X-O Manowar’s Aric of Dacia is about to enter a new phase of his life as he joins both M.E.R.O. and Unity. With his armor back in hand, the Visigoth leader must now become a follower of these organizations. With new threats ever on the horizon for our reluctant hero, let’s take a look at X-O Manowar #22 from Valiant Entertainment.
Aric’s never been fond of following orders, as evidenced by his brash disregard for his uncle Alaric’s command all the way back in the first issue of the series. Still, Aric has grown over time and, after experiencing much pain and hardship, elects to work with the US Government in exchange for a safe haven for his people. As always, however, there is a catch, and the canny Colonel Capshaw shows her wily ways as she places Aric in a position that makes him, more or less, her pawn. How will Aric adapt to this new status quo, as all the while rival nations plot their own uses for salvaged Vine technology?
One of my favorite aspects of X-O Manowar is Robert Venditti’s emphasis on character development. Aric has changed vastly from his first appearance in the new Valiant Universe but, rather than an abrupt change, we’ve seen the gradual stages all the way from his first outing in the armor to his present status. Moreover, Venditti brings greater depth to Colonel Capshaw, a character we still know very little about but it’s obvious should be viewed with suspicion; she’s a strong character, and I’m intrigued what will become of her current hold on our Visigoth hero. This issue is somewhat of a breather after the wild ride of Unity, but I’m glad because it helps cement Aric’s core character and move pieces into place for the wild battle to come.
Artists Cary Nord and Vicente Cifuentes work together for this issue’s art, with the former providing the layouts and the latter completing the finishes. The art is, overall, rather good for the majority of the piece, especially the latter half involving the undersea scenes. Still, I feel the character models feel odd and a bit muddled in the first few pages of the issue which detracted somewhat from the calmer feel of the issue. Nevertheless, the art team did quite well with this installment and, while I know they’re off for the next few issues, hope they can come back for an arc in the near future.
X-O Manowar #22 is a solid conclusion to the Unity story while laying the groundwork for the upcoming “Armor Hunters” story line. This series continues to weave a strong, character driven mythology that sits at the core of the publishing line and proves month after month how to produce a great sci-fi comic. Valiant’s built to this for some time, and there’s a lot to address and keep me interested. If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor of Valiant’s awesome universe, now is a perfect time to jump on board.
-great character development for Aric and Colonel Capshaw
-awesome undersea scenes
-superb set-up for the next arc
-artwork on the early pages isn’t that great, specifically some character models
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He imagines that cover is showing Aric’s distaste at losing Tic-Tac-Toe to Toyo Harada.
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