“Armor Hunters,” Valiant Entertainment’s upcoming crossover, is nearly here. Aric of Dacia, owner of the X-O Manowar Armor, is poised to be the target of these alien warriors. Before that, however, our hero has enough problems to deal with as he begins his work for the covert organization M.E.R.O. Let’s dive into X-O Manowar #23.
Fresh off of his battle with Unity, Aric’s on the chain of Colonel Capshaw and M.E.R.O. What should be a “routine” investigation of Chinese astronauts salvaging alien tech quickly turns into a battle for survival with the mysterious Malgam. Just who is this man? And what is his connection to the Armor of Shanhara?
If not immediately obvious from my introductory paragraph and the banner of this issue’s cover, X-O Manowar #23 is setting up for Valiant’s major Summer crossover. After reading this issue, I’m more excited than ever about “Armor Hunters!” Perhaps the best aspect of this issue is the fruits of Aric’s character development; writer Robert Venditti makes it obvious that Aric has renounced his former charge first/ask questions later mentality, and now feels the weight of responsibility. Furthermore, Colonel Capshaw continues her development as an interesting antagonist as she manipulates Aric; I’m intrigued to see what will happen when her vicious actions finally come to a head. Lastly, Malgam’s got me interested with his clear link to Aric’s armor and the aforementioned Armor Hunters.
Diego Bernard takes over for series regular Cary Nord with this mini-arc. I cannot stress enough how much I love Bernard’s work: his lines are crisp, his character models are strong, the facial expressions he draws are powerful, and the action sequences are exciting. Focusing specifically on the facial expressions, there’s one scene where Aric watches someone die, and the pain on his face is so evident I felt more drawn into a single panel than I have in a long time. Malgam’s design is also quite cool, as you see a twisted figure fused with armor than resembles Shanhara with a fearful symmetry. Aided by inker Alejandro Sicat and colorist Brian Reber, Bernard’s images come alive even further, giving us a striking, beautiful issue of a great comic series.
X-O Manowar #23 is a great next step for Aric and company. The closer we get to “Armor Hunters,” the more excited I become, and I’m loving the journey each step of the way. This is one of the best issues of the series thus far, and sets up for another great story in the life of my favorite armor-wielding Visigoth.
-amazing art from Bernard, Sicat, and Reber
-excellent character development
-great seeding of the upcoming “Armor Hunters”
-great jumping-on point for new readers
-The mooning scene is funny, but a little odd
-It’s a full month until the next issue!
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He was holding out for Malgam to secretly be Gafti.
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