Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Cary Nord
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
By Nolan Patrick Smith
(Victor Valley)–In 1992, the world was introduced to Valiant Comics and it’s flagship title, X-O Manowar. Valiant went on to have many successful books including Bloodshot and Archer and Armstrong, and there was even a video game crossover featuring X-O Manowar and Marvel Comic’s Iron Man. The company was sold to Acclaim, and as a part of Acclaim it went bankrupt in 2005, leaving the universe in limbo. This first issue is the start to the rebirth of Valiant, and who better to start it off with than the X-O Manowar himself.
Story: The story begins a long time ago, with a war between the Visigoth and the Roman Empire. Among the Visigoth warriors is Aric of Dacia, a headstrong fighter that serves his people and his king. Without giving anything away, I will say that the X-O Manowar suit is seen in this issue, and its role that it plays in this new universe is explored. We see bloodshed and swords a plenty, giving us some idea of what to expect in issues to come.
New York Times bestselling author Robert Venditti (Surrogates) is on the helm for this relaunch, and what a job he does. The issue has an epic feel to it, as we see the Visigoths and Romans tear into each other. We also see the undying devotion of Aric to his people; and even when the odds are against him, he does not quit. The issue serves as a great introduction to the new X-O Manowar universe, and definitely leaves the reader wanting more by the end of the last page.
Art: Eisner Award winner Cary Nord (Conan) provides the artwork for this all-important series, as he does what he does best. Nord is best known for his work on Conan, which clearly shows in the battle between the Visigoths and the Romans. The X-O suit itself received a redesign courtesy of Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic, know for her work at Marvel, which makes the suit much sleeker and streamlined, giving a more alien feel to it rather than a man-made suit of armor.
Overall: This is a very important issue for Valiant. In the months to follow, more titles will be relaunched with new creative teams and redesigns, and this issue sets the tone for it all. Thankfully, X-O Manowar #1 shines bright, unphased by carrying the weight of a new company on its shoulders. The story is off to a great start, and it can only get better as we see more of the blue and gold warrior. Highly Recommended, I give X-O Manowar #1 a perfect ***** out of 5.