Four Letter Nerd

Tag - Tomás Giorello

4LN Comic Review: X-O Manowar (2017) #1

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Tomás Giorello and Diego Rodriguez
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology:

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. But that was a lifetime ago.

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!

XO2017_001_COVER-A_LAROSA

Robert Venditti’s X-O MANOWAR (2012) was the title that helped Valiant Entertainment launch itself into the modern era.   His take on X-O Manowar was poignant, and over the course of its fifty issue run, he transformed the raucous, Visigoth warrior into a king and peacemaker.  It was a fun journey, with all sorts of twists and turns, memorable villains and memorable fights.  After Venditti stepped away, I was slightly worried about who would eventually step in and take the reins of Valiant’s flagship character.  Lucky for us, Valiant superstar Matt Kindt was announced as the heir to the throne.

If you put all of the Valiant titles up on a wall and threw a dart at them, the chances of your dart landing on an issue Kindt worked on is fairly high.  During his time at Valiant Comics, Kindt has written UNITY, which happened to feature X-O Manowar, RAI, NINJAK, THE VALIANT with Jeff Lemire, and DIVINITY.  What I am trying to say is Matt Kindt is Valiant’s cleanup hitter.

In X-O MANOWAR #1 we find a more stoic Aric.  Tired of war and death, Aric left Earth behind and found another habitable planet where he could live in peace.  After burying his X-O armor, he finds solace tending the land and growing a sweet beard.  Unfortunately, war finds him even here, and he is forced to serve as cannon fodder in a war he has no interest in.

To me, X-O MANOWAR #1 feels like a mixture of RAI and the fantastic western “The Quick and the Dead”, with Aric playing the role of retired gunslinger forced to fight.  Matt Kindt, like we’ve come to expect from his work on RAI, tells an epic science-fiction tale, with plenty of good dialogue and just enough backstory to get you headed in the right direction without bogging you down.

Another high point in this debut is the art.  I can’t think of another book off the top of my head that looks quite like what this art team pulls off.  It sort of reminds me of the kind of art that in on the cover of old pulp science-fiction novels, and I love it.  The line work and colors just mesh together in a really cool way that matches the epic nature of the story.

Ultimately, X-O MANOWAR #1 is one of the most action packed debuts I’ve seen.  After the first few pages, the action picks up and keeps on going till the last page.  Kindt’s epic story-telling ability is on point, and this art team is just killer.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read a single Valiant comic before, this book is spectacular – a definite 5 out of 5.

X-O MANOWAR #1 hits the stands March 22, 2017, and you need it in your life.  Now here are some preview pages:

XO2017_001_PREORDER_COVER_GIORELLO

XO2017_001_001

XO2017_001_002

XO2017_001_003

XO2017_001_004

XO2017_001_005

XO2017_001_006

XO2017_001_007

4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1

Series: 4001 A.D.
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Tomás Giorello
Colors by Brian Reber
Publiher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “Witness the battle-scarred debut of Valiant’s top-secret new hero! As the war for 4001 A.D. rages, the coming of War Mother starts now in all-new standalone adventure torn from the pages of the summer’s biggest comics event! In the 41st century, much of the planet has been reduced to a barren wasteland. New Japan orbits the Earth as a floating oasis that towers over the ashes of the old world. The survivors of this desolate new age, robbed of the planet’s once-lush natural resources, must endure great hardships to survive. Amidst the devastation, one outpost of scientific knowledge has thrived by adhering to a strict code of isolation. But even the denizens of this walled city must venture out into the wasteland to gather supplies from the remnants of what was. This task is designated to one and one alone: War Mother. But all is not peaceful, even in New Japan. When the space-faring empire begins jettisoning city-sized sectors to Earth during the onset of a civil war, War Mother is called upon with a new mission: mega-salvage! Armed with a newly born sentient sniper rifle, War Mother is a one-woman army bent on sacking the crash-landed sector’s technology-laden debris for anything of value to her tribe. But, as calm turns to chaos, Sector 8146 will reveal a telling secret about Earth’s true order that will collide War Mother against her community, her code, and her calling?and bring destruction down upon one of humanity’s last surviving outposts of order. Out of the ashes of the summer’s most ambitious crossover event, New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (GENERATION ZERO) and spectacular rising star Tomas Giorello (Conan) introduce the Valiant Universe to the boldest new hero of this century or the next when War Mother makes her history-shattering debut!”

