Guest Writer: Christopher Bishop
Matt Kindt -Writer
Tomas Giorella -Artist
Diego Rodriguez -Color
X-O Manowar has been a favorite of mine since 1992. Jim Shooter and Bob Layton breathed life into the idea of an ancient Visigoth warrior from the 5th century AD being haphazardly thrust into alien slavery for seven years before fighting his way into an alien armory and claiming what was unbeknownst to him their greatest weapon. Encased in a sentient set of living armor he fought his way clear to return to a vastly changed earth. As they say, the rest is comic history.
This story finds Aric far removed from earth, living a life of peace with an alien lover as a farmer. As his bad luck would have it however, he is once again thrust into the role of war and rather unwillingly used as cannon fodder for the upcoming battle. Aric, however is not some simple doting farmer and as the tale unfolds we see true to form, he has lost none of his battle savvy, even missing a hand.
The story is very well conveyed and the pencil work is amazing. Large battle scenes Kirby would have been proud of show the conflict in full glory, and wanton slaughter happens on every panel. The colors are somewhat muted, but strong where they need to be and the panel layout is very reminiscent of the style used by Bob Layton or Barry Windsor Smith around the time period of his Conan work for Marvel comics. The artwork sells the battle even more than the words do, and yet even amidst the chaos, alien landscapes rise beautifully despite the carnage.
The unwilling warrior is once again thrust into battle, and fans of the previous tales of Aric the Visigoth will not find themselves disappointed. The pace is deliberately fast, yet the reader is never at a loss for where the story is going. A true feat, considering the chaos of the subject matter. I give this issue an A for great visuals, dynamic storytelling and a clear dialogue leading to the next chapter!