Full disclosure: I barely have any idea what Valiant Comics ever were. I have dim memories of seeing titles like Bloodshot and Harbinger on the racks and paying them no attention. Now, however, I am the Comics Editor for Crave Online, which means it is my job to read as many comics as I can, sometimes in spite of what I might not investigate if left to my own devices. Thus, a book with an unwieldy title like X-O Manowar #1 is in my stack.
"X-O Manowar." How is that a thing? It's such an off-putting title it almost comes full-circle and makes you want to read it anyway. I'd guess people just refer to it as 'Manowar.'
Anyway, I didn't expect much out of X-O Manowar #1, but honestly, I had absolutely no clue what it would be about, so I was ready for anything. Turns out, it's the story of Visigoths from 402 A.D. who get abducted by aliens they mistake for Roman Centurions. Aric is a valiant (ho, ho) warrior who fights in the face of insurmountable odds in battle with the Roman hordes, but agrees to retreat only when his father is wounded fatally. That night, more Romans are spotted, and Visigoth go to fight them, but the are actually armored bug-looking alien creatures who are into capturing humans and, apparently, swapping their infants in disguise for ours. Once Aric cunningly escapes on the ship in space, he and his friend Gafti witness a ritual where this metal ball unfolds into armor, encases a chosen warrior, and either grants him immense power or kills him instantly due to unworthiness.
It seems fairly obvious who is going to get to wear the armor eventually, since we see it on the cover.
Still, Robert Venditti's story has interesting possibilities – aliens mixing with various points in human history has lots of potential, even if Cowboys & Aliens or Outlander didn't quite grab everyone's attention like they should. The art from Cary Nord is also solid, if not always exciting. The action is pretty dynamic, but there's something a little sluggish about it I can't explain. It's art – subjectivity and all.
X-O Manowar #1 is all right. Certainly worth a look.