It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another new edition of Kickin’ It Old School, our weekly column in which we look to the past and review books from the original Valiant universe! This week, I’ll be discussing X-O Manowar #3

X-O Manowar #3

Published in April 1992
Written by Jim Shooter & Steve Englehart
Penciled by Sal Velluto
Inked by Tom Ryder with Ted Halsted
Colored by Jorge Gonzalez


Aric is holes up in the Orb Industries building after defeating the spider aliens. He’s getting bored of laying low while his friend Ken gets things in order. Meanwhile, Harada assumes that Aric is a spider alien since he wears the armor and contracts a former USSR operative with guns in his arms to take Aric out. Solar pays a brief visit to Aric, which draws Aric out of the building to find the quickly departing Solar. After and enjoyable knife fight in the park, which sees Aric killing ten thugs with his bare hands, Aric returns to the Orb Industries building, but is jumped by X-Calibur.

Aric and X-Calibur have a massive fight while Harada watches through X-Calibur’s eyes. Harada realizes that Aric is not an alien and that there are things even he does not understand. Innocent bystanders begin to get hurt from X-Calibur’s stray shots, but as Aric tries to take the fight to the park, X-Calibur continues the assault and gains the upper hand. When he damages the armor, Aric gets fed up and damages X-Calibur’s gun implants, leaving him severely injured. As Ken and Aric flee the scene, Harada decides that he must involve himself personally.


I’m amazed at the extent to which the VH1 Universe is interwoven.  Once again, we see Harada’s attempt to control the fate of the world, sending X-Calibur to take out Aric, who Harada assumes is a spider alien.  Solar makes a brief appearance and is pleased to see that Aric has been defending the earth while he has been driving the fleet of spider aliens away.  The three titles of the modern-day Valiant Universe are tied together and headed towards Unity, which has already been advertised.  I find this to be interesting and a great way to get people to check out the other titles.  The best part is it isn’t necessary to read the other titles to understand what you’re reading in one.  The downside is that this can stunt the growth of each individual story line and the characters involved.  Harbinger saw the Renegades go to space, which was essentially just a side story.  This issue of X-O has Aric battling a guy with gun arms.  Nice fight, but tangential to the bigger story.

It seems as though story arcs weren’t as necessary in the 90s.  So far, Magnus has had clearly defined arcs, as well as Solar.  Rai appears to be beginning with a four issue arc.  Harbinger and X-O are suddenly kind of jumping around.  That’s one big difference between the VH1 Valiant and the VEI Valiant.  The story and character development isn’t second priority in VEI.  Still, this was a fun issue that gives more of a sense of how this world all ties together.

Kickin’ It Old School: X-O Manowar #1

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