X-O Manowar 1: By the Sword

x-o manowar volume 1 by the sword cover trade paperback review
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Great relaunch to the series

Wish the Vine was more distinctive

Comic Info

Comic Name:  X-O Manowar (Volume 3)

Publisher:  Valiant

Writer:  Robert Venditti

Artist:  Cary Nord

# of Issues:  4

Release Date:  2012

x-o manowar #1 cover variant review

X-O Manowar (3) #1 Variant

Reprints X-O Manowar (3) #1-4 (May 2012-August 2012). Aric of Daric and his people battle the Roman Empire for their land. When aliens called the Vine capture Aric’s tribe, Aric finds himself enslaved in space. Trying to get back to his wife after years of enslavement, Aric finds a strange alien armor…will the armor be his salvation or his destruction?

Written by Robert Venditti, X-O Manowar Volume 1:  By the Sword is part of the relaunch of Valiant comics. The collection features art by Cary Nord and the relaunch was met with positive reviews.

Valiant’s return is an interesting story. Popular in the early ’90s in the comic boom, Valiant had a strong following. When the comic boom started to bust, Valiant and Acclaim merged but eventually the universe couldn’t hold on. Fans formed by Jason Kothari and Dinesh Shamdasani bought the rights to Valiant (getting many of the characters…not all, but many) and X-O Manowar (3) #1 kicked off the “Summer of Valiant” in 2012.

Honestly, I wasn’t a big Valiant reader in the ’90s. I barely jumped on Image and Valiant was a whole different animal that was not only expensive to pick-up the early back issues, but also had a lot of history with characters like Turok and Solar who were absorbed into the Valiant universe…the relaunch however has me hooked (and seeking out older issues).

x-o manowar #4 cover review valiant comics

X-O Manowar #4

What is nice about X-O Manowar 1: By the Sword is that it is simple but good. Great art, strong storytelling, and completely understandable for new readers, the comic is fun yet has enough ties to the original series to keep older fans having fun. This arc introduces the armor, Aric, and sends him rocketing into the future where it is a reverse Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court…a barbarian with hi-tech gadgetry he can’t even truly use. I really look forward to see where this series is going.

I do wish the Vine were more distinctive enemies. The reader is thrust into their world (much like Aric), and their motives and actions aren’t always clear. It appears however from the set up in the story that the Vine will be more fleshed out…I do hope that the series doesn’t get totally bogged down in the battle against the Vine, and that big crossover events won’t wreck the story since I feel that much of the cross-comic storylines often hurt the original products.

The art is also fantastic. I love Cary Nord’s art which has a lot of depth and style. I do like Barry Windsor Smith’s original X-O Manowar art, but honestly this impresses me more due to the rich colors and presentation. I never have liked the design of the X-O armor but Nord is making it tolerable and more functional than previous versions.

X-O Manowar 1: By the Sword really should be given a chance. The series is just in its start and these are a good sign of how the Valiant universe will work. Other titles like Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger, and Bloodshot are showing signs that Valiant is the real deal and worth picking up.  X-O Manowar 1:  By the Sword is followed by X-O Manowar 2:  Enter Ninjak.

Related Links:

X-O Manowar 2:  Enter Ninjak

X-O Manowar 3:  Planet Death

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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