Valiant Entertainment 2020
Written by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum
Illustrated by Emilio Laiso
Coloured by Ruth Redmond
Lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Torn from the past and bonded with a living alien armour, will X-O Manowar become the hero the world needs? As a futuristic force arises to destroy the planet, only this ancient warrior king has the courage to stand against impossible odds!
I think that this is the way this book should be addressed. After all Aric is from a time and place far removed from now and his skills, knowledge and way of life is so different than ours is now that it's only natural he feel like a man out of time. No more Visigoth's trying to take land to create their nation again, no being in the grip of a government organisation or hounded by the other in this super-hero community. Just he and Shanhara trying to make it in this world together and making a ton of mistakes along way because Aric just doesn't understand how to get by in today's world.
I loved the series when he was in space and on a planet he knew nothing about but learned about how things were there as he went. This is the same principle but it's set here on earth and with what folks in this day and age of building you up then pulling you down for no discernable reason is something that it already looks like Dennis is going to tackle. The story & plot development that we see here through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is being presented beautifully. The character development is amazing as is the character introductions as they just happen to be of a populace that most of the city would rather forget. Though never underestimate the power of the little people for their numbers are huge. The pacing here is sensational and the way it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way helps to create the books overall ebb & flow.
I also like seeing how the media is portraying Aric as well. By now we all know that there is no longer unbiased reporting and it's the most sensational headlines that will catch the reader or viewers eye. So thus the age in which we live is highlighted even further by seeing the accuracy with which the media covers him.
The interiors here are mindbogglingly well rendered. The linework that we see with how the varying weights are being utilised to bring out this attention to detail is sublime work. It isn't just the linework that brings out the detail as Ruth shows with her colouring here as well just the opening page alone where she lines his musculature in the arms and chest and such make for such a powerful impact upon what we see. The way that backgrounds are utilised and how they work within the panels bring us this superb depth perception as well as this great sense of scale and the overall size and scope to the book. I touched upon the colours earlier but honestly what we see is stunning. The way that we see the myriad of hues and tones within the colours and how they are utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is gorgeous. There is a real expertise in how the colours go beyond what we expect to see and how the full scope of what colours are created is truly astounding.
The lettering we see is amazing as well. Hassan doesn't get as much credit as he deserves as he can showcase the foreign, see alien, language, the differences in Shanhara and Aric not to mention the humans. It is essential to how we see the story itself unfold. Once again Valiant showcases why it is among the best company when it comes to revitalising and maintaining these iconic characters time and time again. This has me excited for Aric and his new adventures that have yet to be chronicled.