Tag Archives: x-o manowar

Valiant’s Marketing and Publicity Manager Gregg Katzman Helps Us Understand What Goes Into Getting A Comic Into your Hands

Gregg Katzman

I’ve always wondered what happens to a comic between the time it has been finished and when I finally get it in my hands – especially one I’ve been salivating over since I first caught that glimpse of a teaser image on social media, and so I spoke to Valiant’s Marketing & Publicity Manager Gregg Katzman about what his job entails when it comes to getting some of my favorite comics into my hands.

Gregg has been with Valiant since November 2018, joining the publisher as a marketing coordinator before working his way up to his current position in August of 2020. He’s also a super nice guy.

Graphic Policy: We all (hopefully) know the role that writers, artists and editors play in getting comics to the shelves, but what do your duties entail?

Gregg Katzman: Before joining Valiant Entertainment, I was a big fan of the company and have lots of history as comics/entertainment press (Comic Vine, Screen Rant, CBR, IGN, UGO Entertainment, About.com’s Marvel expert, plus coordinating signings as the Marketing & Events Manager at Midtown Comics). So, I spent years promoting Valiant before ever actually joining the team. Now, being the Marketing & Publicity Manager is sincerely a dream job because it’s all about bringing the perspective of a press person and someone who’s legitimately passionate about the Valiant Universe.

A lot of my time is spent working with press, and I’d certainly hope you can vouch for that, Alex!

GP: I absolutely can!

GK:  Since I bring the perspective of someone who has worked for several outlets, I always strive to build a legitimate relationship before pitching anything. If I’m reaching out to a site, YouTube channel, or podcast, I don’t want to waste their time by offering something that isn’t a good fit. After all, every site, channel, and show covers the industry in different ways. Because of that, I’m always trying my best to make sure the experience is mutually beneficial. Is this opportunity a good fit for the outlet and its fans? If not, what would be? Will this be interesting to current Valiant fans? Will it potentially create new Valiant fans? Knowing is half the battle. Pitching and coordinating everything is the other half.

I’m fortunate enough to have a ton of creative freedom when it comes to working with press, building announcement strategies, and how we’re working with creators to help promote their projects. I also do my best to engage with fans as much as possible since… well, I am one. 

There’s a lot of other stuff I do on a daily basis, but I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say I do a lot of juggling and keep very productive. 

GP: At what point in a comic’s development are you usually involved from a marketing perspective?

GK: I’m very lucky to work at a company that embraces having very open and honest conversations about everything we’re doing. Usually, editors and directors talk about the projects first, and then they’re circulated to me and some other people for our feedback. Assuming the pitch moves forward, my boss, Matthew Klein, and I will meet with the book’s editor to pick their brain. Why are they excited about it? Why should current fans be excited about it? Why will this bring in new fans?  I will also send a creator questionnaire document to the book’s creative team to better understand their views on the project and their comfortability and preferences with promoting the book.

All of this will help Matthew and I build the announcement campaign and additional opportunities to promote the book. After the announcement and follow-up coverage is made, there should be an aggressive push to capitalize on the issue’s IOD (initial orders deadline), FOC (final order cutoff), on-sale date, and the “now on sale” angle. Then you have to think of ways to keep promoting the next issues. At the time of writing these answers, I can say we have an announcement about a month away and there’s a full week of coverage lined up on different outlets and even at a virtual event… This entire process is legitimately fun to me and every time I love thinking of new ways to promote our books.

GP: How reactive is your role? I know you juggle a lot of plates, but does anything ever happen that makes you switch gears and take a campaign in an entirely different direction?

GK: Yeah, it’s entirely possible that things can change at the last minute, and I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I panicked instead of thinking about the best way to adapt and move forward. It’s important to remember that everything is a learning experience, nothing ever goes 100% according to plan, and there’s never just one path forward.

GP: Valiant have been known to give away some really fun promo items (the only baseball I own is the Doctor Tomorrow one). Do you get to come up with those?

GK: I can’t take any credit for those. Those are called POP (point of purchase) items and they’re created by the Sales team which consists of former retailers. Those items are sent to retailers (and sometimes select press and fans) to either utilize (like signage, pens, etc) or give to their Valiant shoppers. 

GP: When it comes to marketing comics, do you ever find it hard not to reveal things?

