REVIEW: X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0

Publisher: Valiant Comics

This month, Valiant are putting out a zero issue to act as a jumping on point for one of their flagship books, X-O Manowar.  Rather than focusing on Aric before he got his Visigoth hands on Shanhara, Robert Venditti takes a look at the Vine and in particular Commander Trill.

Its hard not to see Trill for some sort of pantomime villain, full of bluster and idle threat.  To curb this perception, a writer can go either one of two ways; firstly Trill can do something vicious that grabs your attention or the writer can build on a back story, whereas the villain is shown to be nothing than committed to the cause, a zealot if you will.

As origins go, this tale is ok, if not somewhat lackluster.  I would have preferred the zealot angle to be more pronounced without the need for Trill to alienate his own people.  What shouldn’t be surprising is the tone used by the narrator of the story, the High Priest, yet it is.  Through his tone alone we get to see that Trill was understood, even if his convictions were misguided.

Venditti is doing a great job for Valiant; Eternal Warrior is back and a big hit and it good to see the veteran writer plan the past and not just the future.  Granted, the seeds of the past may yet bear an effect on the future but that will have to wait for another issue.  As a one-off, the story goes some way to proving that the greatest villains don’t see themselves as evil, they are trying to do the right thing as they see it.

Art is by Green Lantern artist, Francis Portela who seems to excel at drawing aliens.  Portela’s work here is solid, not fantastically dynamic, but with a more reserved less is more kind of approach.  As such, the book is easy on the eye, with nothing jarring or out-of-place.

I have to admit, I am a little surprised that Valiant had to resort to a zero issue.  The series is strong enough for Aric to take a back seat and this tale be incorporated into the main book.  I guess it’s easier to promote an “All New Zero Issue”, than a “Jumping on Point”.  Whatever the rationale, Venditti and Portela have put together a solid companion piece, that should appeal to long-term and newer fans.

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