X-O Manowar #7 ADVANCE REVIEW: Intelligent narrative + improved art = issue the best yet!

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

Former Visigoth Aric looks around at the damage he has caused after falling back down to Earth. His sentient alien armor Shanhara has been playing up and it caused him to plummet into Paris. PR guy Troy takes full responsibility for the damage caused and is about to hand himself over to the French embassy, when a swarm emerges above Manhattan. Shanhara still isn’t at full capacity, which causes Aric and Troy to come to the UK with a plan to deal with it. But without the help of Shanhara, what’s going to happen to them?

Another month and another good sign that things are getting back to normal for the team of X-O Manowar. Where we have had multiple delays across the series so far, as I said in the last review, if they keep this up, things will be better for both them and the readers. What we have here isn’t just a good new issue, but I would say it’s a standout of the series so far.

I don’t want to spoil too much, as this is the best of the run, so I will say we are now seeing the culmination of events that were started in issue 1. This is the kind of writing I would expect from writer Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum: intelligent, interwoven narratives that progress over multiple issues. This is something that I felt was lacking at the start, and it really does call into question the second arc being portrayed as a jumping on point, which is something that I did disagree with and it seems like I’ve been proven right.

Now, although the writing is a lot better, I do still have concerns. I made a comment in a previous review about there not being political or foreign relations consequences for Aric's actions. After the destruction of the Arc de Triomphe, Troy wants to hand himself over to the French embassy. This is a small thing, but I believe it could still set up a international issue if an American agent (in this case someone who lives and identifies as American) were to cause that kind of destruction. This kind of thing has been touched upon in superhero movies as well as comics, but I feel like it’s a missed opportunity to play this out in a book that’s got so many dimensions to it: Aric not being American, and Shanhara being an alien suit. These factors would make for a great thriller, that I believe this series could be.

Something I did notice in this issue was how the art was different. It took me a while to figure out why, but it’s because of the inks. The introduction of Raffaele Forte as the inker has dramatically increased the quality of the art. The lines look more defined and it accentuates the already great colours of the series. This caused me to look back on the previous issues, and Forte was actually introduced in issue 5. This did make a difference even then but I don’t think I realised this as there were so many delays to the issues.

Overall this was a great book and I’m now looking forward to the next issue. The artwork was great and the writing was fantastic, really making me want more. I’ve had problems with the series so far, but if this is going to be the calibre going forward, then I definitely won’t be questioning it as much.

X-O Manowar Vol 5, issue 7 releases by Valiant Entertainment on 20th October from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology


Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.

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