends. We also don’t know how he got on this new planet. This issue serves as a perfect jumping on point for new readers and old readers alike.
Kindt’s writing and Giorello’s artwork transform the Aric that you’ve known for 20 years into a new being of badassery and mystery anew. The details on the characters and the environments are vibrant and alive in each panel. Valiant always has a way of being much grittier in it’s artwork and X-O is no different. Bloody, violent, messy, and all the times just a pleasure to look at.
I highly recommend this comic if you’ve been wanting something different from the Big 2 and were not sure where to jump on. If you’ve been an X-O fan for a while now, this is a fantastic start to get reintroduced with your old friend. Kindt has written Aric on Unity for years, so the voice is familiar and the writing is top notch. Do yourself a favor, pick up this comic, furiously read it like I did, read it again to make sure you absorb everything, and then tell all your friends that they’ve been missing out on one of the best comic book publishers out there!