Writer Robert Venditti's work on Valiant's book X-O MANOWAR has been nothing less than stellar. Its become a fan favorite, as well as a Comic Vine favorite. Robert took a few moments to chat it up with us about his time so far on the book and the upcoming story line "Planet Death." Issue 9, which starts the Prelude of Planet Death, hits stores Wednesday, January 23rd.
COMIC VINE: First off, congratulations Robert on a fantastic run so far on X-O MANOWAR. When you first signed on to write this comic, did you have any worries about bringing these characters into this current era of comic books?
ROBERT VENDITTI: I was extremely worried. I’d never written a monthly, mainstream comic before, so writing a book that wasn’t just the first issue of a series, but of an entire universe, was scary. But the best part about the whole process was the Valiant fans. From day one, they were excited about the company coming back, and they reserved judgment on X-O MANOWAR until the book was on the stands. You really can’t ask for more than that.
CV: When you signed on to write this book, aside from writing a good book, what were your goals with this series?
VENDITTI: To write stories that featured the epic action you’d expect from a book about a Visigoth battling space aliens, but to also infuse the book with character and give it a heart.
CV: What has been your biggest challenge writing this series thus far?
VENDITTI: I’d say getting used to writing for the monthly format. That was something I’d never done before, and Warren Simons, Valiant’s Executive Editor, had to work with me on getting the specific aspects of that style of writing onto the page—recapping the reader without it reading like a recap, and so on. I’m still trying to improve in that regard. It’s a constant learning process.== TEASER ==
CV: The gut grenade panel in issue 5, was one of my favorite moments in this series so far. What was your favorite moment you've written for this series, and are we going to see more awesome moments like this in Planet Death?
VENDITTI: I actually prefer the issue 5 facemelter to the gut grenade. Aric grabs an opponent by the wrist and holds him in place for a beat, then fires a pulse blast into the guy’s face. It’s the pause I like, as though Aric is trying to figure out who this guy is and why he’s attacking him, but then he decides it doesn’t really matter and takes the guy out. That’s Aric in a nutshell.
Another favorite would be the issue 2 slave revolt, where you see Aric fighting alongside Mayans, Africans, Asians, and other cultures. It’s a team-up of the best warriors the world had to offer in 400 A.D., cultures that never would’ve come together had the Vine not abducted them.
VENDITTI: Alexander will definitely be back, as will Ninjak, though his appearances will be less frequent. When Aric returns to Earth from Planet Death, there’s going to be a major change in status quo for him and the rest of the characters in the series.
CV: Now that Alex has been excommunicated from the Vine, are the Vine going to be coming after him and will Aric and Ninjak be there to help him?
VENDITTI: Traitors are even worse than the enemies they work for, so the Vine definitely have a score to settle with Alexander. How they go about settling it is something we’ll see later in the series.
CV: Are we going to be seeing people from Aric's past make their way to present day Earth?
VENDITTI: Good question . . .
CV: The next two issues are the prelude to the Planet Death story. Artist Trevor Hairsine drew issues 9 and 10. What is your process with an artist when they jump onto a series for just a couple issues?
VENDITTI: My process is pretty much the same, regardless who the artist is. I sort of have a set scripting style, and it’s pretty detailed, but I let the artists I work with know if they have a better idea for the art, they should feel to draw it. I trust the artists I work with, and I want them to enjoy themselves on the project.
CV: While Aric and the Manowar armor are powerful on their own, combined, can they take down The Vine as a whole, and what makes Aric and the armor powerful enough to do so?
VENDITTI: These are questions we’re going to learn the answers to in Planet Death. I will say, though, that issue 10 will reveal a new power for the armor, something not even the Vine knew about. Everyone is going to learn the Manowar armor is far more destructive than they ever could’ve imagined.
CV: Do you have any future plans with this series that are on the same epic level as Planet Death?
VENDITTI: Definitely. Planet Death represents the culmination of several plots and subplots that began in issue 1. The end of the arc will resolve many of those, but it’ll also launch a wave of entirely new plotlines. Things are only going to get bigger from here.
CV: How long would you like to stay on this series and further the development of Aric?
VENDITTI: For as long as I have ideas. I’ve written through issue 12 and have turned in synopses for what’s going to happen in the handful of arcs after that, so I think I have a lot of gas left in the tank. But I have no idea how long it’ll take to get where were going, or how many detours we’ll take along the way. Writing a monthly book that ties in with a larger universe is a constantly changing endeavor. Everything has to be adaptable.
CV: Spitfire round. Here's a bunch of quick, fun questions.
Best comment you've received about the book?
VENDITTI: Every time someone spends their money on it.
CV: Funniest comment you've received?
VENDITTI: “Not enough happens in the first issue.” (Brief issue 1 recap: Visigoths fight Romans. Aric’s father is killed, and his wife and mother are captured. Aric fights aliens. He and his best friend are captured and taken aboard a spaceship. Aric escapes, witnesses part of an armor ceremony, then is recaptured. The armor ceremony continues, and an alien warrior has his mind turned to mush. Aric swears he’ll have his vengeance against the aliens and the Romans. The end.)
CV: Favorite movie of 2012?
VENDITTI: I think I saw only three movies in the theatre last year, so I’ll go with Argo.
CV: One movie everyone should watch?
CV: Favorite ongoing series?
CV: Favorite non-comic book?
VENDITTI: Of Mice and Men.
CV: Least favorite theme park?
VENDITTI: Sixth Flags over Georgia. I’ve never been there when it wasn’t 1000 degrees outside.
CV: Least favorite television show?
VENDITTI: Anytime the New England Patriots are playing a football game.
CV: Describe your work on X-O MANOWAR in 2 words.
VENDITTI: PAFF PAFF.
Huge thanks to Robert for taking the time to answer these questiosn, and make sure to check out issue 9 of X-O MANOWAR on Wednesday, January 23rd. Valiant sent over this preview for you guys to check out as well.