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X-O Manowar #2

Posted by David Goodman On June - 7 - 2012

I have found that in most things in life, everything happens in cycles; eventually, what’s old is new again. It would seem we are experiencing something like that in comic books right now. New issues of Youngblood and Bloodstrike are on the stands, Howard Mackie, Scott Lobdell and Ann Nocenti are all working on monthly comics, and Alan Moore is complaining about something from somewhere in England.

But possibly the most significant return is that of Valiant Comics. What started as the brainchild of former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter soon became one of the biggest comic book success stories of the 90s, and a real threat to Marvel’s and DC’s dominance. After disappearing from comic shops, Valiant is back, and they have brought with them X-O Manowar.

X-O Manowar #2
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Cary Nord
Cover by Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic

I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t a huge Valiant fan back in the day, so I’m not as familiar with their books as some people. But for being just two issues in, I really think they may have caught lightning in a bottle here. X-O Manowar is a solid science fiction comic that entertains from beginning to end.

After reading the first two issues and trying to remember the original X-O Manowar comic, it would seem Venditti is taking a “leave well enough alone” approach when it comes to the origin of X-O Manowar. It looks as if he isn’t changing much, and is just updating elements of the story for a more modern audience. Honestly, the original origin worked just fine, so there really isn’t any need to reinvent the wheel here. What Venditti is doing is adding little touches that enhance and expand things to help make this version of the story his own.

After seeing Cary Nord work his magic on Conan for Dark Horse and the Ultimate Universe for Marvel, I have come to the conclusion the man can draw anything. Now he has decided to bring his talents to Valiant and we get to reap the rewards. X-O Manowar is a beautiful comic book, plain and simple. Nord has given the book a very distinctive look that helps it stand apart from the rest of the comics on the stands. The design of the armor has been tweaked to give it a more organic feel, and the striking action sequences flow seamlessly from panel to panel. Really great stuff.

X-O Manowar is a comic that no fan of Valiant should miss. It has me looking forward to some of the other titles to come, and wishing all relaunches were as good as this.

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