Title: X-O Manowar
Release: May 2012
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Cary Nord
Store: Earth Prime Comics (Burlington, Vermont)
Fancore Pirate Radio
X-O Manowar is set in 402 A.D., the story following the Visigoths in their struggles against the Roman Empire. The inside cover offers loads of historical and demographic data regarding the two cultures at the time. I'm a total sucker for that sort of thing. As such, I had high hopes for this one.
But wait, that guy on the cover doesn't look much like a Visigoth warrior, does he? Several times over the course of A-Z, I have complained about the fusion trend in the current comics industry. In short, I want to be allowed to live in such a realm as 5th century Europe without getting pulled back to the usual comic book terra firma. In this case, the Visigoths are under alien invasion - and I don't mean the Romans. So, X-O Manowar had me at the beginning, but it lost me by the end.
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My scavenger hunt was pretty straight-forward: find comic
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of the participants in this year's A-Z challenge. The official site is
You faked us out! I don't think it was just me who was expecting some of Charles Xavier's mutant proteges today.ReplyDelete
I'm a sucker for Roman-era weirdness, but the fusion thing is annoying. What does the X-O stand for?
Well, I knew I had the X-Men to fall back on if I couldn't find anything else. I learned from Mock that comics are the perfect solution to the X problem. However, I managed to avoid both Marvel and DC for the entire scavenger hunt so it seemed best to broaden my horizons for X as well.Delete
X-O stands for... no idea, actually. Anyone?
I'm sure it's not kisses and hugs! :-)Delete
It'd be really funny if it were, though.Delete
Just scrolled back up with that in mind and looked at the cover and chuckled. Okay, there went the full-on laugh.
Okay, my husband and daughter just asked me what I was laughing at and as I explained it, I kept laughing. Tears actually squeezed out of my eyes.Delete
Yeah see, X-Men wouldn't have been nearly as funny!Delete
Okay, I'm going to take a stab in the dark here. The X-O refers to the armor. I'm guessing it's a play on exo-, as in exoskeleton.Delete
Oh, yeah, I meant to say that, but, yes, it's an exosuit. There may even be some comment at some point about it basically being a misunderstanding on the part of the main guy thinking they were saying "x" "o" when what they were saying was "exo," but I don't remember that definitively.Delete
Mystery solved. Thanks, Andrew!Delete
That was a no-brainer. I even said to my husband a muscular creature in an exoskeleton when I was setting up the 'joke.'Delete
Well... no-brainer once you know X-O refers to the armor (which I didn't - rookie mistake).Delete
That did come to mind for you, though, Rookster. That was yer stab in the dark.Delete
Yeah, you faked us out--but I understand it was only because you were first faked out. I don't read comic books. BUt for a split second, I thought I might give it a try. Wow, history in a comic book.ReplyDelete
I like scifi. But I saw Cowboys and Aliens, and even the big names in the cast weren't enough to save the concept of aliens combating groups in history. :-)
Good post. :-)
Teresa, I'm a recent convert myself. After at first resisting them, I gave the old Marvel Star Wars comics a try and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Most of the big SciFi tv/film franchises have hit the comic shelves somewhere along the line - might be a fun place to start.Delete
X-O is one of those characters who keeps getting revived in the hopes of it actually sticking, and he gets shuffled from company to company along with the rest of them (Turok, Doctor Solar, etc.).ReplyDelete
Robert Venditti, incidentally, has gone even more mainstream than you, nabbing the title of succession from Geoff Johns on Green Lantern.
Ah, so do you know what X-O stands for?Delete
X-O looks remarkably like Iron Man.ReplyDelete
According to Wikipedia, the two characters have appeared together in video games.Delete
X-O is the type of armor suit he is wearing, which was stolen from the aliens. It was actually a good comic when Valiant started it up again, along with their other initial releases. Until they kicked Jim Shooter out, lost their direction, tried to join the special covers crowd, and went down the garbage chute.ReplyDelete
I was surprised, in preparing my write-up, to discover how long the character's been around - first issue in 1992.Delete
I have that issue. I have all of the early Valiant stuff. They were some of the best comics coming out at the time.ReplyDelete
I don't know anything about Valiant. What's the history there? Fully independent or were they someone's off-shoot?Delete
Valiant is the company Jim Shooter started after Marvel canned him for being too proactive with creator's rights. Marvel was already at the forefront of rights for creators, but Shooter wanted to push farther, so they booted him.Delete
Shooter got some great people from Marvel, picked up the ownership of some of the old Gold Key comics (like Turok and Magnus) and started Valiant. But he needed money, so he had other people backing the company. For the first few years, they put out some really solid titles, which all ended when the money wanted to start really milking the cow, so Shooter, again, got booted.
And Valiant not only milked the cow but killed it, selling the corpse to Acclaim (who wanted ownership of the licenses to make video games).
As an aside, the guy behind X-O was Bob Layton, who had been on Iron Man for years.
Thank you - knew I was asking the right guy!Delete
Solar was probably my favorite of the line. The first 10 issue story arc was done by Barry Windsor-Smith and was fabulous.Delete
One more for the to-read list...Delete
I would have felt disappointed too by the way the comic didn't stick to the way we imagine that era to be and went alien, but Andrew has explained the costume change anyway. Maybe they change back in their rest periods - or is that not how comics work?ReplyDelete
In the particular issue I read, the story doesn't even make it that far. Visigoths are being abducted - switched out with alien changelings. Aric (the protagonist) hasn't actually found the armor yet.Delete
So, I don't know. But I would guess he probably switches back and forth.
So does this mean aliens were responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire? Gotta love comicbookverse. (I think I made up a new word there) Thanks for the award. I'm working on thought provoking answers, like "world peace"ReplyDelete
Maybe. Not sure I care to follow the story that far myself.Delete
My pleasure, Bethie! I look forward to your responses.
I love it when A to Z takes me out of my element!ReplyDelete
Me, too. Thanks for stopping by and for following, Heidi. I shall happily return the favor.Delete
X-Men, my favorite childhood comic book, would have been too easy and too obvious. Bravo for staying off the beaten path.ReplyDelete
I don't read comic books. I'm afraid if I did again, I'd get sucked in and never escape.
Thanks, Jer! I understand your misgivings - probably sensible. But surely, there are worse habits, I mean, hobbies.Delete