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Review: X-O Manowar #1

X-O Manowar #1

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.

Review: X-O Manowar #25

X-O Manowar #25

Bounty hunted!

Long ago, Aric of Dacia left the life he knew on Earth behind to start afresh in a distant galaxy… Now the mistakes of his past have come home to roost, causing untold devastation on the planet Aric first called home! Clad in the X-O Manowar armor he once renounced, the former Emperor of Gorin has a choice to make: Does he take on this band of intergalactic warriors alone, or does he trust the mysterious woman warrior in black who’s come to his aid?

If you read the last issue then you’ll know who the mysterious woman alluded to above is, but if for some inexplicable reason you haven’t (yet) done so after following the series so far then expect a spoiler or two going forward.

Matt Kindt‘s reintroduction of Schon reflects upon the opening arc of the series where Aric sought peace and refuge on an alien planet, forgoing the violent life he had lived until that point – only instead of avoiding war and searching for peace, Schon came to Earth looking for a fight, and embracing the battle that came. It is a brilliant way to circle back to the beginning of the series, bringing Aric’s story full circle.

Tomas Giorello is an utterly phenomenal artist, and he once again shows why with this issue. Regarding last issue, I wrote that “each and every page is packed with more detail, emotion and life than some comics have in their entirety,” and the same is equally as true with X-O Manowar #25. I’m running out of superlatives to use to describe the visual impact of this series, which is a good problem to have at this juncture.

X-O Manowar has been one of the most consistent series in terms of quality over the past two years, and has understandably garnered some pretty high expectations issue after issue – expectations that the series has met (and often exceeded) with each and every issue. The series may be coming to a close with XO Manowar #26, but Kindt’s story will be among one of my favourite runs for a long time to come (unless of course something happens in the final issue to change all of that, which is entirely possible – though unlikely at this point).

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello
Colourist: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I purchased the comic anyway.

Preview: X-O Manowar #25

X-O MANOWAR #25

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by LEO COLAPIETRO
Cover C by MICHAEL MANOMIVBUL
Interlocking Variant by FRANCIS PORTELA
Pre-order Variant Cover by DIEGO YAPUR
On sale March 20, 2019

Bounty hunted!

Long ago, Aric of Dacia left the life he knew on Earth behind to start afresh in a distant galaxy… Now the mistakes of his past have come home to roost, causing untold devastation on the planet Aric first called home! Clad in the X-O Manowar armor he once renounced, the former Emperor of Gorin has a choice to make: Does he take on this band of intergalactic warriors alone, or does he trust the mysterious woman warrior in black who’s come to his aid?

X-O MANOWAR #25

Valiant Launches a New Bloodshot Series with Tim Seeley and Brett Booth Ahead of the Vin Diesel Movie

Before Vin Diesel breaks the box office as Bloodshot in Sony Pictures’ upcoming feature film, Valiant Entertainment is launching an explosive new Bloodshot ongoing series from an all-star creative team, debuting in September!

Bloodshot, the unstoppable supersoldier trapped in a never-ending war, has arrived! Written by the electrifying Tim Seeley and featuring artwork by industry icon Brett Booth, this tremendous team is crafting a Bloodshot adventure full of badass action, surprising stories…and then some more badass action! Declan Shalvey will illustrate covers for the series.

Once, he was the perfect living weapon, created to follow orders. Now, Bloodshot works alone, using his lethal skills to protect those who cannot protect themselves. But a mysterious and powerful organization is watching, and they’re not about to let something as dangerous as Bloodshot remain free…

Valiant is set to distribute free copies of a brand-new Bloodshot short story by Seeley with artwork by Tomás Giorello and Diego Rodriguez on Free Comic Book Day (May 4, 2019) through participating retailers. The story leads into the new series.

Artwork from BLOODSHOT (2019) #1 by Brett Booth.
Inking by Adelso Corona, coloring by Andrew Dalhouse.
Artwork by BLOODSHOT (2019) #1 by Brett Booth.
Inking by Adelso Corona, coloring by Andrew Dalhouse.

Review: X-O Manowar #24

X-O Manowar #24

“Hero” – Part Two!

The intergalactic bounty hunters once bested by Aric of Dacia have followed him to Earth to reclaim their victory – by any means necessary! But X-O Manowar doesn’t stand alone: From out of nowhere, another armor-clad challenger has jumped into the fray… Who is this mysterious warrior, and what business does she have with Aric?

