While I did enjoy reading the original X-O Manowar series for its uniqueness and the skills of the creators, I am not so foolish as to say that it was as important to comics as the Mona Lisa is to art. However, I often use the example of the repainting the Mona Lisa to explain how I feel about rebooting/remaking comic books and movies – it is to me, as a general notion really stupid, especially in today’s market of New 52s and Pissing on Watchmen. My disdain for reboots/remakes aside, I was surprised to find myself really enjoying X-O Manowar: By the Sword when I wanted so bad to hate it.
Robert Venditti’s writing in X-O Manowar: By the Sword does a lot to keep some of what made the original X-O Manowar so unique and cool: the basics of the origin story, the wonderful gruffness of Aric the protagonist and the general direction of an underground alien invasion as the continuing story. What keeps all of this fresh is Venditti’s contemporary pace and pruning of pieces from the original story that made it a little dense and plodding. Venditti’s use of panel to panel storytelling and page turns gives the pencilling a great foundation to build upon.
Something that is definitely contemporary about X-O Manowar: By the Sword is the art from the team of Cary Nord, Stefano Gaudiano and Moose Baumann. It’s smooth, uncluttered and mood-setting. Baumann does an incredible job of maintaining page consistency and setting tones that are right for the moods of those same scenes. Because of the exception skills of the production team, X-O Manowar: By the Sword was a far better reboot than I had anticipated and I look forward to seeing how this team can do something new with the continuing story.