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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

X-O Manowar #23 Reunites Matt Kindt and Tomás Giorello for “Hero,” the Next Arc in Valiant’s Bestselling Series!

Valiant has released a first look at X-O Manowar (2017) #23 – the start of a brand-new story arc and new jumping-on point, “Hero,” for Eisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt’s sci-fi magnum opus – one that will mark the long-awaited return of superstar artist Tomás Giorello, who illustrated Kindt’s first arc on the series, “Soldier,” when it launched last year!

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!

Plus: Make sure you don’t miss the  X-O Manowar #23-26 Pre-Order Edition Bundle, which can only be ordered as a set and must be ordered with your local comic shop by the final order cut-off date (FOC) of December 31st, 2018!

Released monthly from January 2019 through April 2019, each PRE-ORDER EDITION comes packed with trade paperback-style extras and bonus content, including creator commentary, behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of the comics, process character designs and artwork, and first looks at upcoming issues – plus exclusive covers by interior artist Tomás Giorello that can’t be found anywhere else – all for no extra cost!

Featuring covers by Kenneth RocafortDiego YapurMichael Manomivibul, and Francis Portela!

Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #4

HW2_004_COVER-A_JONESWe called it the biggest, most impactful, most ambitious Valiant event ever attempted – and we meant it! From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless.

Well here it is. The culmination of Valiant’s biggest and most hyped miniseries/event for some time. The company has been building toward this moment for nearly two plus years, and now that it is finally here, does Harbinger Wars 2 end with a bang or a whimper? Are we left with a lot of build up to a lacklustre ending, or did Valiant break the mould and deliver a story that has a high quality and impact-full ending?

Uh… Kind of.

The issue wraps up almost every loose end and plot point, pulls most Valiant heroes to an agreement, and… just feels sort of underwhelming. In a comic that should provide an epic conclusion,  Harbinger Wars II #4  feels more like the  Cliff’s Notes version of what was an epic conclusion. There’s really no other way to describe the way that I felt coming out of this issue other than with a case of “Huh. That’s it?”  To  say that is a disappointment would be an understatement after the way the series opened with the Eric Heisserer scripted prologue; unfortunately, Matt Kindt‘s script just never quite lived up to that promise and gradually dropped in quality as the four issues progressed.

The saving grace here is the post finale scene with the surviving psiots talking about the ramifications of the events, and how they should react – it’s not quite enough to save the book, but it adds a bit of an upswing at the end.

Artistically, the issues feels muddled. There is quality there, but once again something feels off – although full disclosure here, I read this comic in a coffee shop on my laptop, and am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt that various contributing factors (glare, the watermark on the review copy and the brightness) may have had an adverse effect on the art, so I’m not going to penalize the comic for things it can’t control.

Although this comic will (potentially) change the way the characters in the Valiant universe react, and it should have very far reaching consequences, you will be able to get the same conclusions and information from reading a preview pages (where relevant) in an upcoming Valiant comic or a synopsis online.

To say I am disappointed this series ended this way would be true, but there’s always hope for the Aftermath, right?

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello with Renato Guedes
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.2 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read if you’ve come this far

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 #4

HARBINGER WARS 2 #4 (of 4)

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO with RENATO GUEDES
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by J.G. JONES
Cover B by MICO SUAYAN
Interlocking Variant by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
HW2 Icon Variant by FELIPE MASSAFERA
Pre-Order Edition by KHARI EVANS
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale AUGUST 29th

THE FINAL BATTLE! LIVEWIRE VS. THE VALIANT UNIVERSE!

We called it the biggest, most impactful, most ambitious Valiant event ever attempted – and we meant it! From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless.

Now, the long-brewing battle between Valiant’s greatest icons will finally reach the stratosphere – literally – and, out of the ashes, a new order for the Valiant Universe will be hewn as New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR, DIVINITY, Mind MGMT) and comics juggernauts Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR) and Renato Guedes (SHADOWMAN) present the MUST-READ comics showdown of 2018…and no one gets out unscathed!

