X-O Manowar rises to the top of my reading pile each month as I continue to follow the adventures of Aric of Dacia. Recently, Aric’s ancient mindset placed him on a collision course with Toyo Harada’s Unity team. Livewire, Harada’s second-in-command, recently stole control of the Armor of Shanhara, leaving Aric literally bringing fists to a gun/sword/psychic powers-fight. Now in custody, let’s join the raging Visigoth as I take a look at X-O Manowar #21.
Aric’s had a rough life, and things aren’t looking up as he and the Visigoth refugees are thrust into a maximum security prison under the watchful eye of M.E.R.O., a shady government organization. Aric is taken before one of the heads of the group, where they all learn just how determined he is, and find out that he’s still formidable even without the Armor of Shanhara. But, when a strange occurrence manifests within Aric’s body, the results could change the entire face of global warfare.
For a title with “war” in the name, it’s rare to see a calmer, more introspective issue of X-O Manowar. Still, I think after the big fight with Unity, such a breather is needed. Robert Venditti continues to flesh out Aric’s character, and readers really get a strong feel for the character’s drive and conviction. Aric, while not the purest of men, has a strong heart and desire to do good; you really can’t help rooting for the guy. Furthermore, M.E.R.O. continues to intrigue, and the groundwork is laid for what promises to be a stellar continuation with the upcoming “Armor Hunters” story arc.
Cary Nord and Trevor Hairsine perform double duty as artists on X-O Manowar #21. Often, two artists with separate styles can make an issue feel disjointed, but Hairsine’s focus on the flashbacks and Nord’s work on the present makes the transition seamless. Both creators do great work drawing character models. Nord’s illustration of the strange transformation within Aric’s body is downright amazing, and exemplifies why he’s one of Valiant’s premier talents.
X-O Manowar #21 is a great read that advances the tone of the series and further cements Aric’s drive and motivation. I’m loving this title more with each new installment, and this issue is no exception. In fact, this chapter is a rather decent jumping-on point as well, so new readers should pick it up and start getting into the awesomeness that is X-O Manowar. I seriously have no complaints to level on this issue.
-Aric’s character is strengthened and further explored
-superb art, especially the facial expressions and wild technology
-interesting plot hooks for the upcoming “Armor Hunters” event
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He thinks Valiant should release an action figure of Prison Garb Aric.
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