Holy shit but this is a great looking book. I’ve been trying to think of a way to impart just how amazing it looks while retaining some semblance of intelligence… but let’s face it; I’ve spent too much time trying to word that properly when I could just be writing.

Tomas Giorello is an utterly phenomenal artist, and he shows why with this issue. Each and every page is packed with more detail, emotion and life than some comics have in their entirety. I actually had to read the comic twice because I caught myself just drinking in the art (and although I understood most of the story based on the art alone, reading the narration boxes added another layer to an already visually impressive book). The usage of blank space and compressed panels early in the comic give you a more claustrophobic feel than any text could ever convey.

X-O Manowar #24 is a comic where the art is clearly the star of the show; Giorello and colourist Diego Rodriguez have produced a simply spectacular visual journey that exemplifies the struggle and determination of the titular character as, vastly out gunned, he demonstrates his Visigoth stubborn refusal to accept defeat.

Don’t get me wrong, while the art is easily worth buying the comic for alone, Matt Kindt‘s story isn’t exactly terrible. Far from it, in fact, and paired with almost any other artistic team the plot would easily be a highlight. Beautiful in its minimalism, the story is essentially a long fight scene with a set of narrative captions that need to be read twice (ideally once you’ve finished the comic, go back for a second read). On paper it sounds disappointingly simple, but in actual fact the emotional weight of the art is balanced with a deceptively deep narration text that has a dual meaning that’s revealed once you get to the final page (hence the double read).

X-O Manowar #24 is another wonderful example of Valiant at their very best. Which, given the talented creative team, should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello
Colourist: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I purchased the comic anyway.

Preview: X-O Manowar #24

X-O MANOWAR #24

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMAS GIORELLO
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by GREY WILLIAMSON
Cover C by MICHAEL MANOMIVIBUL
Interlocking Variant by FRANCIS PORTELA

“Hero” – Part Two!

The intergalactic bounty hunters once bested by Aric of Dacia have followed him to Earth to reclaim their victory – by any means necessary! But X-O Manowar doesn’t stand alone: From out of nowhere, another armor-clad challenger has jumped into the fray… Who is this mysterious warrior, and what business does she have with Aric?

Review: X-O Manowar #23

X-O Manowar #23

Aric of Dacia may have left Planet Gorin behind, but its people still remember the ruin they felt in his wake…and so do the bounty hunters who sought to end his barbaric reign! Enraged by the blight on their perfect record, they’ve arrived on our world to finish the job they started – and this time, they don’t plan on taking X-O Manowar alive!

A question that often comes up in comic shops is whether you can start reading a series with the issue currently on the shelf, or if you need to start from the beginning. Valiant’s previews often claim that the start of a new arc is a good jumping on point (when coupled with the recap page and at times the reader’s willingness to accept things with only the barest of explanations) and they’re seldom wrong with that statement. As far as X-O Manowar #23 goes, this is a pretty good jumping on point should you choose to do so (though I feel obligated to tell you that the entire series is really good and worth the time and financial investment for your enjoyment).

Matt Kindt is able to establish the premise of this story remarkably quickly, and despite the fairly simple plot presented here, his writing is once again of the high quality one has come to associate with the writer. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking the simple plot (it won’t take you long to realize this is a revenge story), because for me it was actually a selling point. Kindt’s ability to develop Aric’s character in a handful of panels demonstrates his understanding of the character, and gives us a discussion about human waste that, let’s be honest, most of us have wondered about.

Once again, Tomas Giorello is freaking amazing. His art transcends traditional comics and will have you rereading this comic just to look at the pictures (or maybe you’ll take your time reading the book because your eyes demand the time to drink in the visual spectacle before you.). Whether it’s the figures, the page layouts or the use of space, both figuratively and literally, this comic features some fantastic art. Genuinely, I can’t wait to see this in print.

The one nitpick I have, and it is minor, involves the arrival of certain characters on Earth. How they got where they did isn’t quite explained, and makes little sense to me, but is far from a story-breaking moment; I’ve a feeling it may be explained later in the arc, and if it isn’t there’s a chance I won’t remember it come the next issue. X-O Manowar has consistently been one of the better comic book series over the last couple of years, and this issue is a prime example of why.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello 
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Story: 9.2 Art: 10 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: X-O Manowar #23

X-O MANOWAR #23

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by DIEGO YAPUR
Cover C by MICHAEL MANOMIVIBUL
Interlocking Variant by FRANCIS PORTELA

NEW ARC! NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! “HERO” – PART ONE!

