REVIEW: X-O Manowar: Valiant 25th Anniversary Special #1

WRITER: Robert Venditti
ARTIST: CAFU
LETTERER: Dave Sharpe
COLORIST: Brian Reber
COVER ARTIST(s): Cary Nord, CAFU
PUBLISHER: Valiant Comics
RELEASE DATE: 06/10/2015

“Every comic is someone’s first.”

If you live your creating life by that motto, you’ll go quite far. No matter whether you’re publishing the 80th issue of your small-press series, or you’re beginning a new story arc in the monthly Batman series, every issue has the potential to be someone’s introduction into the comic world, and as creators we often try our best to make it the reason they stay in this truly awesome world.

Unfortunately, after reading this issue, I would have to say that this comic doesn’t adhere to that.

I don’t read Valiant. Never have, probably will start within a few months. So, picking up this issue was a risk for sure. But, hey. It’s a one-shot dedicated to commemorating this great company’s 25th anniversary. So, it should be relatively friendly to new readers, right?

Wrong.

I couldn’t help but feel confused for most of the issue. Who is Shanhara, who is her father, why should I care about either? These are things that, while probably not the case for diehard Valiant fans, was the case for me, and would most likely be the case for any new readers tentatively trying out Valiant waters. I understand this was supposedly an origin story for the Manowar character I hear so much about. But, in that case, instead of focusing on awkwardly long time periods of not much action, why not just give us the abridged version and introduce the character for more than just 2-3 pages?

It may sound like the issue was all bad. It wasn’t. The art was decent, though not particularly fulfilling, and the coloring scheme was actually pretty good. And the writing, despite my obvious problems with its pacing/plot, was at least somewhat clear in its sparse dialogue.

Basically, there’s not much to say about this issue other than, if you’re a big Valiant/Manowar fan, pick this up. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it. If you’re not, maybe read some other Valiant comics before jumping in on this.

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