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Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Talks About X-O Manowar #1

X-O Manowar #1

Aric of Dacia, a 4th-century Visigoth warrior bonded with a powerful sentient alien armor, is facing a whole new kind of threat in the new series by best-selling writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and amazing artist Emilio Laiso. Can Aric become the hero the world needs today?

X-O Manowar #1 launches on March 25th, 2020, featuring colors by Ruth Redmond, letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and covers by Christian WardJeff DekalRod ReisGreg Smallwood, and Raúl Allén. We got a chance to ask Hallum a few questions about the series and Valiant in general.


Graphic Policy: Hey Dennis! How’re you doing?

Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum: I’m exhausted right at the moment but otherwise good. My kids and I have been living through a major house renovation for a few months and we’re all crawling up the walls a bit.

GP: You’re following in the footsteps of Robert Venditti and Matt Kindt’s run on what is arguably Valiant’s flagship character – do you feel any pressure when taking on the character?

DHH: Arguably hell. Aric is the tip-top, no doubt about it.

I’m sure I would feel pressure if I let myself think about it that way. We’re stepping into some hefty shoes and I absolutely love what the previous teams did with the character. Fortunately, our story is totally new direction with a brand-new mission statement for the character. It very much feels like its own fresh thing. That saves me from trying to live up… Also, I’m a fantastic writer.

GP: How do you approach writing a fifth-century man wearing a super-advanced sentient armor?

DHH: With caution, right? 

I think the built-in anachronism there is what makes Aric so fascinating. The juxtaposition of ancient warrior and sci-fi alien technology just works. It’s a constant push and pull, old and new. This badass Visigoth warrior wearing an impossible powerful weapon… That happens to be a brilliant sentient alien who can tell him when he’s screwing up. Aric and Shanhara’s relationship is the heart this comic, and I mean that like 3 different ways.

GP: From what I understand, you’re taking a slightly different approach to the character, focusing more on how he impacts the general public (which I think is going to be awesome). Can you tell us a little about why you wanted to explore that? 

DHH: You have a man from the distant past wearing an alien super suit that is as futuristic as anything in fiction. Showing how the present deals with all that just makes a lot sense. We’ve seen X-O deal with alien invasions and massive military threats. It was big and explosive and awesome. Now we want to show what it’s like when this guy shows up on your block looking to save the day. What do people think of him? How is his presence changing the world… And what will those changes mean to Aric and Shanhara?

GP: Without getting too far into spoiler territory, what can you tell us about where you want to take Aric over the course of your run?

DHH: Full-fledged superhero status. That’s the goal. Aric wants to help people. He wants so save the kitten, save the world, save the day. But he has to do it in a very grounded, realistic universe in which actions have hard consequences. This story is full of repercussions and grassroots world-building. We’re trying to change the whole game for X-O but in a way that makes real sense.

GP: How much guidance has there been from Valiant editorial in regards to hitting certain beats/events in the story you want to tell in the series?

X-O Manowar #1

DHH: Heather Antos is a Godsend. Valiant has a very specific plan for who these characters are and how they need to be presented. That sort of thing can be a nightmare to navigate as a writer, but Heather made everything super clear and easy from the beginning. From pitch to script, she’s helped us thread that needle and we’ve had a ton of creative freedom. The notes we do get make the stories and characters stronger. At this point, I’m just having fun.

GP: If you suddenly found yourself in possession of Shanhara, where would be the first place you would go?

DHH: The moon maybe? Seems like a relatively short trip to a place not many people have been. Also, imagine the TikTok hype you’d get from that video.

GP: Finally, if you had to choose just one; aliens, ninjas, zombies or pirates?

DHH: Choose for what? I feel like all of those things would either immediately try to kill me… Or have zero interest in my company. Aliens, I guess? Nice ones?

Get a First Look at X-O Manowar #1 Inks

Feast your eyes on stunning new artwork from X-O Manowar #1!

Aric of Dacia, a 4th-century Visigoth warrior bonded with a powerful sentient alien armor, is facing a whole new kind of threat in the new series by best-selling writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and amazing artist Emilio Laiso. Can Aric become the hero the world needs today?

X-O Manowar #1 launches on March 25th, 2020, featuring colors by Ruth Redmond, letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and covers by Christian WardJeff DekalRod ReisGreg Smallwood, and Raúl Allén.

Check out some of Emilio’s gorgeous pencils and inks below!

