X-O Manowar #1
X-O Manowar is back guys and dolls, attempting to establish himself among the modern day society, we see Aric as we rarely have before: interacting with every day people. Moreover we that Aric and the Shanhara armor are seemingly closer than ever but all is not smooth sailing for our favorite Visigoth.
How will he learn to adapt from the gruff superpowered barbarian and roughshod king, to a more conventional superhero? Will society accept him in such a role? How will Aric adapt without the aid of the remaining Visigoths, General Capshaw or his allies like Gilad or Livewire? Aric of Dacia has tackled being a warrior out of time but now he faces his greatest challenge: learning to just be himself in a world not quite his own.
Oh and just who is his new armored lethal foe?
Valiant Entertainment’s newest addition to the team Dennis Hopeless opens up with an explosive take on X-O Manowar. Instead of focusing on the “of Dacia” aspect, Hopeless focuses on the “Aric” part of X-O. We’ve seen plenty of Aric as a grim warrior and brooding king but very rarely since his original run have we seen Aric just deal with being a human being in the modern world. Dennis Hopeless does make the unique choice of taking a more humorous approach to X-O Manowar than we’d usually see but he does it in a tactful manner that doesn’t besmirch all that we love about the hero.
Giving more of a voice to Shanhara is a nice touch because it gives us a counter foil to Aric’s more brutelike personality, something more cool and calculating providing a needed balance usually provided by outside forces. There are some loose ends from the previous run that have not been touched on just yet but the current narrative set up in #1 leaves plenty of space for Hopeless to tackle them later on without getting bogged down by expectations before he’s had a chance to give X-O his own flavor.
One of the most unique parts will be the fact that this version of Aric will stand apart the most from others. Matt Kindt and Robert Venditti did some absolutely amazing work on their runs of this title, but they also tackled arguably similar subjects which didn’t allow for much lightheartedness or humor aside from quips here and there for the most part. With Hopeless focusing on Earth as X-O’s “arena” it gives new breathing room that allows Hopeless the space to develop other aspects of Aric, in a strange yet delightful way it brings to mind the original X-O Manowar run and his troubles in dealing with the Harbinger Foundation and just trying to blend into the modern world. So that’s an enjoyable callback but also an interesting angle that provides so much opportunity to work with.
X-O Manowar #1 is a killer opening salvo that brings an unique perspective on X-O, going against the grain and focusing on the man rather than the war (while still having plenty of both). The perfect pick up if you've never read X-O Manowar while also being a great reintroduction for the loyal fans who've been awaiting Aric's return.
X-O Manowar #1: The People's Champ (Spoiler Free EARLY Review)
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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