Harbinger Wars 2 #4 – Matt Kindt & Tomás Giorello Bring the Final Battle!

Valiant has released a first look within the fully lettered and colored pages of Harbinger Wars 2 #4, the final issue of this summer’s seismic event series!

On August 29thEisner-nominated writer Matt Kindt and superstar artist Tomás Giorello, the creative minds behind 2017’s massively best-selling X-O Manowar – alongside sensational artist Renato Guedes – all convene to loosen the tides of war in an unforgettable firefight!

From across the Valiant Universe, the paths of all of the world’s most formidable heroes – X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Bloodshot, Ninjak, the Secret Weapons, H.A.R.D. Corps, and dozens of newly activated psiots – have finally converged, drawn together by their old ally Livewire’s last-ditch effort to protect the powerless. Now, the long-brewing battle between Valiant’s greatest icons will finally reach the stratosphere – literally – and, out of the ashes, a new order for the Valiant Universe will be hewn!

Featuring covers by J.G. JonesMico SuayanJuan José Ryp, and Felipe Massafera!

Review: Harbinger Wars 2 #3

HW2_003_COVER-A_JONESDivided but not yet conquered, Livewire and the Harbinger Renegades are making their last stand for the fate of their fellow psiots! Targeted by X-O Manowar and the governmental forces of the H.A.R.D. Corps, the most powerful players behind the cataclysmic conflict that has torn America asunder are about to converge in a violent conflict where the ultimate fate of the Valiant Universe will be decided… And Ninjak and Bloodshot are about to get a crucial new role in the heart of it all!

Dispensing with any real introduction to this review beyond the above blurb, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Valiant have been hyping this event for a long time, and with this issue we finally see what side of the coin the publisher falls on as two characters face off in a small yet important altercation amidst the larger scale war that is encompassing almost all your favorite Valiant characters. But as the tensions ramp up, the comic starts upon a near nonstop thrill ride from the first panel to the last, with either the physical or psychological action at the forefront of each page.

It’s the escalated tensions that lead to my only problem with the book, and it’s one that has appeared earlier in the series as  once again Bloodshot’s nanites are manipulated in new and unique ways that took me out of an otherwise fantastic story. Whether that’s because of my own feelings based upon the use of Bloodshot in this way, or that the usage felt too much like a convenient way to have the character appear that much more threatening, I’m not sure. Either way, the sequence produced some fantastic visuals.

And that, honestly, is where this book shines, because Harbinger Wars 2 #3 looks incredible. Which is hardly surprising given then pedigree of the artists working on this book (full details below).

As the third chapter in the four issue event, we’re left with a lot of the plot addressed, or set up for closure in the fourth, but there’s very little to make this comic an absolute must read; oh it’s good, it’s very good, but without the context of the other two issues it falls a little shy of the “oh my shit, you have to go buy this yesterday!”… but if you’re already invested in the series, you won’t be disappointed here.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello and Renato Guedes
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.7 Art: 9.3 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Harbinger Wars 2 #3 (of 4)

HARBINGER WARS 2 #3 (of 4)

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO with RENATO GUEDES
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by J.G. JONES (MAY182076)
Cover B by MICO SUAYAN (MAY182077)
Interlocking Variant by JUAN JOSÉ RYP(MAY182078)
HW2 Icon Variant by FELIPE MASSAFERA (MAY182079)
Pre-Order Edition by TOMÁS GIORELLO
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale JULY 25th

All hands on deck!

Divided but not yet conquered, Livewire and the Harbinger Renegades are making their last stand for the fate of their fellow psiots! Targeted by X-O Manowar and the governmental forces of the H.A.R.D. Corps, the most powerful players behind the cataclysmic conflict that has torn America asunder are about to converge in a violent conflict where the ultimate fate of the Valiant Universe will be decided… And Ninjak and Bloodshot are about to get a crucial new role in the heart of it all!

From coast to coast, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR, DIVINITY) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR, NINJA-K) are about to unleash a sonic boom of seismic consequences as Valiant’s spectacular summer event rages forward!

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