“The Road to Unity” Starts in Robert Venditti’s “X-O Manowar” #15 [Exclusive Interview + First Look]

We’re almost there. X-O Manowar #15 is going to bring the beginning of THE ROAD TO UNITY, the upcoming winter event for Valiant that was revealed in the back of their Free Comic Book Day offering. As part of this year’s SUMMER OF VALIANT, we have a first look at the upcoming arc of X-O Manowar that leads into the big event, and man oh man, does it and the five covers that kick it off look amazing.

Not only that, but we have an interview with writer Robert Venditti looking at what’s coming next for the book first, including what Aric is going to do when he returns to Earth. X-O fans, you don’t want to miss this. This arc will run from #15 to #18, and it will officially set Aric up as the crown jewel of the Valiant universe. Here’s the solicit for issue #15 if you don’t believe me, as that issue from Venditti and Lee Garbett finds Aric clashing with one of the other big guns in Valiant.


X-O Manowar VERSUS the Eternal Warrior!

Aric of Dacia returns to Earth after the events of Planet Death with his mind set on reclaiming the ancestral lands of his people. The code of a fifth century Visigoth is about to clash with the militaries of the modern world, and the only one who may be able to convince Aric to stand down is someone from his past – Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior. Artist Lee Garbett (X-O Manowar: Enter Ninjak!) reteams with writer Robert Venditti for a brand-new arc that will set the stage for X-O Manowar’s next year in the Valiant Universe.

Before you jump into the interview though, we have some free swag for you too. To win, it’s easy: share in the comments what you’re most looking forward to this summer from Valiant and your email address, and one lucky person will walk away with the first volumes of our favorite Valiant books. It’s that easy.

X-O Manowar #15 Variant by Trevor Hairsine
After returning to Earth finally, Aric only had one thing on his mind: revenge. For a natural born warrior like him, what fuels him besides revenge, and what are you doing to make sure he doesn’t become a character defined by his dominant characteristic?

VENDITTI: There’s an element of revenge driving Aric, but it’s more than that. At his core, Aric is a guy who wants to live free with his family, which all of us can relate to. I don’t see him ever losing that aspect of his character, so in that sense I think it does define him. But just because someone has a core identity, that doesn’t make them one-note.

No man is an island, yet so far, Aric’s rage has him mostly standing alone besides a few uneasy alliances. With the upcoming arc that finds Aric returning to Earth, are you looking to further develop a supporting cast to this story?

X-O Manowar #15 Variant by Clayton Crain
VENDITTI: Absolutely. We’ve really dropped Aric in a blender during the first year of the series. The Vine have been chasing him constantly, which made it hard for him to put down roots. Beginning with issue fifteen, we’ll see that start to change. He may not be able to go home again, but he’ll very much endeavor to find a new home for himself. He’s a warrior raised in an era of empires and conquest, so suffice to say his methods won’t involve real estate agents and mortgage brokers.

As a man out of time, how important will integrating Aric into modern times be, and how big of a driver for his difficulties in the future be?

VENDITTI: It’s going to play a hugely significant role in the series. Not in the sense that Aric will need to learn to use a cellphone or a flush toilet—I think we’ve seen those tropes done to death. Aric’s adjustment to the modern day will focus more on the evolution of his ethics and his approach to combat resolution, which is a pretty clinical way of saying he has a tendency to hack his enemies apart. That doesn’t always jibe with the principles of due process or the Geneva Conventions.

X-O Manowar #15 Variant by Ladronn
Planet Death is in full swing, and it finds Aric in a surprising spot: stuck between sating his thirst for revenge and saving what remains of his people. From the start, was the return of the Visigoth people in your road map?

VENDITTI: I always knew the Visigoth people would come around again in one way or another, especially since we show the Vine swapping their offspring in for Visigoth infants in issue one. Exactly how Aric’s people would be reintroduced into the series was never set in stone, though. It wasn’t until we started planning out the “Planet Death” arc that we knew how to bring them back. What grows out of that will lead to some major events in series’ second year.

With the upcoming arc appearing to bring Aric closer to other aspects of the Valiant world, at least in the form of the Eternal Warrior, I have to ask: is this setting the stage for bringing X-O Manowar to the center of the Valiant universe just in time for Unity?

VENDITTI: The meeting with Eternal Warrior is something we seeded during the battle between the Visigoths and the Romans that kicked off the series back in issue one. I’ve been waiting for two years—all the way back to when I was writing my pitch for the project—to write this confrontation. I’m just glad the day is finally here.

X-O Manowar #15 Variant by Kekai Kotaki
Lee Garbett is returning to the book for the upcoming arc, and we couldn’t be more excited. For you, what does he bring to the book when he works on it, and what makes him such a great collaborator?

VENDITTI: Lee’s the total package. He draws quiet character moments with the same intensity as the big action reveals. In X-O Manowar #5, he drew a flashback with Aric and his wife that was just beautiful. And the way he illustrated the contrasting fighting styles of Aric in Ninjak in issue eight perfectly captured what makes each of those characters unique. I can’t wait to see what he does with Eternal Warrior and M.E.S.A. Wait, was I supposed to mention M.E.S.A. yet?

Lastly, in terms of the scope of the Valiant Universe, what do you see Aric’s role as? How does he fit in this cohesive universe?

VENDITTI: Aric is a man out of time, sixteen centuries removed from everything he has ever known. Alienated as he is, I see him more as a global character than someone who can be associated with a particular country or city the way Batman or Spider-man are. He can go anywhere anytime, even if that means another planet. That’s a role in the Valiant Universe only he can fill.

