Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day.
But that was a lifetime ago.
Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.
But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!
Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Valiant, something that should be evident to all who have read my reviews of their comics each week, but of all their characters X-O Manowar is arguably their flagship character having relaunched the publishers comics back in 2012. Funnily enough, despite my love of the publisher’s comics I still haven’t gotten around to reading the full 50 plus issues in the previous volume written by Robert Venditti (I started around #38), so when I say you don’t need to have read any X-O Manowar before this issue, I hope you’ll believe me.
In fact, if you’ve read the entire review thus far, including preview text above, then you already know more than I did before I read the comic because when I got the email with the review copy at midnight last night I jumped right into the comic like a kid in a candy store.
With the setting of the comic, you’re going to have questions – questions that may (or may) not be answered further into the series – but rather than dwell on the hows and whys of the story, strap in and enjoy what you’re holding in your hands; Matt Kindt is an incredibly talented writer who knows how to shape a story to pull you into the world he’s building, and he does that and then some with his opening chapter of Soldier.
X-O Manowar #1 opens with a double page spread that gives you a sense of where Aric is both physically and mentally. Tomas Giorello takes on his fair share of storytelling in the opening pages, as Aric’s lack of words and narrations gives us an almost silent couple of pages, which is a pretty ballsy move – opening a new series with almost no dialogue until the fourth page – but it works very well in showcasing the art. Giorello and colourist Diego Rodriguez have an almost old-school feel to the pages, whether it’s the lack of ink adding an ethereal quality, or the interplay of colours that feel less digitally done than most other comics these days and much more organic and warm despite the muted colours used at times throughout the comic.
This is an exciting, layered, and beautifully drawn and coloured comic that is the perfect jumping on point for new and old fans alike (second only to the 2012 debut). Add this to your pull list today and forget anything else from any other publisher coming out this year; based on the first issue alone X-O Manowar is going to be THE superhero title of 2017.
Don’t miss this series.
Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello Colour Art: Diego Rodriguez
Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.