A COSMIC WARRIOR REBORN:
Interview With Robert Venditti on X-O Manowar
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:644:]]This May sees the return of the Valiant Universe in the form of X-O Manowar by writer Robert Venditti and artist Cary Nord. Venditti, no stranger to the world of cosmic and sci-fi, previously worked on the comic book The Surrogates for Top Shelf, which was adapted into a major motion picture starring Bruce Willis, as well as the Percy Jackson Graphic Novels. Nord's credits include Daredevil, Secret Invasion: X-Men, and Conan along side Kurt Busiek at Dark Horse.
The two will combine forces to bring Aric of Dacia to the 21st Century. The fan-favorite character of long time Valiant fans will return with X-O Manowar #1 on sale May 2nd as well as the X-O Manowar Free Comic Book Day issue, available May 5th. Venditti and Nord will be offering fans, both new and returning, a familiar, yet modern and distinct approach to X-0.
X-O Manowar sees Aric The Visigoth abducted from his home by the alien race known as The Vine, an advanced plant-centric race that harvests humans. There, Aric comes into possession of the most powerful weapon in all existence - the X-O Manowar armor. As Aric makes his way back home, he discovers that his time spent off Earth has actually been 1600 years. Now, the once heir to the throne of the Visigoth kingdom must contend with a present day that is anything but familiar.
Cosmic Book News spoke with Robert Venditti on the new X-O Manowar, where the writer goes into more detail about his plans for Valiant's debut comic book, as well as touching upon the arrival of new heroes from the Valiant Universe and more.
Cosmic Book News: How will you be bringing X-O Manowar into 2012? It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen everybody’s favorite Visigoth. Will it be at all similar to the previous? Furthermore, seeing how this X-O Manowar is all new, will veteran readers see something of the old, yet also something totally fresh?
Venditti: The goal is to build on the foundation that was laid by the original run. This is a new series with a new first issue where everyone can jump onboard, but we’re also staying true to the core concept that made X-O Manowar so successful to begin with. It’s such a strong concept, why change it? We’re going to be expanding on it, though, taking things in new directions and throwing in some twists along the way. No matter how familiar someone is with the character’s history, there will be plenty that readers won’t see coming.
Cosmic Book News: How about readers who are not familiar or haven’t read any of the previous stories, how would you describe X-O Manowar to them?
Venditti: It’s a blend of historical fiction and science fiction, and it’s packed with all of the epic action that you’d expect from both. The story is nevertheless rooted in a very compelling central character, and it will be that character’s personal journey that I hope brings readers back month after month. That, and his really cool suit of armor.
Cosmic Book News: What can you tell us in regards to the characterization of Aric? I know you have touched upon your version being a bit more sophisticated in past interviews. At times a “warrior” can be portrayed as more brute than brains; however, as Robert E. Howard wrote Conan to be extremely intelligent and cunning, is it a fair statement to say that just because Aric may be from the past, that doesn’t necessarily equate to less intellect? Can you expand upon that?
Venditti: That’s exactly what we’re going for with Aric. Just because he’s ancient, that doesn’t mean he’s unintelligent. In many ways, the ancients are the giants on whose shoulders we stand today. The Visigoths were certainly a sophisticated people, and as the heir to the Visigoth crown, it stands to reason that Aric would be one of their brightest. At his heart he remains a warrior, though, and there will be times when his impulse to fight will get in the way. It’ll be a constant struggle.
Cosmic Book News: When Aric makes his way to the present day, how will the world around him react to X-O? Will he be their first experience with a super human? Likewise, Aric will be the proverbial fish out of water, and arguably the biggest shark in the sea, how will Aric’s vast power affect him as he encounters an all-new world (ie present day)?
Venditti: Aric is a Visigoth from the 5th century, a man accustomed to resolving his differences through combat. That’s all well and good when you’re talking about swords and shields, but what happens when someone with that sort of mentality comes into possession of the most powerful weapon in the universe, a weapon with destructive potential that far surpasses anything seen even in the modern world? It’ll be a learning process for Aric—one that won’t always go smoothly—and it’ll affect how he views others, and how they in turn view him.
Cosmic Book News: The original saw X-O battling the Spider-Aliens, will we see those foes? Perhaps, new ones? Any foes you can mention besides The Vine?
Venditti: Great heroes are made by great villains, and there will be no shortage of those in the series. In addition to The Vine, Aric will encounter a myriad of foes, some new and others more familiar to longtime Valiant fans. There are so many great characters in the Valiant stable, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of them.
Cosmic Book News: We see X-O sporting a new sword on the cover of both the X-O FCBD and first issue, does he have any other new powers? And does he still use the control ring?!
Venditti: I don’t want to give away too much just yet, but yes, the Manowar armor will be displaying some new powers. One of them will be the key to the entire first year of the series, and it’ll explain why The Vine wants the armor back so badly.
Cosmic Book News: Will X-O be used as a launch pad to introduce the other Valiant characters into the Valiant Universe?
Venditti: One of the aspects that made the original incarnation of Valiant so successful was the interconnectedness of their books, and that will certainly be the case with the new line as well. Plans are already being made to bring other Valiant heroes into the pages of X-O Manowar, but it’s too early to reveal which characters and when.
Cosmic Book News: In regards to the art, what can you say about Cary Nord’s X-O?
Venditti: The pages Cary is turning in are just stunning. He’s a huge asset to the book. Every time I see a new page, it makes me want to write more. I knew I was going to have fun writing this book, but I didn’t realize I was going to have this much fun.
For more from Valiant head on over to ValiantEntertainment.com.