Synopsis: Aric has witnessed many battles in his life. As a Visigoth, he fought the romans during antiquity. Years later, he fought foes on modern earth and beyond. Now, Aric faces another war, but he is no longer the leader he once was. The former king has been conscripted into the war of an alien world, and has chosen to fight without the use of his powerful armor. What has caused Aric to abandon Earth and his armor? Will be able to survive the perils of battle as not even a soldier but cannon fodder?
Review: There is no way to say this, so I will just come out and say it. The debut issue of X-O Manowar is beyond fantastic! Though we have seen Aric guest star in other Valiant series since his book ended, this remarkable debut reminds readers just what we are missing when we do not see the character monthly. Writer Matt Kindt reintroduced the character with little dialogue. The reader sees that this is not the same Aric of Dacia we have known from before. This is an X-O who know longer wields his haughty demeanor like a cudgel. This Aric is a quiet individual who is not eager to reclaim his title of warrior. A stark departure like this has to seem authentic, and the authenticity is woven into the issue itself. When Aric joins the battle, there are no big speeches from him. Actually, much of the story comes from a narrator off panel. It really drives home how reluctant our hero is.
The art for issue #1 is astounding. I love the direction Giorello is taking the series. Yes, Aric looks familiar, but there is a new level of detail and care that is being demonstrated here. The opening splash page was simply gorgeous. It sets the tone perfectly. That peace is shattered quickly, and the battle scenes later in the issue absolutely ooze action. Aric fights past unrelenting waves of carnage that only those truly skilled in the deadly arts could survive. They have really set the bar high for this new series right out of the gate. If I have one qualm with the art in issue #1, it would be this. The action, although paced brilliantly, sometimes is a little hard to follow. However, there were only two pages where I found this to be the case.
In conclusion: if you have ever wanted a great place to start with X-O, or you are returning fan, or you just like warriors in space, this book was made specifically for you. Do yourselves a favor and follow Aric once more.