X-O Manowar (2012) #1
Title: Blades and Open Fields
Writer: Robert Venditti
Pencils: Cary Nord
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Colors: Moose Baumann
Cover Art: Esad Ribic, David Aja, Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic, Cary Nord
Editor: Warren Simons
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
In 402 A.D., an army of Visigoths prepare to face the forces of Rome. Outnumbered and outmatched, the warrior called Aric refuses to back down – a determination that serves him well when he is taken captive… not by the Romans, but by alien colonists looking at Earth as their next target.
In fairness, I should tell you guys that I am a huge fan of old-school Valiant Comics. They came into their own as a publisher at roughly the same time I really began to expand as a reader, and as such, there’s always been a soft spot in my heart for them. That said, I’d like to say I’m objective enough to admit if the book sucked. I’m glad to say it doesn’t. Robert Venditti has captured the flavor of Aric of Dacia nicely, presenting a rebooted character that feels very similar to the original. If there had never been an X-O Manowar #0 from the original Valiant Comics, this story could easily fit with the rest of the regular series.
That’s not to say, however, that the book is married to the original. There’s a very interesting subplot introduced in this book that doesn’t seem to play into anything that was done with the character in the old universe, but that’s just fine. Let ‘em try something a little different. As long as it feels true to the character, I welcome it.
Cary Nord does some excellent work here. The book looks like a sword-and-sorcery comic, a style that would fit in with the likes of Conan the Barbarian (which Nord has done before). When the sci-fi elements arrive, though, they don’t look out of place. Aric fits with the world of the alien spaceships and armor that are essential to the story at hand.
I’m ecstatic to have the Valiant Universe back to begin with. I’m even happier that the first issue starts things off so well.