An Action-Packed Beauty. X-O Manowar #1 Review
X-O Manowar #1
Writer: Dennis Hallum
Pencils: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Assistant Editor: Drew Baumgartner
Editor: Heather Antos
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Valiant‘s flagship character, X-O Manowar, has been all over the place. From planet Earth to planet Gorin, he’s faced Vine aliens, bounty hunters and Harbinger Wars. With this third attempt at an ongoing series, the visigoth-turned-superhero is now a resident of Harlem, trying to (yet again) find his place within the modern world, and along the way will try his hand at basketball and maybe being a better hero. There’s a lot of familiar territory here as we see Aric (X-0) back at play doing the good work on and off-world, dealing with a random Vine alien and other happenings. But someone waits in the shadows. There’s a new player who has a weapon to take out X-O.
I think there’s a lot to like about Dennis Hallum’s first book in the Valiant Universe. For starters, it’s got a great amount of action. We see X-O dealing with a number of threats around him. Second, I feel a big part of any X-O book is Aric’s relation to Shanhara, the sentient armor that he uses as X-O Manowar. The previous run showed that the armor could communicate with Aric and here, they play off each other as a sort of odd couple, much like they did in the previous volume. I feel that the non-action moments are as important, something I’ve liked with the other volumes of X-O Manowar, and it feels like those continue here in similar fashion.
If there’s anything to question, it’s how we got here. There’s a lack of continuity that has not been addressed yet with this book. Where’s X-O’s girlfriend from Gorin? Is he still dealing with the repercussions of his involvement in Harbinger Wars 2? And why is he in Harlem? None of this is bad and I’m sure at some point we get the answers but we don’t have them yet. And has the relationship between Aric and the armor grown where it’s almost symbiotic? It’ll be interesting to see how it all shapes out from here.
The art is fantastic and credit goes to Emilio Laiso, an artist I’m not at all familiar with. The entire issue looks incredible and I just love the look and style of everything here. Also, Ruth Redmond colored the issue and they help the art stand out, especially the opening scene that’s set in space. It’s enough to get you drawn into everything that is going on. There’s some great lettering done by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and together, the creative team helps deliver an issue I feel will set itself apart from a lot of books on release day.
I enjoy so much that the Valiant Universe has to offer and X-O Manowar has always played a big part in that. And while I have some questions about continuity that aren’t answered, they aren’t enough to derail my enjoyment. The return of X-O Manowar is an action-packed beauty.