Writer: Dennis “Hopless” Hallum, Artist: Emilio Laiso, Colourist: Ruth Redmond, Inker: Raffaele Forte, Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Cover artist: Rahzzah.
A 5th century Visigoth warrior-prince, Aric of Dacia bonded with a sentient alien 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……
Troy has been helping Aric with his PR, making sure that he looks good to the world, but secretly he’s been planning on using Shanhara for his own means. Now the singularity has started, and Aric set it in motion before he even realised what he was doing. Now the world rests on Desmond’s (Aric’s young neighbour) shoulders to save the day, just him and his Shanhara orb against what seems like the whole world.
It is no secret that I’ve had my problems with this title. The heavy delays and the storylines that reference possibly going somewhere interesting but never do (see my previous reviews for the series so far on POP's Comics page). However we have something fantastic here. Writer Hallum gives a wonderful issue that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, despite not having any action. The impending sense of dread fills this issue, as you’re never sure what could happen. Added to this is a masterclass of writing for me where Desmond, who is still an adolescent boy, swears when the world is being torn apart around him. Which leads his Shanhara orb to tell him to watch his language. Now I know I’m still very new to this title, but I’ve come to know the characters of which Shanhara is a prominent one, and this just seems to be perfect for her character. This also adds a little comedy to such a dramatic issue.
I’m not sure if this was suggested by Hallum or Emilio Laiso, but when the singularity starts and the AI starts to talk to everyone, we get a few pages of echo (as seen in the picture above). This really put me at unease, as I felt like I was there being spoken to, whilst I was reading the same thing over and over again.
One more thing I want to say about the writing. I had problems with how slow things were going, and then at issue 5 we get told that this is a good jumping on point, which I still disagree with. However, this issue has made up for all of that. This was a well scripted and intense comic that shows how the slow burn can pay off. From a character we met in issue 2, this has been building to make him even more terrifying, after thinking we (as the audience and Aric) could trust him. For that, I say this was fantastic writing that shows you can have a quality issue of an action book without having action in every issue.
The artwork by Emilio Laiso was also great. Anyone who follows my reviews knows I love landscapes, and above you can see a beautiful one, which depicts the singularity as it happens. I want to add the colours by Ruth Redmond were also fantastic in this issue, centred around green —that being the colour of the invading AI. But this green highlight to everything actually makes the other colours stand out even more when they are depicted, especially the reds towards the end of the issue, which really draw the eye.
Overall, a truly breathtaking issue to the point where I actually did gasp at the end panel. I have expressed problems with this title, but when an issue like this comes along, it will make everyone forget and forgive any drawbacks. I’m now very excited to see how this arc will end in the next issue.
X-O Manowar issue 8 was released by Valiant Comics on November 17th 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.