X-O Manowar #21 Review

Now that Aric of Dacia has been stripped of the X-O Manowar armor he must find a way to keep his people from being imprisoned, enslaved in his mind, in the modern era. Does he have the ability to lead his people without Shanhara or has he become something much more?

Official description from VALIANT:
X-O Manowar: Prisoner of War! Stripped of the X-O Manowar armor, Aric of Dacia has been imprisoned and interrogated at an off-the-grid black site. But what knowledge could the governments of the world want from a man who has journeyed 1,600 years to the present? A man who liberated an alien planet? A man who once wielded the most powerful weapon in existence? What knowledge could they want, you ask? All of it.

Writer Robert Venditti loves to flash back every so often to Aric’s war-scarred upbringing and the constant battle for the Visigoths to be free from persecution and for good reason. Now that Aric and his people are prisoners once more, this time at the hands of the U.S. government, it only goes to show how Aric mentality has been shaped by war. Venditti shows us and correlates Aric’s childhood behind a wall meant to protect and with his current day situation in the Sigma Detention Center after battling Toyo Harada’s Unity team. Not since the “Planet Death” story arc has Venditti made you feel so emotionally for Aric. His motives and actions for freedom misguided by not unwarranted.

XO_021_COVEREven without his armor Aric is a relentless warrior under heavy security and now under interrogation from Colonel Capshaw head of the Military Exterrestrial Reconnaissance Outpost (M.E.R.O). Capshaw’s explanation falls on deaf ears as always with Aric as reason means nothing to him. Again, regardless of Aric’s seemingly helpless situation he will never give in and by the end of the issue might not ever have to again.

Venditti sets in motion a twist which will change the base nature of what the X-O Manowar armor is and how it is connected to it’s owner. Raising an entirely new set of questions that readers won’t see coming. M.E.R.O. has it’s own plans for Aric and it won’t be without major repercussions.

Cary Nord’s art is, as always, as excellent as the writing. His flashback battle scenes are raw and exciting but his touch with subtle moments such as Aric childhood with his father feels intimate and cinematic in scope. Nord’s signature touch is prevalent throughout with his extreme close-ups for maximum emotional impact as you can feel the intensity of definitive punctuation in each characters expressions.

Venditti is moving in a new more complex direction with X-O Manowar and just when readers think you have this character figured out Venditti throws a curve ball you never expect. His ability to make alien technology and superhuman traits feel natural is the key to X-O’s success and continued growth in new directions. This is one of Valiant’s books that marks their signature of a great comic book publisher and Venditti is the key to raising standards of great comic book storytelling. X-O Manowar is a great read and heading for bigger and better things to come.



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