Valiant Entertainment 2020
Written by Dennis “Hapless” Callum
Illustrated by Emilio Laiso
Coloured by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
A new threat emerges from the fires of X-O’s latest battle! Can X-O save the day, or does the world need a new kind of hero?
One of the things that I really love about Aric is the fact that is a Visigoth and he’s spent so many countless years in space and on Earth having this unique opportunity to really learn about himself and his limitations. Oh wait no not really because for all his intentions and striving to be a hero he second guesses himself at every turn as he sill processes to not understand what life is like in the modern world. Well I know Dennis and I know his writing so I am going to be super patient and see where this goes because from what I can see the Valiant Universe seems to have itself a version of the Funky Flashman! So I am beyond excited to see where this is going to go next.
The way that this is being told is really rather amazing. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. I like how Aric is staying with this family and how the police constantly harass him and yet how he can go from completely in control to feeling like he’s messing everything up left and right. The character development that we see really is extraordinary and to see the personalities of so many different folks and the night/day difference in Aric is just mindbogglingly good. I love a good misdirection so when the camera panned and we met Troy Whitaker I was honestly expecting a woman. The pacing here is superb and as it takes us through the pages and reveals the twists & turns along the way it creates this really nice balance between story and action.
Seeing how this is being structured and how the layers within the story keep growing it is really nice to see just how interconnected everything really is. To see how everything works together and how it creates the story’s ebb & flow is sensational. This is the Dennis I know and enjoy reading stories from and he’s here in full force for this.
The interiors here really are gorgeous! The linework is strong and confident and how we see the varying weights being utilised to create the detail work is amazing. I will that considering he’s wearing a smoking jacket and is holding cosmo, I think he should’ve been wearing a bikini like they do in Europe or at least the box cut trunks. I do wish we’d see more backgrounds being utilised here because I see a lot of wasted space that could enhance the moments. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a talented eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is sensational. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a super eye for colour. How we see the different techniques utilised to lay it down is really nice to see as well.
Aric wasn’t really on my radar until Valiant relaunched and width each outing I find him more and more fascinating as a man and a hero. Doesn’t hurt that he looks like a big ole daddy either, though I could do without the ponytail lol. I am looking forward to seeing where Dennis is going to take this story and this character during his time captaining the ship here. This is why Valiant continues to thrive because of creators like these.