Writer: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, Artist: Emilio Laiso, Colourist: Ruth Redmond, Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Cover Artist: Christian Ward.
Aric is determined to do well by the people of Earth, so he has agreed to work with Troy. He travels to Hawaii where a volcano has erupted, putting many people's lives and livelihoods at risk. With armored Aric being one of the most powerful beings on the planet, he is able to punch a hole through the volcano and divert the lava to a safer place. Seeing Aric being interviewed on tv and saying how he’s just a normal guy trying to help, just infuriates Vlad even more, causing him to improve on the weapon he’s developing, to ensure it's “mean and nasty”. Returning home for breakfast, Aric takes time to catch up with his new roommates before being interrupted by a wildfire in California. Is this just a freak accident, or could this be a trap masterfully played by Vlad. Whatever happens, Aric and Shanhara will not be the same again.
We are now getting towards the end of the year, and this run has unfortunately been plagued by real-world circumstances. Publishing only 3 issues of any comic title in a single year would be a problem, but this is something that the creative team had no control over. So I feel sorry for them if anyone has dropped off the series or has gotten frustrated by the long delays. I hope this hasn’t been the case for many fans, as I do think we are now getting to a point where the releases can be more consistent, and I think the story will be more free flowing and easier to grasp.
Despite being the issue with more action than the first two, this feels like it has set up a lot, with lots to say about PR or influencer culture. Aric is a traditional hero who wants to do the best thing for the world. As I stated in my last review (for issue 2) given world politics, a superhero could cause an international problem by trying to help. This is where Troy comes in, he is looking out for the image of the “Brand” X-O Manowar. In doing so, Aric is led to believe that if he has good enough PR, then he can justify killing a “warlord”. This is an interesting dynamic, as a more traditional hero (like Aric) would just do what he feels is right in the hopes that people can see it. Whereas it seems like Troy is making this more like a game of chess. By planning ahead and doing good deeds, if there needs to be a sacrifice here and there, he is comfortable with it.
So far in this series, we have had great writing by Dennis Hallum. This is developing into a very interesting series that could have a lot to say about political and social media culture. The one drawback I see at the moment, is that there are references to these kinds of issues being tackled, but we aren’t getting into them yet. I’m hoping we do get to see a little more of that kind of conflict, as it creates a discussion with readers about how they feel about current events.
The artwork has been great so far and it continues with this issue. With so many comics out that are so dark, it’s refreshing to see a book that’s so vibrant and clear. Emilio (artist) and Ruth (colourist) have done a fantastic job bringing the character to life so vividly, especially in this issue with the appearance of a new suit.
Overall, even with the unfortunate delays, this series is still very enjoyable. I’m hoping for a more detailed approach to certain events and characters to truly develop the kind of conversations that I think are referenced here. For anyone who is new to the character I think this is a good place to start. With only 3 issues so far, it wouldn’t take long to catch up either.
X-O Manowar issue 3 will be released on 23rd December from your local comic shop as well as comixology