By Robert Venditti, Lee Garbett and Moose Baumann
X-O Manowar has been the stand out series since Valiant Comics relaunched last year. After years of slavery and battle, Aric of Dacia is back on Earth many, many years removed from his own time. He has a seemingly unstoppable alien war suit, and no real understanding of the Earth he landed on after escaping his slavers, The Vine. So what does a man from the end of the 4th century want to do with people he’s freed, and an unstoppable alien war suit? Why, reclaim his kingdom, which hasn’t existed for centuries, and proclaim himself King.
Since day one Robert Venditti has done a fantastic job as writer for X-O Manowar. Every issue he continues his growth of lead character Aric, and continues to build the world that is slowly becoming the new Valiant Universe. Aric is proud and he’s arrogant, but he’s from a time that is indescribably different from our own and it’s fantastic to watch him interact with the 21st century. This 4th century warrior is quick to anger, and keen on violent solutions to defend his people and, “kingdom,” with conviction and a viciousness that just isn’t seen anymore. Every issue Venditti gives you reason to dislike Aric and reasons to like him. It’s going to be interesting to see which direction Venditti choose to lean towards in the coming issues.
Lee Garbett, providing the art, has, possibly, one of his best issues to date. Everything is just perfectly executed from pencil to ink and nothing seems out of place. His panels and layouts might not be as daring as some, but they do a fine job telling the story and keeping the flow of Venditti’s story. One particular panel that stands out, during a flashback, is simply young Aric’s eyes faded into the vast Dacian landscape as his father tells the tale of the lands they once owned. While a relatively easy panel, it just stands out; the blue of his eyes against the brown of the sky and fields makes a huge impression. You can almost see the curiosity and wonderment as his father tells his tale. Beautifully done.
These last few issues have been leading and building towards the upcoming Valiant Universe event Unity, where it appears that the rest of the Valiant U are going to have to try and stop Aric and his X-O Manowar armor and it’s going to be difficult to choose whose side you’re on. Aric is a likable guy, even if he’s a little bit… behind the times. X-O is one to watch and the upcoming Unity is really going to change and shape the new Valiant Universe for years to come. Make sure you check out this fantastic series that seems to be flying under most people’s radars.