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Advanced Review: X-O Manowar #1

X-O Manowar #1

Harvey Award-winning writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallumand breakout star Emilio Laiso unleash Valiant’s most powerful protector in X-O Manowar #1!

Torn from the past and bonded with a living alien armor, will X-O Manowar become the hero the world needs now? As a futuristic force arises to destroy the planet, only this ancient warrior king has the courage to stand against impossible odds!

I have been waiting to read a finished version of X-O Manowar #1 for a long time. I got a chance to read an unfinished copy a month or two ago. Had I reviewed what I’d read then, it would have been glowing even with an unfinished product. The story stood out strongly even when the art was unfinished. Some pages were lacking color and I am sure that the lettering and dialogue have been tweaked here and there. I haven’t done a side by side comparison as yet and probably never will. This is all a long way of telling you that I knew I’d enjoy the comic before I read the final version.

Within the first three pages of this comic, Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum introduces new readers to Aric of Dacia, the 4th century warrior wearing an incredible suit of armour without throwing up exposition in his dialogue. There’s a natural relationship between Aric and the sacred armor of Shanhara born over years of interaction. Hallum injects a fresh and playful level of banter between the two. I love the new voice he has given Shanhara. I love how easily Hallum introduces his version of X-O Manowar to readers new and old.

Hallum takes X-O in a direction we have not yet seen in the modern era of X-O Manowar comics; Aric trying to fit in with regular people. And honestly, if the entire comic was just that, I’d still be as happy as a pig in muck. We’ve seen Aric go from a farmer to an emperor on a distant planet, try and find a home for hundred of time-displaced former slaves and fight against incredible odds, but we’ve never seen him try to play basketball. It’s one of those moments that I didn’t know I needed to see until I had seen it.

The comic has echoes of the Will Smith movie Hancock in Aric’s near clueless way of interacting with the modern world. His only guide is a sentient alien armor.

The story alone sold me on this book when I first read it. Being able to see the finished artwork of artist Emilio Laiso and colorist Ruth Redmond took this to another level.

The opening scenes set in space are beautiful. The colors are crisp, the line work clean, and so incredibly easy to follow despite the sheer amount of debris on the page. The pages immediately after the space sequence have a lot of text on them. Yet letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou strikes a perfect balance between fitting the words on the page and allowing the artwork to shine and help tell the story.

Believe it or not, I’ve really only touched on the first half dozen pages or so of this book at the moment. I won’t delve much deeper into the specific events for spoiler reasons.

This is one of, if not the absolute best issues of X-O Manowar I have read in a long time. It’s also one of the best things from Valiant I’ve read in the last year. If you’re looking for a jumping-on spot for X-O Manowar, then this is going to be the best spot you’ll find without going back to 2012. Hallum, Laiso, Redmond, and Otsmane-Elhaou have created a masterpiece in X-O Manowar #1. It’s only gotten better with each subsequent reading.

Bring on the second issue.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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