Valiant Hero Of The Week: X-O Manowar
Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways and more. This week, the poll featured X-O Manowar, Livewire, Rai and Archer & Armstrong.
This week’s winner, perhaps unsurprisingly, was…
Who is he? A warrior from around 500AD who was abducted by aliens and somehow acquired the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the sentient sacred armour of Shanhara. Aric of Dacia is a barbarian in modern times, which allows the writers to explore different facets of what it means to be civilized and whether we have truly advanced. This is covered in detail in the first volume of the 2012 X-O Manowar, which I’ll talk about a little below. X-O has been Valiant’s flagship character since the 90’s, though with the recently released Bloodshot movie that title may in question with the general public.
What should you read?
X-O Manowar: By The Sword
This is where to start if you want to get in on the ground floor of X-O Manowar in the modern Valiant universe. It’s a brilliant five issue story arc that takes Aric of Dacia from the steppes of Dacia in modern day Romania across the vast reaches of space before finally returning to Earth with the armour that we’re so familiar with now. If you want to see who Aric was before he became X-O, then this is where you’re going to want to look.
X-O Manowar: Enter Ninjak
The first time we see Ninjak in the relaunched Valiant universe is in this volume, and it was actually one that I read before By The Sword. When the world’s most deadly intelligence operative, and foremost weapons expert, is contracted to take on the most powerful weapon on the planet… well, shit hits the fan in the most glorious of ways. Enter Ninjak has some fantastic panels and examples of sequential artwork that bring to life the second volume of Robert Venditti’s phenomenal run on X-O Manowar.
X-O Manowar: Exodus
This is the tenth volume of Venditti’s run, and by this point Aric of Dacia has become a champion of Earth, and of another race (vagueness to minimize spoilers). Exodus finds Aric in between two warring sides, and has one of my favorite moments in the entire run as X-O Manowar makes his stand between the two sides. Venditti is able to capture the tensions and anger of both sides in such a way that you can feel the emotion emanating from the page. With the tensions escalating in such an organic way, you can’t help but wonder how X-O can possibly keep anybody alive…
X-O Manowar: Soldier
X-O has left Earth and everyone he knows behind, and finds himself on a new planet where nobody knows who he his. Why has he forsaken the armour he has bonded with? Well dear reader, all may be revealed eventually over the course of Matt Kindt’s twenty five odd issue run with the character. Plus, if you couldn’t tell by the cover, this story is a space epic that I’ve seen described as Space Conan. While that’s accurate to a point, it grossly underestimates the scope of the story that begins here.
The above options are all good starting points for you if you’re wanting to learn more about Valiant’s unstoppable killing machine.
It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.
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