GK: All the time. Again, I was a big fan of Valiant before joining the company, so being able to get an early look at everything and plan so far in advance is something I’ll never take for granted. That said, I may or may not have off the record conversations with some fans and press that I trust…

GP: Do you have a favorite market campaign that you’ve been involved in?

GK: I sincerely love working on every single announcement campaign (each one is carefully crafted to complement the book), but I’ve always had a soft spot for building press tours and coordinating interviews. As a former press guy and someone who built signing events at Midtown Comics, getting creators to interact directly with press and fans is always fun. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it.

GP: I probably already know the answer to this, but is there any character you’re a little more excited to talk about, and if so why is it Ninjak?

GK: Oh, it’s definitely Ninjak but also X-O Manowar. They’re easily my favorites. Fitzy is my favorite “lesser-known” character from the Valiant Universe. I think that guy has a lot of potential.

GP: As you know, I completely agree with you regarding Ninjak. Thanks for your time!

Valiant Announces Changes to their Structure

Valiant logo

Valiant has announced that it is restructuring its New York and Los Angeles offices to bring their publishing, tv, and film projects closer together.

The New York offices are moving to a new location that is currently under construction and will open in Fall 2020. The company has been working remotely since Mid-March due to COVID-19. Some rumors have swirled around the closing of their current NY office.

In Los Angeles, Valiant has hired comic industry veteran David Wohl as a Senior Editor.

The company has revealed some recent plans including the return of X-O Manowar in November with long-awaited X-O Manowar #2.

In March, the publisher announced a remastered 1999 Shadowman game from Nightdive Studios. They are also working with Blowfish Studios to develop new video games featuring characters from the Valiant universe.

This is on top of the release of Bloodshot, the film released by Sony in theaters and soon after on demand due to the pandemic, the continued work on Harbinger which is still slated to be released in 2021, and Faith: Taking Flight a young adult novel published by an imprint of HarperCollins.

X-O Manowar Returns this November

Valiant‘s flagship hero returns this November in X-O Manowar #2!

Aric of Dacia, aka X-O Manowar, is back and heading in a bold new direction with Harvey Award-winner Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, astonishing artist Emilio Laiso, colorist Ruth Redmond, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The first issue earned a spot in the top 100 best-selling comics when it debuted. Now, the action-packed second issue is set to arrive in comic shops on November 25th, 2020, with covers by Eisner Award-winning artist Christian WardNetho Diaz, and a 1:25 variant by Daniel Warren Johnson.

Check out the first four pages of X-O Manowar #2, below.

X-O Manowar #2

Preview: Valiant 2020: The Year of Heroes FCBD Special

The Valiant 2020: The Year of Heroes FCBD Speical is available at your local comic shop and it includes two all-new adventures starring Bloodshot and X-O Manowar!

Featuring Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot on the cover, the must-read Free Comic Book Day issue features an action-packed Bloodshot mission by New York Times bestselling writer Tim Seely and rising star Jason Masters. This explosive short story will also include the first appearances of Bloodshot movie characters Wilfred Wigans and KT in the Valiant Universe!

Plus: A captivating X-O Manowar story by multiple Eisner Award-nominated writer Joshua Dysart and artist Doug Braithwaite! Enjoy a first look at the engrossing tale starring Valiant’s flagship hero, below.

VALIANT 2020: THE YEAR OF HEROES FCBD SPECIAL

Valiant Hero Of The Week: Ninjak

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 Ninjak, Rai, Doctor Tomorrow and Livewire.

Valiant Hero of the Week

But this week’s winner (as you’ve probably guessed) was…

Ninjak

Who is he? A freelance mercenary frequently contracted by the British government. Colin King is a super wealthy man who has been trained in the ninja arts, possesses an incredible intelligence and affinity for technology. His parents died when he was young, he was raised by their butler, and it’s around this point that the Batman similarities end. Colin King’s parents were spies for the British government’s MI-6 who would eventually defect to the Soviet Union, leaving him in the custody of their Russian butler Alain who may or may not have been his biological father but was definitely an ex-KGB agent in hiding. Alain

What should you read?

X-O Manowar: Enter Ninjak

X-O Manowar has returned to Earth — and now the world’s most lethal intelligence agent has a new target. Hired by members of The Vine hidden deep within Earth’s governments, Ninjak has been sent to bring back the Manowar armor at any cost. But what happens when the world’s foremost weapons specialist engages the universe’s most powerful weapon head on? And even if Ninjak can defeat the armor’s defenses, does he stand a chance against the savage warrior that controls it? It’s raw power versus stealth and cunning in the second thrilling volume of X-O Manowar — and the Valiant Universe will never be the same again.


