REVIEW: 'X-O Manowar: Unconquered' #1 by Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Liam Sharp



Writer: Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad
Artist: Liam Sharp
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: March 22, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

Past, present, and future collide as X-O MANOWAR returns for its 30th anniversary in an unforgettable new series by superstar creators Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Liam Sharp that promises to put the king back on his throne and chart a new course for Valiant's flagship series.

★★★★☆ (4/5)

X-O Manowar is back in a big way at Valiant. Writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad and artist Liam Conrad launch the flagship series in an epic new journey for its 30th Anniversary. Aric of Dacia has never looked better and has never been in more danger. General Cadmus has his sights set on acquiring Aric's armor, the spirit-imbued Shanhara, by any means necessary even if it takes an asteroid heading in earth's direction. 

Cloonan and Conrad have laid out a pretty straightforward story so far with Aric having this symbiotic relationship with his armor as evil forces plot against him. The stoic barbarian looks like Thor with the viciousness of Conan taking on the asteroid head-on, a monster, and henchmen in one rip-roaring first issue. The writers have firmly presented Aric as a complete badass and if comics had soundtracks, 'X-O Manowar' would sound like heavy metal blaring over slow-motion battle scenes. Aric has come to slay not play. 

It would be impossible not to mention the look of this latest run given the eye-popping virtuosity of artist Liam Sharp who's fresh from his own magical sci-fi saga 'Starhenge.' 'X-O Manowar' is given a 
more operatic look as though each panel was an oil painting all its own with the kind of composition that would make Frank Frazetta proud. Larger-than-life and elegantly illustrated, Sharp is at his very best in the pages of 'Unconquered.'

As Valiant usually does, each new run of their franchise characters gets an easy-to-jump-on series whether you're a new reader or a longtime fan. It'll be effortless to be swept away in this testosterone-filled sci-fi fantasy that touts the return of Aric of Dacia in epic fashion. In a raucous return, 'X-O Manowar' comes to serve notice that the baddest man in the universe is not to be played with. The first issue rocks!