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X-O Manowar #1 Review

So often in comics, stories peer into the person underneath the costume and powers to show they deserve the responsibility of their status as hero. It’s not only a way to show the reader what they’re made of, but to show not anybody can be Spider-Man or Wolverine even if given their abilities. With this new look at X-O Manowar it looks like writer Matt Kindt is doing just that, but is it good?

X-O Manowar #1 (Valiant Entertainment)

So what’s it about? Read the early preview!

Why does this book matter?

As I was alluding to in my intro above, X-O Manowar is about to go on a hero’s journey with his skill and abilities tested off Earth and without his suit (at least for a little while). This is one of the biggest releases by Valiant Entertainment in some time and based on that alone this is going to be an epic you won’t want to miss.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

These “tubes” are pretty cool looking.

This is nearly a flawlessly written first issue for new or old readers alike. There isn’t much in the way of explaining how Aric got on this alien planet, but it doesn’t matter at all. The first few pages visually explain where he’s at and what sort of threat looms. Kindt allows artist Tomas Giorello to do the heavy lifting, which makes this opening sequence feel cinematic and efficient in its storytelling. The reader quickly learns war is in the air and Aric knows more than likely they’ll be coming for him. He’s trying to be a peaceful farmer, found a girl, and wants to be left alone. Aric and the armor know that’s not going to last.

The story progresses rather quickly in this book which has a good pace that keeps your interest from beginning to end. This issue is a bit lengthier than most books and it uses those pages to show the reader a bit of war. Truly, Tomas Giorello has done a fantastic job with these scenes, which are brutal and reminiscent of some of the best war films. The battle in this issue brought back imagery from the recent Oscar nominated film Hacksaw Ridge and it’s just as intense. Giorello draws with a keen clarity–it’s painterly and shockingly realistic at times, making even the most out there science fiction moments seem real.

By the end of the issue you’ll be rooting for Aric and his heroism like never before. I’ve read (and reviewed) my fair share of X-O Manowar comics, but I have to say this issue gets at the core of the character better than most. The reluctant warrior story has been told countless times, but the science fiction elements and mettle of the character shine through beautifully.

War is hell.

It can’t be perfect can it?

I was hoping for a bit more in regards to where the story is now. Having not read the last few X-O Manowar comics, I wasn’t sure why Aric was on this planet or what the deal was with his new relationship with the suit. More may be revealed later, but some context would have helped understand the brainspace of the character a bit more.

Is It Good?

X-O Manowar #1 melds science fiction, war, and the hero’s journey impeccably well. A whole sequence is reminiscent of Hacksaw Ridge which makes this a must read for fans of war comics.

X-O Manowar #1
Is It Good?
A solid character journey type story with a fantastic war sequence and a great melding of science fiction with realistic looking art.
Art is solid and depicts things in a very realistic way
Good use of science fiction elements so they aren't overbearing and more realistic
Drops you into the story in a good place
Interesting hero's journey at play
A little more context as to where Aric is and what the deal is with his suit would be helpful
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