X-O Manowar #5 ADVANCE REVIEW: a beautiful book with frustrating, lengthy delays between issues

Writer: Dennis “Hopless” Hallum, Artist: Emilio Laiso, Colourist: Ruth Redmond, Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Cover artist: Rahzzah.

After defeating Vlad in Harlem, Aric/X-O went back to Troy’s boat to have a debrief, when they are attacked by a big green monster-looking thing. X-O takes a lot of damage and is then trapped at the bottom of the sea with Shanhara (the X-O armor) slowly dying. With nothing but his own thoughts, Aric struggles to get out. Troy manages to lift him out, but it becomes clear this was no monster, it was an A.I. Troy was aware of this alien A.I., yet wanted more evidence before placing the burden on Aric. However things might be too late, as this nanite technology wasn’t after Aric, it wanted to destroy the only competition it had: Shanhara. With Shanhara’s consciousness trapped inside the A.I, it seems nothing can stop the impending attack.

It has been 7 months since issue 4 was released. In that time, I’ve read a lot of other titles. I had to go back and skim read issue 4 so I could remember how it finished. Now when I read the last issue, I noticed at the back the advert for the next issue, I saw how beautiful the cover art was. It also struck me that they wanted to wait this long. This was frustrating as there have been problems with this title when it comes to delays. Bear in mind that the first issue of this current series was released in March of 2020. So it’s taken them almost a year and a half to get 5 issues out. Now I understand that there have been pandemic issues that would cause delays, but I cannot think of a book that has been impacted this much. Due to the length of time it’s taken, this good book becomes lost. When people start to forget what’s happened and have to jump back half a year just to the previous issue, there is a problem and it could have a massive effect on the sales of the book.

Another thing I’ve found frustrating about this, is that with this issue being the beginning of a new story, it is being classed as a jumping on point. Now theoretically that is usually a correct tactic, but when the last issue leaves it on such a big cliffhanger, I wouldn’t call that story finished. Stories need to have a beginning , middle, and end. To that point, there is an equilibrium at the beginning, then a shift, and the character then gets back to an equilibrium at the end. This end might not be the same as the beginning, but it’s still a defining moment of balance. This is the problem that I have; last issue ended on a cliffhanger, so there was no balance. So although it is a new arc, I wouldn’t say it’s the best jumping on point for new readers.

As I said above, when I first saw the cover art, I thought it was stunning. Simple but so powerful, as it really reflects how alone Aric feels without the help of Shanhara. The artwork is as fantastic as it has been throughout the series. For anyone who follows my reviews, I love landscapes and underwater scenes. This book had a few underwater panels that I really appreciated.

Overall, this is still an enjoyable series; I think it’s written well for the most part, and drawn beautifully. I do have issues with the delays and the length of time it’s taken for the issues to come out, however it’s still a title that I enjoy to read so I will overlook that for now. I do think that if it continues, I could get frustrated and drop it. Although I don’t want this to happen.

X-O Manowar issue 5 will be released from Valiant Comics on 18th August from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology

20 views0 comments