This March, Valiant Entertainment will be kicking off the second volume of X-O Manowar since the company relaunched in 2012. Matt Kindt will be writing the series, which will feature a rotating cast of artists from Valiant’s ever-growing stable of talent. Valiant Editor-In-Chief gave us some behind-the-scenes info about what’s coming at Aric in the new series, and what readers can expect from the next volume of X-O MANOWAR.
Aaron Long: X-O Manowar is arguably the flagship character of the Valiant Universe, can you discuss what epic mayhem is coming his way in the first arc of the new volume?
Warren Simons: I can do better than that—I can tell you what’s coming his way for the entire first year! Writer Matt Kindt is sending X-O Manowar into space for at least the first thirteen issues of the series, where we’ll watch him transform from a warrior seeking peace — think William Munny in UNFORGIVEN or William Wallace in BRAVEHEART — to a man who is unleashed against the armies of an alien world. We’ll watch him rise form a conscripted a soldier, to a general, an Emperor, and then finally — a hunted Visigoth.
It’s a new direction for the character that we haven’t really tried before, and we’re all excited to see the reaction — especially with the insane artists we’ve got lined up illustrating Matt’s story.
AL: You’ve got Matt Kindt locked in as writer for the new series, but will have a rotating cast of awesome artists. Can you discuss the decision to go with a rotating art team, and will they be rotating by issue, story arc or some other delineator?
WS: X-O MANOWAR is arguably our most iconic character, and one of our most popular. And with this new series being one of the biggest titles we publish all year, we wanted to make sure that some of our top artists—each who are masters of the field in their own right–had the opportunity to try their hand at X-O Manowar.
Matt’s story is set in three issue arcs, and each artist will rotate in and out with each arc. Tomas Giorello will tackle the first arc, SOLDIER; The BRILLIANT Doug Braithwaite will jump on for the second arc, GENERAL; Clayton Crain — one of the finest digital painters in the medium– will join in for the third arc, EMPORER; then Ryan Bodenheim — who is an absolutely extraordinary talent — will conquer X-O, and Mico Suayan is set to join the series as well. This is a murderer’s row of artists, and readers will have a ton of beautiful, wide-screen action heading their way.
AL: Aric has been a factor in pretty much every Valiant event in the past few years, will this new title be off in its own space, or will be it be tying into any other books/events that are coming up?
WS: That’s a very interesting question. Even though Aric won’t be on Earth for at least a year, his absence will be very much felt amongst his allies and family. Titles like BLOODSHOT U.S.A. have already begun to acknowledge a world without X-O Manowar, and we’ll see that sense of loss spread throughout our other titles. Make no mistake: One of the reigning questions throughout the Valiant Universe in 2017 will be, “Where is X-O Manowar?”
AL: Robert Venditti and the X-O art teams took Aric through quite a journey as a character with the last volume of X-O Manowar. What would you say are the biggest character shifts Aric went through during that run?
WS: Robert, who’s one of the great guys in the medium, really did a masterful job of continually upsetting Aric’s status quo over his exceptional 56-issue run. We really saw Aric grow from a brash young warrior into a compassionate, reasonable man who deserved to not only be earth’s sworn protector, but a true king to his people. That type of run is a rare occurrence in today’s medium. How that progression will carry over into this new series, however…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
AL: Thinking back to when you first launched X-O Manowar #1 with Rob and Cary, what do you feel is the biggest thing that is different about this launch, with respect to where Valiant has grown as a publisher?
WS: One of the things I’m most excited for readers to see is X-O Manowar in his first truly cosmic adventure. By placing Aric in a completely alien land, we’re opening the doors to new characters, new worlds, new histories, and new layers of the X-O Manowar mythology. The alien setting also gives X-O Manowar an chance to take the kid gloves off and unleash his inner warrior. Internally, we’ve nicknames this series “The Savage X-O Manowar,” because it really will be all about Aric tapping into his inner warrior on a brutal, alien battlefield.
AL: Any final thoughts on X-O Manowar you’d like to share?
WS: X-O MANOWAR, in a lot of ways, is the spine of our Universe, and this book will be no different. Matt and company have put together one hell of ride, and it’s going to take our flagship character into some pretty wild places. Better hang on tight!