XO Manowar FCBD Special.
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writers: Matt Kindt, Eric Heisserer, Jeff Lemire
Artists: CAFU, Raul Allen, Juan Jose Ryp
Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Dave Sharpe, Simon Bowland
A Valiant release on FCBD never fails to deliver on exclusive material, sneak-peaks and precious back-story add-ons. This year, we’ve been blessed with a prologue to XO Manowar, a preview to Secret Weapons #1, which we’ve reviewed here previously, and the prologue to Bloodshot Salvation. As if that wasn’t enough, artist Davis Lafuente has drawn up a centerfold so you can wall mount your Valiant favourites, if you’re that way inclined.
So, down to business. The XO Manowar prologue centers on Aric’s meeting with Schon from the new series. Kindt’s writing is beautifully brooding and doesn’t shy away from the glimpses of violence that we’ve come to expect from the character. We are offered an insight into Aric’s current thinking, with his admission that changing the world may just be too much. This ties in with the current series as Aric’s relationship with Schon grows but it’s his intriguing admission that further pushes the reader’s questioning of what Aric really wants. CAFU’s artwork is beautiful but carries the sudden violence against three Azure horsemen effortlessly. It’s a short but pretty story.
Following the Manowar story is a sneak preview for Secret Weapons #1. Follow the link on the preview page to read the full preview. In short, Heisserer’s writing, rounding on the first solo outing for fan favourite, Livewire, is something else. The Arrival writer has brought something new to Valiant and has upped the ante in a team where up already has no ceiling.
The final story is Lemire’s prologue to Bloodshot Salvation. I suspect there are hints galore as to the direction of Bloodshot Salvation and the story opening is typically cloudy and vague, a great metaphor for the mind of our character, Ray Garrison. Ray is nanite improved and alive in 4001. Bloodshot is now figuring out a way to fill in memory gaps so that Ray’s life, and thus the man, can be fully understood. Juan Jose Ryp’s artwork truly brings the future setting to life and with a heady mix of horror and science, the genre jumping series looks like it’s going to make some new fans. I particularly loved the flashes of yesteryear’s Bloodshots, knee-deep in gore. All in all, a fine teaser.
Overall, this year’s FCBD offering is decent. We get a taste of, what could be argued, some of the best of the current arsenal of writers and artists on the team. For newcomers, it’s enough to draw you in at a good start off point for each story. Decent!
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