Valiant Reveals X-O Manowar #1 Covers by Christian Ward, Rod Reis, Jeff Dekal, Greg Smallwood, and Raúl Allén

X-O Manowar #1 launches this March with stunning covers by all-star artists!

The debut issue by Harvey Award-winner Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and breakout star artist Emilio Laiso will feature captivating covers by Christian WardJeff DekalRod Reis, Greg Smallwood, and Raúl Allén! Take a look at the cool covers below.

The blockbuster adventure begins on March 25th, 2020, featuring colors by Ruth Redmond and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

Cover A by Christian Ward
Cover B by Jeff Dekal
Cover C by Rod Reis
Preorder Edition Cover by Greg Smallwood
1:250 Bronze Variant Cover by Raúl Allén

X-O Manowar Launches for New Adventure in March 2020

X-O Manowar #1 unleashes the Valiant Universe’s most powerful hero in an all-new series this March!

From fan-favorite writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and breakout star artist Emilio Laiso, a futuristic threat arises to destroy the planet, and the ancient warrior king – Aric of Dacia, a.k.a. X-O Manowar – is the only person with the courage and power to stand against impossible odds! Can Aric evolve into the superhero the world needs today?

The epic adventure kicks off in X-O Manowar #1 on March 25th, 2020, featuring colors by Ruth Redmond, letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and covers by Christian WardJeff DekalRod ReisGreg Smallwood, and Raúl Allén.

Feast your eyes on a first-look at the stellar artwork!

X-O Manowar #1

Preview: X-O Manowar (2017) Vol. 7: Hero

X-O MANOWAR (2017) VOL. 7: HERO TPB

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO, ISAAC GOODHART
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ, ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
On sale June 19th, 2019
$14.99 | 112 pgs. | T+ | Full Color
 

The past catches up with Earth’s Visigoth guardian!

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! Now, 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!

Collecting X-O MANOWAR (2017) #23–26.

X-O MANOWAR (2017) VOL. 7: HERO TPB

Valiant Reveals the New X-O Manowar Creative Team

Valiant Entertainment has announced the creative team behind the upcoming X-O Manowar ongoing series this November!

Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and artist Emilio Laiso will be taking on the iconic character beginning November 2019.

Hallum said in the announcement:

The Valiant universe is full of intensely human characters with wild origins and interesting flaws. We always give the cool robot suits to billionaires and scientists. I love how Aric flips that on its head. He didn’t build the suit. He can’t explain the suit. And he could kick your butt up and down the road without the suit. The anachronism is fascinating and I can’t wait to play around with it.

Review: X-O Manowar #26

X-O Manowar #26

This is it! This is Matt Kindt’s final issue of his Eisner Award-nominated, critically acclaimed run on X-O MANOWAR. 

X-O Manowar takes the final battle against the galaxy’s baddest bounty hunters into space to decide the ultimate fate of the universe.

As Matt Kindt‘s run on Valiant’s flagship title comes to a close, we’re treated to perhaps one of the best capstones of a series you’re going to read in a long time. Kindt ties together most of the loose ends of the series, giving the reader a true sense of closure in the chapter of the character’s life while leaving the door open for next writer to shape Aric’s destiny.

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 #26. 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, and I almost wish I had more to say that I haven’t said before regarding the visual appeal of this book… but short of highlighting one of the pages below, I am truly at a loss for words.

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 time. The series may have ended for now, but it’s going to go down in the annals of Valiant history as one of the most iconic runs in the publisher’s archives.

Aric of Dacia is bound to return sooner or later, but until that happens, this was a perfectly suited swan song – a love letter to the fans who have been reading since the first issue. This is an utterly perfect end to an amazing run.

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

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

Preview: X-O Manowar #26

X-O MANOWAR #26

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO & ISAAC GOODHART
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ & ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by RYAN BODENHEIM
Cover C by MICHAEL MANOMIVIBUL 
Interlocking Cover by FRANCIS PORTELA
Pre-Order Edition Cover by JASON METCALF
On sale April 17th, 2019
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | VALIANT PREMIUM | T+ | Full Color

This is it! This is Matt Kindt’s final issue of his Eisner Award-nominated, critically acclaimed run on X-O MANOWAR.

X-O Manowar takes the final battle against the galaxy’s baddest bounty hunters into space to decide the ultimate fate of the universe.

X-O MANOWAR #26

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.

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