One of the first reviews I ever wrote was for Valiant Comic’s X-O Manowar, a book which I, at the time, knew very little about going in. Since then I have read a lot of back issues on Comixology and I feel a little more well versed in the character, and Valiant comics in general.
The first four issues were fantastic in my opinion. It was a perfect entry point for new readers (Something that Valiant has been a little hit and miss with as of late), and told a story that was as relevant as it was interesting.
If you didn’t read those early issues, I highly recommend checking out the trade. In short, Aric, ancient warrior taken off the battlefield, enslaved by aliens, stole a super suit and led his people to freedom. In return for helping his rescued people find a home, Aric worked for the government, and various adventures ensued.
Issue one of this new series doesn’t burden the reader with much of this backstory, and instead picks up with Aric living on his own with his AI infused super suit named Shanhara, and trying to help out his friends, while also figuring out how to be a hero in a world he just doesn’t feel he belongs in.
Think Captain America meets Iron Man, in a good way.
The first four issue arc of XO Manowar introduced a number of new characters, including the character of Troy Whitaker, a billionaire in the vein of Tony Stark. He’s a super genius who seems to legitimately want to help the world, and thinks that helping Aric is the best way to do this.
The problem is that Aric doesn’t fully trust Troy, and for his part Troy is perfectly happy to manipulate Aric for what he deems to be the greater good. Together they take out an evil terrorist, but in doing so they come under attack from an enormous, sentient nanite swarm that seems hell bent on destroying not only the world, but Aric in particular.
Issue 5 picks up in the middle of the story, so let’s check out the blurb and see if this series is able to maintain its momentum, or if Valiant should have stopped while they were ahead.
Here’s the blurb:
An all-new adventure starts here in Part 1 of “Upgrade the World!”
Harvey-nominated writer Dennis Hopeless and breathtaking artist Emilio Laiso return to the epic saga of Aric of Dacia, aka X-O MANOWAR, as he battles an unknown nanite monstrosity that is devouring the earth.
Will our hero out of time finally evolve into the warrior of the future or will X-O Manowar drown with the past?
Alright, it’s a little light on details, but to be honest Issue 5 of X-O Manowar is a little light on plot as well. Don’t get me wrong, it has some pretty big revelations and there are more than a few twists and turns, but I don’t want to ruin anything for you right now.
That being said, a good chunk of this issue is split between monster fighting and flashbacks, which were a little hard to follow on the digital copy I received. I really hope the art looks cleaner in the actual book, because the muddiness of the colors did makes thinks a bit confusing.
What I can say is that the story telling continues to be top notch in X-O Manowar. The characters are well written and interesting, and the story itself moved at a good pace. That being said, if you missed the first four issues you’re going to be pretty lost, even with my summary.
The good news is that the first four are out in trade right now, and so if you missed them, there is still time to go back and play catch-up, and trust me, it’s worth it.
X-O Manowar is one of the best titles that Valiant puts out, and from what I’ve seen there is a lot here for new and old fans alike. This title is a part of my pull list, and I think it should be part of yours as well!
So check it out, and until new week, stay safe.