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Collective Consciousness X-O Manowar #1

by stephengervais on March 21, 2017

Welcome back to Collective Consciousness, our weekly article where the staff takes one comic and puts it under the microscope. This allows us, and you, faithful reader, to get a good idea of how the comic fares against a variety of opinions. This week we're taking a look at a relaunch of sorts from Valiant Comics, X-O Manowar #1.
 
Valiant solicit: “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!”
 
Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Tomas Giorello
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
 
Jason James
This was an issue that I was very excited for. It was a dramatic departure form the original series. The time displaced Aric, is now on some other world. I liked the issue well enough. The art was unique for a Valiant book as far as colouring goes. I really liked the way the battle scenes where handled. Being familiar with the writer Matt Kindt, I knew to not expect a lot of answers right away, so I do look forward to the coming issues. A slow burning story is what I expected. The fan in me was happy just to see the title back. The reviewer in me was happy that the book was good 9/10
 
Forrest Hollingsworth
How do you dole out impressive action, strong backstory, AND forward momentum in a compelling way – especially in a first issue? Kindt, Giorello and Rodriguez are here to show you how with this delicately balanced reintroduction X-O Manowar.
 
A mix of impressive art, sound storytelling and a heck of a cliffhanger lends an appropriate weight to Aric’s story here. The line work bounces between delicate and inspiringly complex in good measure, the story is rooted in enough background that readers of previous X-O stories will feel played to but new readers, too, will feel caught up well enough to get into the action. It all works, and well.
 
Some of the action scenes are a little too involved, I lost track of exactly what was happening more than once, but aside from that, this is an awe inspiring first issue. I look forward to the next. 
 
Tony Hsieh
To simply be content, that is the greatest aspiration."  That simply quote rang loudest in my ears as I read X-O Manowar #1.  It's the one thing that I feel is so true, yet the one thing that never seems to be enough.  People never seem to be able to rest when they have enough to make them content, we always want more and more.  The first issue tells the story of Aric who, like so many other stories before , is a warrior from another time who has fled his home planet in order to escape a lifetime of war.  Content with a peaceful life, Aric has no desire to wage war until the Azure Emperor comes looking for soldiers.  
 
X-O Manowar presents an interesting look at a bleak future (presumably) on a foreign planet where human beings are nothing more than freaks and cannon fodder, an interesting commentary given today's political atmosphere.  The art is beautifully muted, with almost no bright colors to be seen anywhere.  The action is fluid and pops off the page, and violence is gloriously bloody.  There are some truly unique moments during the main battle that I was surprised to see (I won't spoil it for you here).  
 
As for Aric?  Let's just say he's an asskicker.
 
 Jennifer Lund
I’ve read plenty of books in my time, and watched lots of movies and TV. What this time with various media has afforded me in the way of experience is the knowledge of tropes great and small. I can spot a cliche at twenty paces, especially ones large and obvious enough to leap tall buildings in a single bound. 
 
I’m less familiar with Valiant Comics as a publisher than I am with the Big Two, but I’m getting some history lessons from my husband, who mostly never met a comic he didn’t love. So I went into this book with high hopes. I really wanted a new thing to like. I have liked many a new thing without knowing anything about it beforehand. This is not that thing. 
 
No disrespect to the art in the book; Tomas Giorello and Diego Rodriguez have done good work here. None of the line work or colors is bad or overly ridiculous. But the writing is, no pun intended, another story. Matt Kindt has created a pastiche of a world - a sword and sandals, desolate alien place full of blood and war in which our poor Earth hero must survive. It’s like he took all the most ridiculous parts of Avatar, John Carter of Mars, and Mad Max and stitched them all together, and then threw in a bit of Thor just for funsies. It’s a sad Frankenstein monster of a story that I found ultimately boring and forgettable.
 
Hussein Al-Wasiti
This was a very strong comic book. I don't know anything about the XO franchise. I don't even know if there is an XO franchise in the first place. If there is, then writer Matt Kindt did a brilliant job of focusing on the character before the spectacle, which really grounded the universe almost immediately.
 
I'd have to say that the exposition and writing was near perfect. In just a few scene, we knew all about the character of Aric, his past, and where is currently is. He somehow found himself on a weird alien planet because he was tired of the war of Earth, which is funny since he's fighting a war on this planet now.
 
The art was pretty stellar. The action was epic and the sequential art really allowed the book to feel more visual than verbal, which is always a plus. The artist is Tomas Giorello.
 
Based on the strength of this issue alone, I would see myself picking this series up. It has a nice premise with amazing art. What more would you want?
 
 Luc St-Clair
It's been years since I've read an X-O Manowar comic, last thing I read, Aric was inflicting damage on Earth in modern times. Here's hoping the series will shed some light on why he's now a farmer on an alien planet. I have to admit that watching Aric in battle again in an alien war got my blood pumping. Even with one hand and without the armor, he still manages to kick some ass. 
 
The writing's pretty straight forward and the artworks nice, I'm seeing some Kubert family influences on the characters, especially in the action panels and I love those "Gears of War" landscapes. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this wasn't another reboot that DC and Marvel are famous for, but a continuation of one Valiant's most interesting characters. No spoilers, but issue #2 will be the one fans have been waiting for. Anyone else miss those creepy spider-aliens?
 
 

Our Score:

9/10

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