4001 A.D.: War Mother #1

Cover A by DAVID MACK

Of all the 4001 A.D. one-shots, I anticipated this one the most. Well, maybe it was a tie between this and Shadowman, but nonetheless I have been eagerly awaiting the release of War Mother. There’s just something about a strong female character who kicks ass and vanquishes her foes. I don’t know how to explain it, or why it captivates me so much. It just does.

I love that the title is War MOTHER, and not something obvious and cheesy like, Lady Murder, or Death Queen, or Warrioress. (Yes, Autocorrect, you’re right. That isn’t a word.) I appreciate Valiant having the foresight and intuition to let the characters banner reflect the most powerful thing about women, which is their ability to give life. I mean, they’re f***ing superheroes for Chrissake. (No, Autocorrect, you’re wrong. That is a word, and I googled it to be sure.) Women grow humans inside of their body and then birth them. I’ve watched my own wife go through it three times and it is by far the most incredible human attribute and we dudes just sit there like, “Uh, I… I can pee standing up…?” The idea of a War Mother, a woman built and designed to birth war, or at the very least be the sole protector of an entire city, is deeply and profoundly satisfying.

Cover B by JELENA KEVIC DJURDJEVIC

War Mother feels like a flawlessly original character influenced by some iconic classic characters. I’d say there’s a little bit of Frank Castle in there, crossed with some Furiosa, and even a little of Valiant’s own Eternal Warrior. But I noticed a little Ghost Rider maybe too. That sounds like a stretch, right? I’ll explain. So, War Mother’s “sentient sniper rifle”, which she calls FLACO, is fully brought to life when she partners it with her targeting interface, which a small device that looks similar to an iPhone. When that is locked into the rifle it becomes aware and she can communicate with it. One of the things I love about the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance film is when Johnny uses the spirit to take over a giant mining machine and proceeds to lay waste to all the guys attacking him. I like the idea of him being able to utilize the spirit to take control of any vehicle, not just a motorcycle. I see the same possibilities here with War Mother. You could put a bazooka in her hands, or a drop her in a big-ass tank and she could turn all her ensuing enemies to ash.

I’ll say this though, I look forward to more from this character because I’d really love a story-arc where she has to manage a tough situation without Flaco or her targeting interface. I know I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here, but I just thing it would be exciting to see how she handles things without those two at her behest.

 

Cover C by CARY NORD

The artwork of War Mother is handled by Tomás Giorello, who’s previously done work on Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, and the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. He’s also done covers for Bloodshot Reborn and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, so some of you Valiant fans may recognize his work from that. I really love his style. It seems like it’s got a little John Romita Jr. influence to it, but it doesn’t feel blocky like JRR’s form does. There are some absolutely beautiful panels, one in particular where this huge, underground dwelling creature comes erupting from the dirt to attack War Mother, where Giorello’s detailed line-work is perfectly accentuated by Brian Reber’s colors and the whole page feels like it’s jumping out at you. It makes you hope to see more from this team in the future.

Character Design Variant by ANDRES GUINALDO

If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, then I strongly urge you to head down to your local comic shop and pick up all the issues, but even if you don’t read it, you can still read this story and not be lost. There’s enough of a recap to let you know what’s going on so that you don’t feel lost. The story is self-contained as much as it can be, and even leaves some mystery in the past so that not only could we get some great ongoing stories from War Mother, but Valiant has left themselves room to explore her origins as well.

Do yourself a favor a pick up this comic. Fred Van Lente nails the story and the tone, and the art team of Giorello and Reber paint a gorgeous scenery and cast of characters. 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 hits comic shops tomorrow, or you can click the link at the top of the page to get it digitally from Comixology.

 

Music Pairing –

I recommend pairing Danish black metal songstress Myrkur with War Mother #1. Her music makes for a fantastic soundtrack to the story.