Aric of Dacia may have left Planet Gorin behind, but its people still remember the ruin they felt in his wake…and so do the bounty hunters who sought to end his barbaric reign! Enraged by the blight on their perfect record, they’ve arrived on our world to finish the job they started – and this time, they don’t plan on taking X-O Manowar alive!

The past catches up with Earth’s Visigoth guardian in “HERO,” an unforgettable new jumping-on point for the bestselling Valiant series from Eisner Award-nominated writer Matt Kindt (DIVINITY, Mind MGMT) and spectacular artist Tomás Giorello (NINJA-K)!

X-O MANOWAR #23

Tim Seeley and Dan Abnett Make Their Valiant Debut in 2019 Free Comic Book Day Gold Book

Valiant Entertainment has announced that it has been selected as one of only 12 Gold Sponsors of 2019’s Free Comic Book Day, which will take place on May 4, 2019 at participating comic book shops everywhere.

The Valiant FCBD 2019 Bloodshot Special features two original stories exclusive to Free Comic Book Day 2019 and welcomes legendary writers Tim Seeley and Dan Abnett to the Valiant Universe!

Valiant’s FCBD offering boasts a cover illustrated by sensational painter, Dan Brereton  and launches the publisher forward into its ambitious plans for the second half of the year. Before Sony’s blockbuster live-action Bloodshot film takes the world by storm in 2020, discover a brutal new tale of Valiant’s one-man army by Tim Seeley and artist Tomás Giorello. Then, enter the 41st century with RAI, the formidable, sword-wielding protector of a future Earth, in a pulse-pounding prologue to the upcoming event series Fallen World by Dan Abnett and artist Juan José Ryp, which will debut just days before Free Comic Book Day! Fallen World #1, by Abnett and extraordinary artist Adam Pollina, will release on May 1st, 2019.

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event founded on the belief that every person can discover a comic book they’ll love. Every year, on the first Saturday in May, the comic book industry comes together to give away free comics and encourage comics readers of all kinds to visit their local comic shops. Local comic shops are some of the most important places in the comics community, where fans can discuss their favorite books, discover new must-read comics, and even make lifelong friends.

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 TPB

HARBINGER WARS 2 TPB

Written by MATT KINDT and ERIC HEISSERER
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO, RENATO GUEDES, RAÚL ALLÉN, PATRICIA MARTÍN, and ADAM POLLINA
Cover by JG JONES

A seismic universe-spanning event! Nothing will ever be the same…

From New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR. DIVINITY, Mind MGMT) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR), the most powerful Valiant event ever attempted erupts in full force as X-O Manowar, Livewire, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, the Secret Weapons, Ninjak, and a cast of thousands draw their battle lines in HARBINGER WARS 2!

For the rare and immensely powerful subset of humanity known as psiots, their unique abilities have come with an enormous cost. Once, their existence was known only to a select few. Now, the revelation that thousands of these latent telekinetic “harbingers” secretly live among us – with the potential to be activated at any moment – has led the American government to a dramatic tipping point…

Armed with new extra-governmental authority, the deep-black military contractor known as Omen has been authorized to identify, evaluate, and, if need be, eliminate all super-normal threats to the homeland. H.A.R.D. Corps units have been deployed into cities and towns across the United States to enforce their orders.

In the East, one of the most powerful minds on Earth, Peter Stanchek, is leading his band of Renegades across the country, activating any potential psiots willing to join them, and building an insurrection force of ultra-powerful and unwieldy new abilities that will soon bring war to Omen’s doorstep…and the unstoppable force known as X-O Manowar raging back to Earth…

In the West, Livewire – the telekinetic technopath with the ability to bend machines and computers to her will – will be forced to choose between her former allies…or her newfound team of Secret Weapons. As the situation escalates beyond human control, the United States will be plunged into darkness from coast to coast, launching Bloodshot and Ninjak into a dangerous mission to neutralize their one-time teammate – and setting the stage for the most shocking, most violent, and most consequential clash of powers ever witnessed in the history of the Valiant Universe!

Collecting HARBINGER WARS 2: PRELUDE #1, HARBINGER WARS 2 #1-4, and HARBINGER WARS 2: AFTERMATH #1.

$19.99 | 160 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 28th

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