X-O Manowar is the flagship title of Valiant Comics. When the new Valiant debuted in 2012, X-O Manowar was the first series released, and that volume ran for 50 issues, the longest run of any recent Valiant book. It was only a matter of time before Aric of Dacia and the Shanhara armor made their way back to the ongoing spotlight, and they return in next week’s X-O Manowar #1, which takes a drastically different approach to the title character. Writer Matt Kindt is Valiant’s most valuable player, and he’s taking the property into the future and off of Earth with this new series, revealing a grizzled, brooding Aric that has started a new life for himself as a farmer on an alien planet. Working with artist Tomás Giorello, a veteran of Dark Horse’s Conan comics with a skill for fantasy spectacle and brutal action, Kindt is taking Aric on a new path that is still heavily informed by his past as a soldier, and despite Aric’s attempts to live a life of peace, war always finds a way to reenter his life.
The first issue of X-O Manowar #1 is a stunning introduction to this new status quo for the hero, highlighting the overwhelming carnage of the battlefield and presenting it in stark contrast to the calm farm life Aric is trying to lead. Aric quickly rises through the ranks of the alien military by showing his prowess as a soldier, and this exclusive preview of April’s X-O Manowar #2 has him coming to terms with what he must do if he’s going to successfully complete his new mission. He has to make a deal with his personal devil, the alien armor that makes him the superhero X-O Manowar, and the core relationship in this book is between Aric and Shanhara. Aric doesn’t want to rely on the parasitic armor, but as this preview reveals, they have a bond that Aric can’t turn away from.
Giorello is creating some gorgeous images on this book, and colorist Diego Rodriguez is doing similarly impressive work heightening the atmosphere while maintaining the integrity of Giorello’s linework. Rodriguez is coloring directly from Giorello’s pencils, which can result in muddy visuals in the wrong hands, but Rodriguez’s delicate rendering ensures that none of the texture and dimension of Giorello’s work is lost. Giorello’s detailed character and environment designs immerse the reader in this new setting, and he’s a great artist to pair with Kindt, who puts a lot of thought into the world-building of his stories. Readers can jump into the new X-O Manowar when the first issue is released next week, and if they like what they see, they can continue exploring Aric’s new direction when the second issue goes on sale April 26.