Valiant Entertainment 2020
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Pencilled by Emilio Laiso
Inked by Raffaele Forte
Coloured by Ruth Redmond
Lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
X-O Manowar has saved the planet from hostile forces countless times before, but the new threat that looms in front of him is unlike anything he has faced before. And with his sentient alien armor glitching, X-O’s situation is about to get much worse…
The rotten state of Denmark just keeps getting worse and worse and more obvious. It is almost so incredibly frustrating when you know someone is up to no good but can’t do anything about it. Troy is not whom he appears to be and he’s not really helping Shanhara as much as he’s helping himself to the armour as he uses his limited technology to fundamentally remove her personality from the suit and supplants one of his making. Now don’t quote me on any of this because honestly I haven’t got the first clue if this is really what is happening here but it is the way I see this being presented, my interpretation. Shanhara never needed Troy to heal before and honestly I feel like all the meddling is going to come to a head soon and I cannot wait for the fallout because it’s going to be epic.
I am very much enjoying the way that this is being told. 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. The character development that we see through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter really brings personalities to the forefront. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story the more I really love seeing the way all this unfolds.
I am thoroughly enjoying the way that this is being structured and how we see the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. The layers within the story open up these fantastic avenues some of which will be explored and others that won’t be but they all add this sensational depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is amazingly well achieved.
The interiors here are utterly fantastic. The linework is sublime and the inks on top of it look sharp, clean and crisp. How we see all this create the detail within the work is fabulous! I like how we see the backgrounds being utilised to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The creativity and imagination that we see throughout the book is exceptional. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a remarkable eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show a great understanding for how colour works and how to maximise its effects.
If you haven’t been able to tell I’m thoroughly invested and engaged in this series and I will go through how this story has me feeling, how it has affected my thought process and my wild theories on what is really going on here. This is as much a thinking person's book as it is one heck of a great action/adventure series and it’s what makes it such a stellar read. The writing is stupendous and the characterisation is astonishingly well rendered and then there are these mindbogglingly brilliant interiors and it brings Aric and his world to life exceptionally well.