Valiant/Vendetti's X-O MANOWAR #1: Must Own. Buy Two.
I was a reader Jim Shooter's VALIANT stuff back in the 90's explosion. I was one of the guys who wore a homemade Valiant t-shirt to conventions in the hopes Don Perlin or some other Valiant creator would notice and bless me with a Gold Eternal Warrior #1 or a Platinum UNITY #0. Then Valiant became Acclaim and then Acclaim became Valiant. Then with UNITY 2000...darkness.
I've stood in silent vigil waiting patiently for the moment when VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT began publishing again. Heck, my handle for the last 5 years on ComicCollectorLive.com is proudly "THE VALIANT ONE". And today I can live again because X-O MANOWAR #1 hit comic shops after months of buzz. And the book does NOT disappoint.
First off, it's difficult to call this book a "reboot." It reads and feels very much like a Director's Cut of the original first issue, but paced a bit slower so the build-up in action is greaterfor the reader. The players appear to be the same: Aric of Dacia, King Alaric, even the mention of Deidre didn't go unnoticed. (Although the Spider-Aliens have been replaced by creatures known as "THE VINE.") If you already know Aric's story, you might see this as more of a retelling, but it seems much to me than that. Writer Robert Vendetti takes us back to a place that is both familiar and brand new all at the same time. The New Valiant is the Old Valiant is the New...and it's all terribly exciting.
The choice of Cary Nord as artist was a good one as well. I've always liked Cary's work on books like MUTANT X over at Marvel. It's subtle enough that it doesn't overshadow the story and still holds it's own against any book by a fan-favorite artist any day of the week. Watch Nord's career skyrocket and tell me I'm wrong.
While there's no Gold Foil Covers floating around out there for you to hunt down, there are 4 very nicely done variants for you to collect, including a swanky sci-fi 1:20 variant and a 1:50 QR Reader variant that makes a great companion item for the QR Reader Promotional Poster that came out a few months back. I'm glad to see Valiant is forging their own path in the industry and getting the respect it deserves. In my opinion, these guys are doing alot more justice to their properites than some publishers who own properties with JUSTICE in their name. No joke.
There's 3 more VALIANT titles in the pipeline, but this one starts it all. And while you're running to the comic shop to grab this issue, make sure you snag a copy of their FREE COMIC BOOK DAY offering as well on May 5th, 2012.
They said it was going to be a Valiant summer. What they didn't say was 2012 was going to be the YEAR of Valiant.
Happy Belated New Year.