4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar #1 Review: It Has Giant Robots


4001 A.D.’s first tie-in issue sends giant fighting robots against the floating nation of Japan!

4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar #1
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Clayton Henry
Published by Valiant Entertainment

4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar #1 doesn’t go on sale until May 11, so this advance review may contain spoilers!

Last week’s opening issue of Valiant’s summer event, 4001 A.D., was astounding but had little evidence to argue that anyone should read it who isn’t already reading Rai. It’s two millennia away from the rest of Valiant’s publishing line, and popular modern heroes like X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Shadowman, Ninjak, and the Harbingers are long dead. The only connections in that issue were the appearance of immortal badass Eternal Warrior and a scene at the end where Rai finds a giant robot suit left over from “The X-O War” that he can pilot to battle malevolent satellite New Japan. With a series of one-shot tie-ins including Shadowman and the newly-announced War Mother, Valiant hopes to tie the rest of the modern line to the future event, and that starts here.

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This book takes place during the X-O War, a response by the nations of Earth to Father’s launch of Japan into orbit. Brave pilots representing a handful of countries have to take these giant suits along the same path Rai will in a couple thousand years, but a surprise appearance by one of the more memorable of the Armor Hunters takes this War into a fascinating and horrifying place. It’s set a hundred years in our future, so Aric of Dacia is no longer in the suit, but Robert Venditti connects the story well to the fifty modern issues he’s already written.

This issue still hasn’t made the case that people who like X-O Manowar will get a ton out of reading 4001 A.D. That said, in a single issue, readers get to thrill to a big space battle with a great twist ending, and readers of 4001 will have a deeper understanding of Rai’s position between the first two issues. Not only do we learn how the suit got to that slimy cave, we see a secret link between the battle armor and the sacred relic of The Vine. Whether this connection comes up in the main series is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to be fun to look out for it. Clayton Henry’s art, so distinctive and classic on grounded hero comics like Archer & Armstrong, fits surprisingly well with the epic scope of the war and the immensity of these suits.

More superheroes and comics: Bam Smack Pow reviews the first issue of 4001 A.D.

The Bottom Line: It’s not essential to 4001 A.D. and has nothing to do with the modern-day X-O Manowar, but this one-shot fills in some important gaps in the main story and has a great time doing it.