In the aftermath of the first Unity story arc does it feel as though justice was done? Read on to find out!
Official description from VALIANT:
UNITY EPILOGUE! When X-O Manowar thought he had finally found peace, he instead found only more war, death, and destruction… Now, at his lowest point, Aric of Dacia’s fate rests in the hands with the most unlikely of allies. Will X-O Manowar regain his lost power and seek bloody vengeance on his enemies, or will be forge a new path? A brand new era for Valiant’s flagship hero is about to begin…
X-O Manowar is tightly wound in to the Unity story line. After such a dramatic trial by fire for Aric of Dacia at the hands of Toyo Harada’s Unity team, Aric is finally befriended by those he feared his enemy. Robert Venditti wraps up the first Unity arc with equal resolve and new direction for our unlikely hero. Issue #22 of X-O Manowar picks up right after Unity #4 which brings Livewire to Aric and relinquishing the X-O armor. While Aric again feels empowered he also gains a new sense of purpose and direction when he could have easily destroyed each and everyone of his captors. Venditti shows a new side of Aric and his needs for his people.
Cary Nord is always stellar on his layouts and, while I miss the washes and stark color palette, the finishes of Vincente Cifuentes fits well within the new outlook of Aric and the bright future ahead. Nord’s work feels slightly less epic but suits the new direction for X-O Manowar’s more heroic place within the Valiant Universe.
Venditti has successfully made Aric a fierce and dominant fixture and I feel only mildly deflated that Aric has turned over a new leaf. I would have loved to seen him strike out with furious vengeance but I also understand the need for a more level headed direction for Aric. Venditti doesn’t let Aric completely off the hook and creates an uneasy alliance between his former captors and the needs the X-O armor can afford them. He uses the governments leverage of a safe refuge for Aric people as the trump card in their team-up and it works very effectively. While Aric seems more a puppet the opposite holds true. X-O Manowar is a new hero for his people which also works well for those who once held him prisoner.
Venditti has always been extremely effective is making Aric actions and motivations more gray than black and white which also makes for the best kind of storytelling. X-O Manowar is a perfect hero for the Valiant Universe which is both complex and entertaining and something comic fans should not pass by. I can’t recommend X-O Manowar highly enough as it hits all the right notes and pulls all the right strings for fans of action packed and engaging comics!