MATT MOORE,Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Valiant Comics is promising an explosive new story in the pages of its flagship book, "X-O Manowar."
It's not hyperbole, said writer Robert Venditti, who outlined details this week of a major story arc in the Valiant universe that will see Aric of Dacia, a 5th-century Visigoth now sporting sentient superpowered armor, have his revenge on the Vine, the space-faring race that kidnapped him from Earth.
Turns out Aric is not exactly happy to find himself returned to Earth some 1,600 years later, his beloved dead, his people gone and his goal of sacking the city of Rome forever out of his reach.
That's left him with some serious anger issues and it's the Vine home world that will bear the brunt of not just his resentment but the firepower of the X-O Manowar suit, too, that he wears.
"Aric, he was taken captive and was aboard a slave ship for all these years and had this burning hatred for Rome," said Venditti, who has helmed the writing duties on the book since its launch earlier this year.
Now, with Rome no longer the power it was and Aric adrift, he's seeking revenge on the Vine.
"A lot of people might say, 'How does one person take on a planet?'" asked Venditti. "The armor yields so much power. And he's going to discover something about it that takes it beyond something that anyone could have conceived."
The story begins in January with a two-issue prelude in issues 9 and 10 with art by Trevor Harisine that sees a figure from Aric's past show up on Earth with his own class of lesser, but still lethal armor, and under the control of the Vine.
That prelude, in turn, will be followed by a four-part arc — dubbed "Planet Death" — that has Aric attacking the Vine home world in issue 11, which will be illustrated by Cary Nord.
"He has this burning desire for vengeance," said Valiant executive editor Warren Simons. "The Vine will displace the Romans as his quest for vengeance continues."
Simons says the arc is the first big event for Valiant, which relaunched this summer with four titles and is set to release its fifth, "Shadowman," next month, and one that will be felt among the "larger cosmology" of the publisher's characters.
What those reverberations will be, Simons wouldn't say, only that it would "have repercussions for the Valiant universe.