Review - X-O Manowar 2017 #1 (@ValiantComics)

"I have need of last time."

A man is only as good as his resourcefulness and tools at his disposal. Aric of Dacia is one such man, made an intergalactic warrior thanks to the X-O Manowar armor. Without the armor he's still a capable warrior and his prowess is on display in X-O Manowar 2017 #1 from Valiant Comics. The issue is written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by Tomas Giorello, colored by Diego Rodriguez and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day. Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor. But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!

If there was ever an example of a writer showing not telling its Kindt here. His approach is phenomenal in that it shows the reader how brutally efficient Aric is as a warrior and leader. Kindt leans on this heavily throughout the story, giving Aric a great deal of bravado to fight a war he's pressed into even without the X-O Manowar armor. The pacing of the issue by Kindt is methodical and follows the brutality of war from the prospective of a solder. And the dialogue is mostly stream of conscious on the part of Aric, yet Kindt works in some other lines of powerful dialogue on the part of the commanders of soldiers.

Matching the elegant script is Giorello's artwork that boasts an ethereal style. His rendering of Aric focuses on softer edges that allow him to blend the characters into the battle seamlessly. Despite the perceived softness, Giorello still gets into the gritty details of war, emphasizing that battle is brutal and rife with bloodshed. And Giorello doesn't let up as one page leads into the other, focusing on frenzied scenes of war as narrated by those higher in command. The colors of Rodriguez are bright and soft as well, accentuating the details of the characters very well.

X-O Manowar 2017 #1 is bold and brilliant. Aric is a man seeking peace, but he's willing to wade into the thick of things if pressed into it. Kindt's script is thoroughly enjoyable and characterizes Aric with all the willpower and persistence that accompany a great warrior. Giorello's artwork is fantastic and adds a certain beauty to the atrocities of war. X-O Manowar 2017 #1 hits all the right notes in bringing back a great character.

X-O Manowar 2017 #1 is available March 22.