I’ve been a fan of X-O Manowar for many years, and have especially loved Matt Kindt’s take on the character in his current series. KIndt has mined new depths with the “barbarian in a tin can,” exploring the nature of what makes a king and glorying in the personal magnetism that makes Aric a true hero. In this exclusive preview of the upcoming new arc of X-O, Matt Kindt teases more thrills we devoted fans can look forward to.
Jason Sacks for Comics Bulletin: Tell us about the Unknown and what its threat is to Earth.
Matt Kindt: Is the Unknown connected with another of your Valiant comics… or would that be telling?
MATT KINDT: Yes! After the events in Eternity, Divinity came back to Earth and everything reset to a degree – except Divinity brought some problems back with him… or, more accurately, some problems followed Divinity back home to Earth. We kind of teased this a little bit at the end of Eternity but how it manifests itself is going to be pretty nuts. We’re bringing the cosmic to Earth!
CB: I know you can’t spoil Harbinger Wars 2, but can you talk a bit about how X-O’s life has changed based on the events of that storyline?
Kindt: I think he’s actually asserting himself a little more. He’s not going to be a hired gun for any government or institution. He’s been the emperor of a planet (with all of the problems that ended up entailing) so he’s probably not going to be taking orders from anyone again. That said, he won’t be setting himself up to be emperor of Earth or anything; he wasn’t cut out for it so he’s going to be choosing a path that’s a little more interesting.
CB: This is your first arc writing Aric’s adventures on Earth in the present day. Do you write him any differently now that he’s here as opposed to the alien planet he lived on before?
Kindt: I think he’s changed as a character from his experience off-world. It was intentional from a writer standpoint but also, I think it’s important for the growth of the character. This is the beauty of the Valiant Universe. The XO we’ve had the past few years is actually a little older and a little wiser and he’s going to be making decisions based on past experience. Like every character in the Valiant U, he’s evolving like a real person would over time. None of us is the same person we were five or 10 or 15 years ago. The Valiant U gives us that freedom as creators to make it real. To give these characters stakes and life changes.
CB: Will Aric be more at the center of the Valiant Universe now?
Kindt: Yeah, but not by choice. He’s going to have some tough times ahead but at least this time, it won’t be his fault. He’s just there to help clean up the cosmic mess. To a degree. I’m also totally lying when I say that. There are things he did in those first 12 issues that are going to come back to haunt him – and will hit close to home.
CB: On your X-O run, you’ve delivered constant change, including an arc set in Aric’s past. Is that by design?
Kindt: Well, yeah… ha ha! I’ve been reading comics my entire life so I feel like you get to a certain point where you’ve seen everything and honestly, that’s what drives me and has driven me my entire career with my creator-owned work and everything else, and especially Valiant. Does the world really need another super hero comic? I think if you’re going to put a new super hero book out into the world at this point, there really needs to be a reason for it. It needs to be special.
CB: Tell us about your thoughts on working with Juan Jose Ryp on art. His style is very different from previous artists like Ariel Olivetti and Trevor Hairsine.
Kindt: He’s really great. I honestly was just impressed with how quickly he works. I thought I was quick, but he rivals me and puts probably a thousand more lines on the page. But what I like about Ryp is what he has in common with Ariel and Trevor. It’s a great solid sense of storytelling. He tells the story and embellishes and expands on what I’ve written, but always to service the storytelling and the narrative. That’s my favorite kind of artist to work with and I feel like Valiant really has a great group of artists that all have a similar talent for conveying story.
Valiant’s solicit copy is below.
X-O MANOWAR (2017) #19 (NEW ARC! “AGENT”)
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by ALAN QUAH
Variant Cover by MICO SUAYAN
NEW ARC! NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! “AGENT” – PART 1!
Beyond time, space, and reality, there lies the Unknown…and now it’s coming here! When soldiers from a mysterious foreign realm arrive on Earth, it’s up to the armored Visigoth known as X-O Manowar – newly returned to the planet and now the leader of his own elite G.A.T.E. unit – to deal with the intrusion. But are these otherworldly emissaries truly the threat they appear to be, or does a larger danger loom over the Valiant Universe still?
Worlds collide as Eisner Award-nominated writer Matt Kindt (Eternity, Grass Kings) and incendiary artist Juan José Ryp (Britannia) bring a new plane of existence crashing down upon our own in a brand-new jumping-on point for 2017’s best-selling series!
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 26th