Valiant Entertainment; $39.99

We’ve made no secret of the enjoyment we get from Valiant’s X-O Manowar. For those who have managed to miss, ignore and otherwise previously disregard the virtues we have extolled of this series, here’s the perfect book, a slightly oversized, beautifully produced hardcover containing all 14 issues of the first three story arcs, wrapped in a very nice dust jacket.

Writer Robert Venditti, working mainly with artist Cary Nord, but also with Lee Garbett and Trever Hairsine, introduces readers to a visogoth named Aric, turns his world upside down with an alien encounter and abduction, and sets in motion the entire series. In addition to the superb art and storytelling, there are two persistent factors in the series: Aric’s personal drive and the changes he’s put through with each story.

While there have been a number of really interesting takes on the character since Valiant returned to the comic book market, this is the best so far. It’s different than the original Valiant’s interpretation, but it offers a well thought out, compelling read that will leave the reader wanting more.

What more can you ask of a comic book story?

– J.C. Vaughn