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Matt Kindt Reveals X-O MANOWAR’s New Villains (Exclusive)

Matt Kindt Reveals X-O MANOWAR’s New Villains (Exclusive)

With the epic relaunch of X-O Manowar, Valiant Comics sent their flagship character into the far reaches of space on a whole new adventure. Writer Matt Kindt is now at the helm and clearly has big, cosmic plans for the man known as X-O Manowar. From epic alien wars to personal battles with the sentient armor he is bonded with, Aric of Dacia is a man out of time, without a home, and nothing to lose. We had a chance to talk to Kindt about the future of X-O Manowar and some of the new villains our hero will be facing off against in upcoming issues. Hold onto your butts, because Kindt isn’t pulling any punches.

So why would Kindt take one of Valiant’s most popular characters and plant him on a world a million miles away from Earth? “It provides a different opportunity to really drill down into what makes X-O Manowar tick as a character by putting him in a very alien environment–to let us identify with him in a very basic way as a ‘human’ rather than the ‘other’ that he is when he’s on Earth,” Kindt said. “He’s evolving. He’s not stuck in the very comic book stasis that a lot of characters can get trapped in, by either being eternally a teenager or brooding orphan. The ability to take a big important character like that and actually do something with him, that is an advantage.”

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X-O Manowar can be seen as a cross between Conan the Barbarian and Iron Man, which is a comparison that Kindt embraces. “I think that’s what I loved about the character when he was first introduced back in the day,” he said. “The Iron Man/Conan hybrid has always been the kind of short-sell on the character, but I think–and we planted some of these seeds into the first issue, so it’s not a big spoiler–that I’m adding a third dimension to this character that hasn’t really been explored yet: the nature of the armor. In the next year, I think the new hybrid is going to be Iron Man/Conan, and Hal from 2001.” The sentient nature of the armor has become a bigger and bigger focus for the character, so we’re excited to see how Kindt plans to up the stakes in that realm.

All this cosmic craziness is quickly becoming Kindt’s specialty within the Valiant Universe. “We’re really breaking on through to the other side with Eternity, which is a natural progression/extension of Divinity,” Kindt said. “I think it’s a specific kind of sub-genre in comics that I’ve loved forever, having grown up with [Jack] Kirby–and it’s fun to sort of imagine what I can/would/should do with they same genre. It’s going to be fun, heartbreaking, and definitely cosmic. All my favorite things.”

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To help him bring these alien worlds to life, Kindt is collaborating with a number of awesome artists. Tomas Giorello (Conan), Doug Braithwaite (Unity, Ninjak), and Clayton Cray (Rai, 4001 A.D) will all be lending their talents to X-O Manowar. “The series is definitely broken into very specific arcs that are going to detail Aric’s rise to power,” Kindt said. “In that way, I think each arc is keyed to each artist’s strength. All credit to [Valiant Editor-in-Chief] Warren [Simons] and the team at Valiant–they cast the series really well, lining up artists for the arcs they fit best. These guys that really spoil me, you know? I get to write this story and push it into places visually that I personally just want to see drawn by them!”

Kindt gave us an exclusive glimpse at some of the new villains that will be popping up in X-O Manowar. Specifically, a gang of alien bounty hunters (designed by Kenneth Rocafort), who will become a major cosmic menace for our armored avenger. “I think the best bounty hunter of all time, Boba Fett excluded, is Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men,” Kindt said. “So picture something like that force of nature–but times two–with some insane alien weaponry. They’re going to be scary, to say the least. They’re coming for Aric after a lot of bad things go down on the planet…which I definitely can’t spoil. Let’s just leave them as the very dark clouds on the horizon.”

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Kindt clearly has big plans for X-O Manowar, and if the awesomeness of the first issue is any indication, we’re in store for one hell of a ride. Longtime fans of the Valiant line can rest assured that Kindt know’s how to handle this character. “I think the genius of Jim Shooter and Bob Layton was their ability to find a new spin on a superhero that hadn’t been done yet,” Kindt said. “Nearly every trope has been fully explored, but the barbarian in a high-tech suit of armor is a really fun idea that hadn’t been explored before. It’s hard to come up with something like that, that hasn’t been done in some way or another, but they did it. Brilliant new idea in a medium that is jam-packed with ideas.”

If you want to know more about the future of the Valiant Universe, you can check out the Valiant Summit 2017 Event, which is happening right now (there’s even a Twitch stream). There’s loads of great stuff on the horizon; there’s never been a better time to jump into the best superhero universe in comic books. So take a look at the gallery below, which features some rad exclusive art like thos eRocafort bounty hunters, and then head to your local comic shop and add X-O Manowar to your pull list.

Images: Valiant Comics

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