X-O Manowar #10 (2017)
“Everyone dies… …it’s the final and only lasting Justice. Evil exists; it is intelligence in the service of entropy. When the side of a mountain slides to kill a village, this is not evil, for evil requires intent. Should a sentient being cause that landslide, there is evil; and requires Justice as a consequence, so that civilization can exist… …There is no greater good than Justice; and only if law serves Justice is it a good law. It is said correctly that law exists not for the just but for the unjust, for the just carry the law in their hearts, and do not need to call it from afar… …I bow to no one and give service only for cause.”
― Boba Fett, from the Star Wars Universe
In 2012 when Valiant Entertainment was re-launched, they decided to do so with X-O Manowar #1 written by Robert Venditti (The Surrogates, Green Lantern, and X-O Manowar) and featuring artwork by 2005 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award winning artist Cary Nord (Daredevil, X-Men, and Conan The Barbarian). The series ran for 50 consecutive issue, including a zero issue, a 25th Anniversary Special, a 64 page Annual, and Commander Trill one shot making it the longest running Valiant title since the 2012 re-launch.
At the conclusion of X-O Manowar #50, it was teased that X-O Manowar would return in 2017. True to their word, Valiant released the next volume in March of 2017 written by Matt Kindt (Ninjak, Divinity, and Mind Mgmt) and featuring artwork by an all-star line up of artists which was very well received by the public.
X-O Manowar #1 through #3 | “Soldier”
By Matt Kindt and Tomas Giorello
X-O Manowar #4 through #6 | “General”
By Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite
X-O Manowar #7 through #9 | “Emperor”
By Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain
X-O Manowar #10 | Interlude
By Matt Kindt and Renato Guedes
The story progression of X-O Manowar (2017) was very different from where the character had previously been, featuring a unique blending of the best elements of Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian to create an epic space fantasy that resonated well with readers, while at the same time creating the perfect starting point for new readers to jump onto the title.
This strategy worked. In April of 2017, it was reported that 90,000+ copies of X-O Manowar #1 (2017) had been sold, making it the years best-selling independent comic book release by any publisher. As each subsequent new issue was released, they would consistently receive nearly identical praise from critics (an average of 4.48 out of 5.00 possible stars) and readers (an average of 4.55 out of 5.00 possible stars).
X-O Manowar #10 serves as an interlude between the “Emperor” story arc that occurred in X-O Manowar #7 through #9, and the upcoming “Visigoth” story arc that will occur in X-O Manowar #11 through #13. It further begins to significantly expand the known Valiant Universe as well as the diverse and intelligent alien life that exists throughout. Artist Kenneth Rocafort’s new character designs for this series are provided below for reference.
Kindt writes a stand alone story about a group of bounty hunters, each with their own unique background, appearance, and characterization. It is a brilliant introduction and addition to the Valiant Universe, which continues to grow its surprising number of available intellectual properties for present and future use. The potential for Armor Hunter, Divinity, Eternity, and Vine crossovers is endless; as is the Valiant Universes’ expansion into the far reaches of space. Kindt clearly understands that the secret to creating quality and memorable characters is my helping readers get to know and like them. Good, bad, or neutral; all characters have their own motivations for action, which is a cornerstone for strong story telling such as this.
Artistically, Guedes paints each page and panel in full color to a magnificent effect! Guedes first worked with Valiant on Bloodshot Reborn #0 and Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 and provided quality work; however, it was not until his work as a cover artist for Bloodshot’s Day Off #1 and as an interior artist on Divinity #0 that his true artistic talent made its strongest impact! Guedes employs this same artistic style to the interior pages of X-O Manowar #10, with vibrant reds, greens, and purples used to depict settings and mood. Guedes often uses color hue and saturation to separate events occurring in different locations as a visual cue for readers that facilitates such transitions. His painted artwork is a visual spectacle that demands attention from fans and readers, and most certainly brings something special to each book that he works on.
X-O Manowar #10 is a fantastic story with phenomenal artwork; introducing new and compelling characters, it bridges the excellence that came before, with the exciting promise of the comic book excellence that is yet to come in the pages of X-O Manowar!