The introduction of Ninjak to the modern Valiant universe was in the second arc of X-O Manowar (a series worth reading in and of itself). If you want to see how effective Ninjak can be against somebody who on paper far outclasses him, then this is the book for you; yes, it does initially fall into the Superhero Team Up cliche, but this is one I over look because as Ninjak’s first appearance in the modern Valiant era, it was possible that his alignment may have shifted a little. I read this long after I had discovered who Ninjak was, but still thoroughly enjoyed the story nonetheless.

The only danger with reading this book is that you’ll probably want to jump into the world of X-O Manowar too, but don’t worry if that’s the case. It’s a world that’s well worth getting lost in.

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindle


Nnjak: Weaponeer

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NINJAk-weaponeer.jpg

Every master spy…has to start somewhere.

Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.

Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven — a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.


This collection covers the first five issues of Ninjak’s Valiant Entertainment relaunch, and is written by Matt Kindt and features Clay Mann, Butch Guice, and Juan Jose Ryp‘s artistic talents. This is where you’ll want to go for your introduction to the character, despite his first appearance coming in an issue of X-O Manowar a couple of years prior. We’re (re)introduced to Colin King and discover how he became Ninjak in flashbacks that twin with the present as King hunts down the Shadow Seven. It’s a spy thriller in the vein of James Bond, but starring a character who is closer to Batman than most other agents.

Purchase: Amazon (Hardcover)Amazon (Paperback)KindlecomiXologyBookshopTFAW


Ninjak: The Siege Of King’s Castle

Colin King, the elite MI-6 intelligence operative codenamed Ninjak, has confronted his past. He’s survived the gauntlet of the Shadow Seven. He’s walked into the Deadside and returned a changed man. Now his greatest trial yet will come to pass as the ruthless assassin called Roku returns to lay siege to Ninjak’s present and future by destroying his life from the inside out – and only the death of Colin King will stop her.


One of the best things about Ninjak and his mercenary life is that once you have a basic understanding of the character you realize that while his stories do follow a continuity you don’t have to read them in a linear fashion. This story follows Colin King as he loses everything and answers the question; who is he without his technology?

A classic stripping down of a character to his essence, this is Ninjak at his most resourceful – and consequently it’s one of my favourite tales.

Purchase:  comiXologyAmazonKindleBookshop


Ninjak K: The Ninja Files

For nearly a century, MI-6, the most elite branch of Britain’s clandestine intelligence service, has honed a ruthlessly effective, top-secret division – THE NINJA PROGRAMME – into one of its nation’s most finely wielded weapons.

Tasked as the first and last line of defense for queen and country, this small shadow army of agents and assassins has produced a succession of notable assets, including NINJA-A, the Queen’s silent weapon of World War I; NINJA-E, the globe-trotting secret agent that pulled the Cold War back from the brink of Armageddon; and, most recently, NINJA-K, aka Colin King, a brash but fearless instrument of lethality that has saved the world from madmen and terror at every turn. But now…an unknown enemy is hunting and killing members of THE NINJA PROGRAMME one by one – and NINJAK is next on the list.


The first volume of a series that dealt with Ninjak’s legacy as a member of MI-6’s Ninja Programme, this is a story that focuses less on Colin King and more on his predecessors, but it also means we get to see a lot of fantastic art from Tomas Giorello as he explores the different eras that MI-6’s ninja’s have been operating.

Another story that you can easily read out of order, this also comes highly recommended from yours truly.

Purchase:  comiXologyAmazonKindleBookshop


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.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Advance Review: X-O Manowar #2

X-O MANOWAR #2

Harvey Award-winning writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and breakout star Emilio Laiso unleash Valiant’s most powerful protector! 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!

The version of X-O Manowar #2 I have read for this review was a mostly black and white comic. For this reason, I’m going to be largely avoiding talking about the color art.

I recall reading this comic the first time around about three months back; it was a super early version designed to give folks an early preview at what’s coming up for the series. I enjoyed the book when I first read it, but after everything that’s happened in the world since first reading the book, I realized that there was more to X-O Manowar #2 than I first noticed – or maybe I’m looking at the comic with a different perspective. A lot has happened in the last three months, so it’s not surprising that a piece of art resonates with me in a different way.

Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum continues his polarizing depiction of Aric as he lives within a larger city with a single mother and her teenage son. Seeing the former king and emperor in this role hasn’t been popular with some readers, but personally I’m really enjoying seeing Aric trying to find a new way to fit into the modern world now that he’s lost everything but Shanhara. We’re seeing Aric adjust to being a modern man (sort of) in a totally unfamiliar world, and Hallum is using the fish out of water to let some humor into the comic. Not at Aric’s expense, but rather more along the lines of how the jokes are made in the first Thor movie.

The story in this issue is about how X-O Manowar, for all his power and access to knowledge from across human history, is still relatively unaware how to present himself in today’s world as the media falls out of love with him and he struggles to understand the complexity of certain situations. It’s an interesting angle to take with the character, and one I hope Hallum continues to explore as the series progresses.

I’m still all in for this comic, and I can’t wait to see how it improves when the finished product arrives. Although the book doesn’t have any color in it, Emilio Laiso‘s art still brings a wonderful quality to the proceedings. If the art is as good as the last issue, then I can’t wait to reread and update this again.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.2 Art: NA Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Retro Review: The Unity Saga

This week Valiant Entertainment have been focusing on the superhero team Unity as their Hero Of The Week, an initiative the company are undertaking to give readers and Valiant fans something to look forward to while the comic industry is on pause.

Valiant Entertainment is the company launched by a group of folks who purchased the first Valiant’s original character rights (Solar, Magnus and Turok were licensed characters used by the original iteration of the company, and weren’t included in the sale which is why you don’t see them in the modern books). The two eras of comics often differentiated by VH1 for the original publisher and VEI for the modern company (there is a VH2, but that’s not relevant right now). Given VEI’s tendency to reuse the names of VH1’s heroes, teams and comics in ways that pay homage to the original, or just as a tip of the hat to fans familiar with the VH1 era, I thought it would be interesting look back at the VH1 version of Unity.

Unity was an eighteen chapter crossover that took place from August – September of 1992 across seven different series published by Valiant Comics, with each of the publisher’s ongoing series dedicating two issues to the crossover. X-O ManowarSolar, Man Of The Atom; Shadowman; Rai; Magnus, Robot Fighter; Eternal Warrior; Archer and Armstrong; as well as prelude and epilogue under the Unity name each had a blue banner across the top of the cover, with artwork that formed two interconnecting images of eight comics. Both Eternal Warrior and Archer and Armstrong were launched during the crossover, with both the first and second issues having the blue banner.

The cover to first part of the story as it appeared in the individual series form a giant interconnected image.

The crossover was unique in that if you only read one series, say X-O Manowar, and had no intention to read the entire crossover, then you could read just the two chapters in X-O Manowar and still enjoy an almost complete story across those two chapters. That’s something that works very strongly in favour for the ongoing series that Unity crosses over, but when reading the story twenty-six years later it does have the effect of causing a sense of repetition as numerous scenes are retold – often from another character’s perspective, but not always. This also allowed for a slower build for the story, almost too slow by today’s standards, with a non-linear timeline that is perhaps necessitated by each contributing series having a complete story across both chapters.

The plot of Unity focused on a being of pure energy, much like Solar, called Erica Pierce who sought to unify all of time into one place, known as the Lost Land, where time moves incredibly slowly in comparison to the rest of the time stream. From the Lost Land, one can enter the timestream at any point, except in the Lost Land’s past, making the place a time nexus.It’s for this reason that Pierce wants to consolidate the timeline and eliminate anything that is not in the Lost Lands. Understandably, the heroes of the Valiant universe, both past and present, band together to stop her.

The covers to the second part also form a larger image when pieced together.

