by Ales Kot, Adam Gorham

Dead Drop #1, the new action-packed miniseries from Ales Kot and first-time Valiant artist Adam Gorham is out today with story and format that is different from anything we’ve seen from Valiant before but manages to pack quite the punch. As a deadly virus is let loose, X-O Manowar, with the guidance of Neville Alcott from MI-6, must make his way through the city to track down the virus and stop it from being unleashed.

I’ll admit that I was a little worried about the first issue of Dead Drop after seeing the preview pages a couple of months ago. Ales Kot is a very talented writer who has done some excellent work on titles such as Zero and Secret Avengers, but being a fan of X-O Manowar for well over 20 years, I’m always a little weary when a new writer tries to put his or her own skin on the character. In many respects, Kot’s characterization of Aric is more akin to earlier issues of the current series with Aric being cockier and much more gun-ho than we’ve seen recently in the main X-O Manowar title. I love what Robert Venditti has done developing Aric’s character over the past 35 issues and this seemed a bit of a step back, at least with respect to his dialogue. That’s not to say the writing isn’t good though, and I really enjoyed the breakneck pace at which this story is told. This issue is really a crazy goose chase after all and the pacing of the story does a great job at really showing the reader the immediate attention which the situation requires – or risk the destruction of the human race.

The highlight of the book for me though is Adam Gorham’s art which really goes a long way to really selling the action. The level of agility which Aric and the terrorist he is chasing possess can be a bit daunting for some artists to really pull off well, but the level of polish which Gorham puts into every panel is incredible. In fact, I will say that the last page of this issue contains one of my favorite visual representations of X-O Manowar since Cary Nord’s early work on the ongoing title.

Overall, Dead Drop #1 is a tremendously fun issue which raises some really interesting questions as to what is going on. Just what is the virus that’s introduced here and how is it connected not just to the Vine but to some of the other alien connections in the Valiant universe. While not a perfect issue, Dead Drop #1 is off to a great start and has really sold me on the rest of the miniseries.

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