X-O Manowar #9 REVIEW: an epic battle between strength & intelligence in this clever conclusion

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 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. . .

New York is covered in nanotechnology, all controlled by Troy Whitaker. The ex PR man for X-O Manowar, turned into a dictator who wants to rule the world, starting with New York. Aric is being held captive in a makeshift craft of nanotech that’s based on Shanhara. While Desmond, with the help of his mini-orb powered by what’s left of the alien sentience, tried to infiltrate the ship and save Aric and hopefully the world.

So after 21 months we have the conclusion to this story arc. Now I’m aware that issue 5 was billed as a good jumping on point, but as I stated in my review for that issue, I believe it was not, as it’s still continuing the story lines that were introduced, and continuing from a cliffhanger ending. So personally, I feel that this has been one long arc. I’ve had issues along the way, including some heavy delays between issues. Which you can tell, as it’s taken almost 2 years to get 9 issues out. I will say that now the arc has finished, it’s been a triumph.

One of my criticisms early on was that the writer hinted at topics but didn’t make enough of them as parts of the story. For example, if you have an American hero (despite him not actually being American) going into another country and causing destruction (like what happened in issue 6 in France), this could be seen as a political issue or even an act of war by one country towards another. As much as I wanted this to be fleshed out, as I thought the idea that someone who is not an American and not even from our time period, this could cause multiple issues and he could be seen as a terrorist. This could have been handled by his PR guy Troy. Although this didn’t happen, what we got in this issue was incredibly poignant. We get a battle of intelligence vs strength which has been done, but it was nice to see Aric showing that he understands humanity and can debate a threat in order to neutralise. Although, it was within the debate that we got the best writing and the most passionate of themes. Troy wants to control the world and keep people in comfortable subjugation, however Aric and the New Yorkers want to be free. This debate is well crafted between Aric and the sentient nanotech, which only looks at things without any human connection. This interaction is so well crafted by writer Dennis Hallum that I can’t call this series anything other than a triumph.

The art has been consistent throughout and again looks good. The colours by Ruth Redmond have the same green that we had in the last issue, with the over abundance of the nanotech. This green really does makes the suit stand out when Aric finally puts it on.

Then after the end of the book we get an announcement that “War is coming,” so I’ll look forward to hopefully another good arc from the team, if it is the same, even better without the delays. Even with that though, this book has been amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a well crafted story in a universe that’s looking to establish itself again.

X-O Manowar issue 9 was released by Valiant Comics on 15th December 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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