It’s the past and present of the heroes that’s interesting as we get the Eternal Warrior from the 1990’s and the Eternal Warrior from 4001 in the room at the same time, which leads to some interesting interactions between the two characters. What I was perhaps most surprised about was the ease of which you could read the series from start to finish without any knowledge of 90’s Valiant; now obviously I am more than a little familiar with post-2012 Valiant, so I may have had some advantage there, but one could also easily make the case that going in with knowledge as to who the characters are now doesn’t make it easier to read about who they were. It’d almost be like a Marvel vs Ultimate Marvel, or DC before and during the New 52 and then the Rebirth era. Similar, but not the same. More of a case of the new being inspired by the old.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the crossover, and was equally as surprised when I found myself collecting the original Valiant comics as a result. It was an epic story but because it was also designed to be ready easily if you only picked up some of the series involved, say Magnus, X-O Manowar and Harbinger, when reading every single issue you will notice there is some overlap. Often from a different perspective, but it lends those issues a feeling of familiarity that can be hard to shake. Although given the time displaced setting, one can argue that this familiarity is an added layer to the story – and the saga never shies from going in depth with the character’s emotions and thoughts, which is ideal if you’re starting to read VH1 comics with Unity as I did.

As a crossover story by a then young company, this was as ambitious as it was daring. Unity is the benchmark that other Valiant crossover stories are often held to, even today. After reading the story, I understand why.

Because some of the characters and comics included in the story are no longer under VEI ownership, it can be very hard to find the trades of Unity. Fortunately, the floppies are still relatively easy to track down for a very reasonable price. I don’t think I paid more than $4 for any of the books with the average being between $1-2. That is a great price considering what’s presented in this story.

Do you think that this kind of line wide crossover could work in today’s market?

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…

X-O Manowar

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.

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW


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.

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXology


X-O Manowar: Exodus

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…

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW


X-O Manowar: Soldier

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.

Buy Now: AmazonKindlecomiXology


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.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Valiant Hero Of The Week: X-O Manowar vs. Livewire vs. Rai vs. Archer and Armstrong

Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on their Twitter feed 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 – this week, the poll features X-O Manowar, Livewire, Rai and Archer & Armstrong. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways and more.

At Graphic Policy, we’re going to be running a spotlight on the winning character all week through various features depending on the character, but at the very least you’ll see our favorite covers and stories.

But Valiant has a lot of great characters, and it’d be a shame to not let you know which stories to read to get to know some of them a little more in case they don’t end up winning the fan vote. This week’s characters are a prime example of this, and the exact reason that we wanted to shine a little light on all four ahead of the week.

Below you’ll find a brief snapshot of the character and a trade paperback or two to check out. For fun, I’ll also note who I think is most likely to win (bear in mind this is being written on Sunday).

X-O Manowar

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.

What should you read? There are a lot of great X-O Manowar stories to choose from, some set in the past before he was taken by aliens, some set at various points in time thereafter. If I had to choose just one story… I’d probably start you at the very beginning of the second volume from 2017, 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.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXology

Livewire

Who is she? A psiot who can talk to technology, Livewire has always been a complicated person. Right now her position in the Valiant Universe is tenuous at best after the events of Harbinger Wars II, but the character has been involved in some pretty interesting stories over the years – some far better than others.

What should you read? Secret Weapons. This isn’t strictly a Livewire story, but it does focus on a group of outcasts with utterly useless powers that Livewire gathers together for their protection because they’re being hunted by a psiot killer. This one of the best stories to come from Valiant, and is worth checking out whenever you get a chance.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXology

Rai

Who is he? The guardian of New Japan, a floating city orbiting the earth in the year 4001 A.D., Rai protects the city and serves the will of Father, the AI who runs New Japan.

What should you read? I want to tell you read the 2019 Rai series, but it hasn’t been collected yet, so instead, start with the first volume of the first series, Rai: Welcome To New Japan. Because Rai’s story is set apart from the rest of the Valiant universe in many ways, it’s really easy to follow across the first volume of Rai, 4001 A.D. and Fallen World. So start at the beginning.

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW

Archer & Armstrong

Who are they? Yes, they. Archer is a young man trained from birth by a secret religious sect in every possible form of combat to take down the devil incarnate. Armstrong is, according to the religious sect who trained Archer, the devil incarnate because of his hedonistic lifestyle that has carried on for millennia. Yes, Armstrong is immortal. Yes, he’s partied his way through history. But is he really the devil incarnate? Depends who you ask, I guess.

What should you read? It has been a long time since I read the 2012 volume of this series, but even still it still sticks with me. For that reason, Archer And Armstrong: The Michelangelo Code is the story that you should be reading. Not only is it a great story, it’s also only $10 or so (recommended retail price).

Purchase: AmazonKindlecomiXologyTFAW


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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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