It is satisfying to read a new Valiant Comic. Very satisfying. Everything just feels a bit more right in a world with Valiant Comics in it.
We here at OTV have been waiting for this for a very long time. When this podcast first started, over four years ago, it seemed that Valiant Comics might be just on the horizon. There were some set backs along the way, but we here knew this day was coming eventually.
Here it is. We’ve read X-O Manowar #1, and I think it’s safe to say that our reviews are fairly positive.
This is a Non-Spoiler Review. Read Freely.
This is a multi-person review, we’ve got our individual thoughts for you below.
It’s good. Let’s just get that out of the way.
It’s not just good in the “I’m excited for everything about Valiant Comics” sort of way, it’s good.
It’s 100% accessible to folks that have never read X-O before, and for those that have, it is new and different enough from the classic X-O to not be a rehash.
The first time I read it, I was struck by the difference between this and the classic X-O Manowar #1. It doesn’t jump straight to it like the classic X-O #1, where Aric had the X-O armor by page 3. It takes some time to explain who Aric is, where he comes from, what is happening to him and his people, and what the villains are doing. While it doesn’t jump right to Aric in the X-O armor, it does jump right into action.
For long time Valiant fans, Aric will be familiar, but not exactly the same. For new readers, you’re going to find out very quickly who Aric is, and what he is all about. Aric doesn’t tell you what he is all about, he shows you. Right from the very start. With his sword.
Cary Nord delivers. The art is great, as I expected based on his previous work. Robert Venditti takes full advantage of Cary Nord’s talent as a visual storyteller. Aric, and the story itself, are defined more by the action than by anything else. There are words when needed, but the story is as much told by the art as it is the words.
It isn’t just Aric’s story that makes use of the visual storytelling. One of the more alarming scenes featuring the Vine (the villains), has almost no intelligible words at all, but still manages to be creepy and foreboding (in a good way).
My number one suggestion is to take your time with this issue. With as much of the story told through the images as through the words, it rewards a slow reading to soak up the art.
There are a lot of seeds planted in this issue. Seeds that will prompt questions, and will undoubtedly be parts of the story to come. There’s are hints that there is a lot more to the story than “man get powerful armor and blast evil aliens, Raaaaah!” There are a number of things that happened that made me ask wonder what they would lead to, and how it will all unfold.
There is more going on in this story than it seems.
I’ve read X-O Manowar #1 several times now. Each time I read it, I like it more than the last, and I liked it pretty darn well the first time.
Spending the last two weeks moving into a new house here in Phoenix, AZ, I did not get the chance to read my advance copy of X-O Manowar #1 as immediately as my strapping cohorts of OTV. But eventually, I had to take a break and dive in!!! With laptop in hand, I took some time and went to a local burger joint, to fill my belly and partake in the free Wi-Fi to feed my mind with the first release of Valiant 2012!
And what a fantastic read it was!!!
Without giving any particular details away, the first thing I can say is that it felt WONDERFUL reading a full-size comic story, that took more than 5 minutes to read through; not common in this day and age. The visuals by Cary Nord are delivered in cinematic beauty; rich in depth and scale, and the writing by Robert Venditti is the caliber of the finest fantasy novel-turned-to-summer blockbuster movie! There is action, intrigue, a wonderful twist…CHARACTERIZATION!
If Valiant Entertainment continues to deliver comic product of this quality, the other publishers will quake in their boots!!!
I give this issue 4.5 out of 5 Entertaimos!
1. Onagers! F YEAH!
2. The bottom two panels on page 29, the ************** guy – the voice I hear when he speaks is the Knight from Last Crusade.
3. THAT WAS AWESOME!
I really enjoyed X-O Manowar #1 and am very thankful I got to see an advance copy. It is a great kick off to the re-launch of Valiant! Here are my top 10 thoughts, plus a few…
1) They got the history and the Roman part right. As a History Teacher I appreciate getting the history correct. The Roman general is even correct. Even though the date is not given I’d guess that X-O page #1 takes place on Easter Sunday in 402. That is how good they did on the history (there is a slight variation for the good of the story, but it looks like they did their research). Well done Valiant!
2) Cary Nord is Perfect for X-O! In a conversation with Dinesh last year, he mentioned that he got (or was in the process of getting) his dream artist for X-O. He was right. Cary Nord’s style fits X-O perfectly. The first full body shot of Aric is perfect. It is everything Aric should be. Then when you realize that Cary is exclusive to Valiant, it is a match made in storytelling heaven.
3) Tons of character development in the book. This is not just an action book. Robert Venditti wonderfully incorporates subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) character elements into the book. (and also a kudos for Cary Nord again here, there are times that the art does the same, so great job Robert and Cary for working so well together in this aspect) Aric is shown as: strong, fearless, a leader, hot-headed/head strong, but also compassionate and even tender (in his own barbarian way).
4) There are a few great X-O lines in the book but my favorite is:
Random Visagoth: “There are too many of them”
Aric: “Patience, I can *********************.”
5) Robert Vendetti spends some time laying out the importance of swords to Aric in this book. This can only mean one GREAT thing down the road…. LIGHTNING SWORD!!!!!!!
6) But as important as a Sword is to Aric, he realizes the need for something,…. more……
7) The Vine have the same color blood as Spider Aliens did. That is a nice nod to the OG Valiant.
8) There is a scene in the Roman camp that will be the BIG talking point (or at least one of the two big) of the book. VERY, very cool, and I’m super excited to see what it leads to. Without spoiling it, these two pages will affect the entire Valiant Universe. (and IMO, it was perfectly paced, and created, and drawn. A GREAT two pages)
9) Cary Nord is perfect for X-O. [worth saying again!]
10) You will know the “plans” of the Vine in X-O #1.
….. Ok, that’s ten, but how about a few more.
12) The X-O armor is fundamentally different (but also still the same) than the OG X-O Armor. The scenes with the armor are great. Trust me. (this will be a big talking point on fan message boards)
13) The last page of the book is perfect. Wait….. is that possibly a familiar face? I guess we will see.
Overall, I was very satisfied with this book. Robert Vendetti did a great job with establishing the story, beginning the character development, creating drama, and introducing short and long term plot elements. Cary Nord was a champ with the action (but that is no surprise) and he also was part of the story telling with his layout and backgrounds. Lastly, I’ve read X-O #1 like 5 times, and each time I see something else, it gets better.
X-O Manowar #1 is a home run for Valiant! The Summer of Valiant has begun with a bang!