Sunday, March 19, 2017

Advance Review: X-O Manowar #1 Review

X-O Storms Normandy

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art Team: Tomas Giorello, Diego Rodriguez
Valiant Comics
Release Date: March 1, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99


X-O Storms Normandy

The Valiant Universe has always been a bit of a mystery to me despite the fact I am a fan of several of their more well-known characters, namely Ninjak and X-O Manowar.  I just don’t really understand how all the miniseries and other characters fit into the big picture, so when X-O was put on the shelf for a bit, I took a little break myself. Well break over people because Valiant’s X-O Manowar series has returned with a fresh number one, a new jumping on point, and enough action to put Bloodsport to shame. Interested? Of course you are, read on. 

At the start of our fresh jumping on point we immediately notice a weathered, battle worn, Aric of “Urth” as he’s called here, living on a Planet called Gorin.  It’s easy to see if you’ve read the previous series from Valiant, which is a great fifty issue run by the way, that our hero has been through a lot since he left Earth.  He has decided to leave his armor hidden, and all the fighting behind, instead settling down to become a farmer for this developing civilization.     
We take a few moments in the beginning of the title to catch up with X-O’s new main squeeze and situation. We see while tending to the farm Aric runs, a group of alien soldiers march by who recruit, or more accurately shame Aric into being a weaponless arrow shield for the cause. Here we now have the premise and setup for our issue, as X-O is thrown into a battle he wants nothing to do with, between two alien races he has little love for. The man just wants to be left alone damnit don’t wake the sleeping armored beast.

This bossy army commander quickly fills in X-O, and the other recruited cannon fodder, about what their specific rolls in this battle will be. To sum up this situation X-O and his team will be thrown into a situation very reminiscent of World War II’s storming of the beaches of Normandy. Only this time instead of beaches and sand they will be dealing with scaling rocky cliffs.  X-O quickly falls into old habits as he makes his way up the steep cliffside, throwing and taking out enemies out all along the way in incredible fashion, with no weapons but a grappling hook.

At the top of his destination, he meets up with a group of soldiers who reorganize and press on against insurmountable odds, eventually arriving at the moat of the palace fortress they’re attacking.  As the group faces off again a giant battle armored monster, X-O’s instincts and experience take over, as he uses the tools at his disposal, a grappling hand and anything on the ground, to bring the monster down becoming the hero of the day.

For his successful valiant efforts X-O is burdened with another mission by his mildly unappreciative general. X-O is tasked to bring down the communication hub for the palace ridding the enemy of their starships, in turn turning this foothold into a stronghold for this rebel army.  Thankfully X-O has brought a piece of the armor with him, chipped of the sphere previously in the story, as he calls on the alien armor to help him “one last time”, to which it kindly obliges.  

Overall this is a top notch jumping on point for new and longtime readers of the X-O Manowar series.  The story gradually builds on its establishing premise and at no point in Matt Kindt’s script does the reader ever stop to question what is happening, the story flows so well together. The art, expressions, and colors are all beautiful as you feel the impact of each scene getting the sense and feel you yourself are thrown into the battlefield.  I honestly haven’t been this engrossed in a first issue of a comic book in forever.  Issue ones can tend to slowly establish a character in ways that ease the reader into a book but this just grabs you by the neck, throwing into the fray off the bat, and I much prefer this method of storytelling than the Marvel method of late which is milking a 2 issue story into 6 issue arc with plenty of filler.

Bits and Pieces:

X-O is back with a vengeance which is something long time and new readers will enjoy equally.  This is Valiant, Kindt, and the art team of Giorello and Rodriguez at their best, a book for comic book fans in general, and a treat that needs to be seen to be believed.


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