About The AuthorDavid HarperDavid Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).

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User's Comments
  • http://www.thekliqnation.com Timdogg

    As a new reader of Valiant books, I’m most looking forward to getting into Archer & Armstrong and Quantum & Woody. Both look like fun adventurous titles, and seem new-reader-friendly. Especially with Quantum & Woody just beginning this summer.

    Email is thekliqnation@gmail.com

  • Matt

    I’m absolutely looking forward to finale of Harbinger Wars this summer. That crossover gets better and better with each read. Bring on Unity!

  • http://twitter.com/Shawn_W_Savage Shawn Savage

    The Eternal Warrior series looks amazing! I am looking forward to his battles throughout history.

  • http://twitter.com/woeisjoe Joseph Kyle Schmidt

    i’m looking forward to Aric of Dacia to play a larger role in the Valiant U. XO is the best superhero book on the market, and i can’t wait to see his rampage being reflected in the universe at large. CAN’T WAIT FOR UNITY


  • Matt

    looking forward to the Eternal Warrior series!

  • Keith

    I’m looking forward to more Eternal Warrior and some Quantum and Woody action! keith_mandy_db@yahoo.com

  • http://twitter.com/troll827 Steven Stokes

    I’m looking forward to new Valiant stories period. You can’t go wrong with their stories. Every title is great and there isn’t a dud among them. I’m not quite sure how Valiant is going to Unity, but I have faith. They haven’t led the fans wrong yet. sstokes2746@gmail.com

  • Jason

    I’m looking forward to seeing how Unity comes together and hoping for Rai.

  • Tony_Soldo

    I can’t wait to see X-O finally getting to interact with the modern world more and see how he finds a place in it. I’m also really interested to see what happens with all of the psiot kids after harbinger wars. tonsol1@nths219.org

  • http://www.facebook.com/larry.miller.336 Larry Miller

    Cant wait for the conclusion of Harbinger Wars and how Unity plays out. Thanks to Valiant for showing how to relaunch thier universe right. Email is decanus1284@gmail.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/amyokamoto Amy Franke Okamoto

    Venditti and Valiant have been doing a fabulous job of creating exciting character driven stories as opposed to the plot-less books of fight scenes that so many other publishers suffer from. Looking forward to Unity, especially if it is handled as well as Harbinger Wars has been – a seamless storyline integration of multiple books that stands on its own. Valiant’s team of writers, artists, and editors has done a great job across the board on all of their books. Looking forward to the Summer of Valiant 2! (We want Rai!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarrowMan William David MacLellan

    I’m looking forward to seeing if I can find the little tidbits in all the books that lead into Unity! MarrowMan@gmail.com

  • Bluben

    So I’m completely new to Valiant, but I have loved everything that I’ve read so far. Harbinger is one of my new favorites! So far I have two volume 1s (Harbinger and Shadowman), but I plan on getting at least Archer and Armstrong and Bloodshot in the next few weeks (especially with Harbinger Wars looking oh so fantastic). On the fence about Manowar, not because it doesn’t look good, but because I buy a lot already and it doesn’t look quite as much like my cup of tea. Extremely excited for Quantum and Woody, because of the creators, the reputation of the original and the previews. Sidenote to whoever at Valiant could sort this out: please put out a Valiant masters collection of the original Q and W! Getting the FCBD collection made me want to catch up on some of the original series and I’ve heard great things about the run (definitely picking up Ninjak when I have some extra money). Seriously though, Valiant has been killing it so far.


  • hackareatech

    I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with the Valiant universe. Their books were some of tbe best before and they are again.

  • Doug E.

    Summer of Valiant is truly back! With so much to look forward to, where do I start? Eternal Warrior and Ninjak in the spotlight they deserve and the H.A.R.D Corps have been reactivated. Not to mention that little dust-up in Vegas and talking goats!! All this and I just re-read the original 18 issue crossover epic in anticipation of this winter’s 5 letter word…….UNITY!!!!!! dwelliott79@gmail.com

  • http://twitter.com/diegodefuentes Diego De Fuentes

    What I want from Valiant is an Eternal Warrior ongoing, and from the teases we’ve had it might just come this summer or autumn :) diego.defuentes@gmail.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/zappajay152 Jason Schafer

    Ok this is easy. X-O Manowar vs. Eternal warrior! Let the battle begin. Im curious why they will be fighting but its going to be epic. Zappajay152@gmail.com

  • Baramos x

    I want to see where Bloodshot is going with his team-up with the Hard CORPS. Plus the Eternal Warrior getting his own book.


    Where’s Rai at, Valiant? Where’s Rai at? WHERE’S RAI AT?


  • Antony

    Really looking forward to seeing what valiant do with the unity story as this was got me reading valiant in the first place

  • Guel

    What am I looking forward to in the Summer of Valiant? I’d say Quantum & Woody, Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps, X-O Manowar, Eternal Warrior, and whatever is gonna happen in Harbinger after the Wars. Maybe even another guest appearance by Ninjak and all of the characters I mentioned teaming up and showing some UNITY. In other words, everything Valiant has to offer us this summer!


  • Mark Rose

    i’m looking forward to everything the Summer of Valiant is going to bring but especially ETERNAL WARRIOR!

  • Michael W. Everett

    I personally cannot wait to see what is happening following this summer of Valiant. I really enjoy all of the Valiant titles immensely although Archer & Armstrong and Harbinger are my total favorites if I had to pick. I can’t wait to see what happens when Aric returns to Earth. I’ve read a little regarding what the plans are for Aric but I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. mikeyalcatraz@gmail.com

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