Writer: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, Artist: Emilio Laiso, Colourist: Ruth Redmond, Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Cover artist: Christian Ward.
A 5th century Visigoth warrior-prince, Aric of Dacia bonded with an alien sentient armour, Shanhara, to become X-O Manowar: the most powerful weapon in the universe. Returning to earth he found himself in modern day, where nothing is as he remembers. Aric and Shanhara use their abilities for the good of mankind, however mankind might have other intentions……
After stopping civil unrest in the Ukraine, Aric was blindsided by an unknown robotic entity. A short battle latter he follows it back “home” to discover it was designed by Troy Whitaker, a tech millionaire entrepreneur. He tells Aric that it is all good helping people, but he needs to go about it the correct way. Without a PR person he could incite a more dangerous situation. Not wanting to change his methods, he leaves and continues the way he is. Unfortunately for him, Troy might be right about this, and Aric could learn things the hard way.
It’s been 8 months since issue 1, so I have to admit, I had to go back and reread it. It didn’t take me long to get back into it though. I quickly remembered what I liked about the first issue. The fish out of water character who’s still trying to fit in. This time however, we get a little bit more substance to develop the character, seeing as he’s new to the 21st century, he’s still not fully aware of how his actions can affect world politics. This issue looks at that in a little more depth. Troy Whitaker tells Aric that he needs help with being a hero, as he can’t be around to stabilise the region if he goes in to stop a civil war. This could also be seen as an act of terror against the foreign entity as Aric is an American citizen. This is something that has started to be brought up by mainstream superhero mediums but not fully explored. I hope that the next few issues will be able to explore such a complex affair of superheroes, and what they can and can’t do on foreign soil. For what can be such a lighthearted book, this subject matter would make the very intriguing contrast.
Along with what could be a very enjoyable and complex story by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, we also have some fantastic artwork by the team of Emilio Laiso on illustrations and Ruth Redmond on colours. We get some incredibly polished drawings and some truly vibrant colours that match the bright tone of Aric's suit, yet also seems to perfectly contradict some of the darker moments in the story, making for a really interesting book.
This highly enjoyable book only really has one problem. The long delay between issues one and two. However with the current climate it’s somewhat forgivable, and when the story and art is so good, I’m willing to wait. Still early into Hallum's run, so I can’t be too critical, although I would say if he doesn’t explore the fine line between helping people in another country and being tyrant then this is a wasted opportunity, especially with such a unique character as Aric. It would seem strange to not have him come to terms with how the works have changed over the years.
X-O Manowar issue 2 from Valiant Comics will be released on 25th November from your local comic shop as well as comixology
X-O Manowar #1 (2020)