Even without his armor, Aric is a badass!
We continue to see Aric rise in the army of his alien masters, the Azure, in X-O Manowar #3. He is leading a team to infiltrate the enemy. They have brought the shields down which makes the enemy forces vulnerable to the main army’s attack. Aric decides to change the mission parameters to capture the enemy king and forcing him to have his army surrender and save many lives.
The new mission has extra pressure put on it. The Azure leader decides to not wait for Aric’s plan but attacks the city without giving Aric’s team a chance to get free of the friendly fire. Aric displays his leadership, as well as his ability to adapt and overcome. His team follows his plan as dangerous as it is because they trust him, even as they needlessly point out that the Azure are just as corrupt and abusive as their enemies.
Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, Ninjak) is at his best writing the science fiction space opera and that writing really shines here. The story is strong and exciting. The whole book is well paced. We see more and more why the armor chose him and how it is working on him to get him to accept the armor.
If there is one flaw in the series so far, it is that they issues are beginning to feel like a bit of series of one-shots. I don’t need for the series to be a single tightly bound story, but there could be stronger connective tissues between the issues.
If the writing is excellent, it is matched by the art. Tomas Giorello is fantastic at drawing the high-tech battle in this issue. The art over all is strong and clear. You can follow the action with no confusion about who is attacking who or what is going on. Giorello’s (Conan the Cimmerian, 4001 AD) paying attention to all the details that make it feel dangerous.
The book opens with the introduction and review of the enemy done by David Mack and Zu Orzu. Orzu and Mack’s (Hellboy and the B.P.R.D, Kabuki) savage and kinetic style is such a contrast to the rest of the book. It reminds me of Bill Sienkiewicz’s work on New Mutants in the 80’s. It shouldn’t work with Giorello’s art, but it does and elevates the whole book.
If you haven’t been reading Valiant or X-O Manowar, this series is an excellent jumping on point. You get to learn what takes Aric from being a savage Visigoth to becoming the most dangerous man in the universe, with or without his armor. That is a trip worth taking.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artists: Tomas Giorello, David Mack and Zu Orzu
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment