Review: X-O MANOWAR #1

Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Cary Nord
Release Date: May 2, 2012

And now, the summer of Valiant begins….this has been one of the most hyped books of 2012 in the comics media, with the newly reformed Valiant pushing the release of this book very aggressively. This was with good reason, X-O Manowar rocks!

I’m going to get some things right out in the open here: this book is right in the wheelhouse of what I dig. I’m a fan of hero books, sci-fi books, books playing with historical elements and Robert Venditti. That said, I was actually nervous before reading this book. After all the hype, it couldn’t live up to my expectations? Right?

Wrong. Venditti nails the story of this first issue. This is a fantastic introductory book to the world of X-O Manowar and the Valiant Universe. No prior knowledge of the old series is needed – just pick the book up and start reading. Venditti writes the Visigoths very well: a proud, hearty people that aren’t afraid to scrap and get themselves into trouble. Venditti has a great voice for Aric who is a headstrong, proud leader who doesn’t think before he acts, which is both his strength and his weakness. This is a complex hero Hell-bent on revenge against the Romans and this new enemy that has appeared. He is calculating and intelligent, but also completely out of his league. This is no simpleton warrior that has been captured. He may be several thousand years behind his captors in terms of technology, but in wits he is their equal or better and therefore a lot of fun to read.

Cary Nord handles the art duties for this first issue and they couldn’t have found a better suited artist for this story. Nord pencils the Visigoths as daring barbarians and capably adds aliens into the mix as well. The art is solid from start to finish and I can’t wait to see what Nord has in store for this series. His action is fast and furious yet I never was left confused as to what was going on or who was involved. His skills are a fantastic pairing with Venditti’s script and the two seem to be in sync very early on in this series.

There is a certain amount of excitement with any #1 issue, especially one as heavily marketed as X-O Manowar #1. There is an even greater amount of excitement that comes from a #1 that lives up to expectations and has you counting the days until #2 comes out. X-O Manowar #1 is that rare, skillfully crafted book.

Verdict: 9.5/10


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