This over-sized annual is a cornucopia of X-O Manowar history. It is very much an anthology of stories detailing the series past and present. We are taken on a journey through time stretching back to Aric’s childhood during the height of the Roman Empire, to his rebellion against alien slavers the Vine to become one with the X-O Manowar armor, on until present day when the Vine is planning revenge. If all of that was all Greek to you, this is a perfect jumping off point into the series.
While this is a collection of different stories in the X-O Manowar universe, there feels like a definite underlying theme and connecting plot spanning some 1600 years. A single page is not wasted, each panel has a purpose in recapping our heroes history and the current threat looming in the near future without large portions of unneeded exposition. Most of the segments are written by the series lead Robert Venditti, though Amy Chu and Jody Houser each wrote a story each. Even though there are multiple writers, each with a certain tone, this Annual is well curated as a taster platter, whetting our appetite to continue in the main run, all the while giving us enough straight forward back story to not confuse new readers.
The artists are a different story all together. Each of the five stories has its own artist. JG Jones, Pere Perez, Mike McKone, Adam Gorham, and Robert De La Torre all take a shot at drawing this iconic modern age series, with as many colonists as well. Each segment is drawn completely to the artists unique style. The variation of settings and time periods made this rotation feel completely natural.
I definitely recommend this annual to be added to your pull-list on May 19th, especially if you have never read X-O Manowar or have been out of the loop for some time. This is a great jumping off point, so jump in and enjoy!
Written by ROBERT VENDITTI with AMY CHU and JODY HOUSER
Art by PERE PEREZ with ADAM GORHAM, MIKE MCKONE and J.G. JONES
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Also check out Robert Venditti interview with the Creator Spotlight team on our very own Undercover Capes Podcast Network.