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.
ALL-NEW ARC, ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.