X-O Manowar #3
Who would win in a fight: X-O Manowar or a cybernetic tech monster formed out of lava?
In order to prevent catastrophe, will Aric hand over the X-O armor to a new ally?
In X-O Manowar #2 we learned the distinct difference between what separates X-O from not just the rest of the Valiant Universe but also from other superheroes in general. It isn’t just some guy in a strong suit, it’s about the dynamics between both Aric of Dacia and the suit Shanhara. Well in X-O Manowar #3 we learn all about what can happen when that dynamic reaches a turning point, for both good or bad, and the impact it can have.
There is a major turning point in X-O Manowar #3 that undoubtedly has fans everywhere talking about what this could mean for the future of the character. Before we get to that, however, this issue does more than just bring an exciting twist in the narrative. It’s an action-packed spectacle that shows X-O Manowar in action in a way that this particular series has developed a keen understanding for. It’s explosive (sometimes literally) and does an excellent job of showing X-O being a superhero achieving what at first may seem impossible. This time it’s against the forces of nature and Aric finds himself more than capable of actually shifting the flow of lava while also gaining some much needed positive attention in the process.
The success of the early pages are a major credit to the artwork in X-O Manowar #3. Emilio Laiso understands pacing and layouts for large scale action scenes and the character expressions bring everything to life in an enjoyable way. Ruth Redmond might be delivering some of the best comics at Valiant today with their work on this series and issue #3 is no different. It’s vivid and emphasizes impressive detail that helps the series to feel like a real flagship.
It isn’t just some typical beat-em-up superhero comic though. This issue brings in an exciting new element that superhero fans are surely familiar with but never gets old…a new costume! That’s right, the Shanhara armor gets something of an upgrade that is filled with not just exciting levels of power but plenty of questions as well. While Aric seems to enjoy the new power initially, the new costume comes from Troy Whitaker who says he has rewritten Shanhara’s DNA to allow Aric access to the full power core. With bright red accents now all over the suit, it certainly packs a visual punch on the page. This is made even more noticeable by the impactful letters from Otsmane-Elhaou who shows why they are among the best letterers working today with bold decisions that add to the story without detracting. The question still remains though, what exactly is the full extent of the rewritten DNA and what do we not know about what was done?
Before there is enough time to really dive into the implications of what Troy has done, what seems to be a war is breaking out in the Harlem neighborhood that pulls Aric away. Now three issues into the series, we can safely say that it seems determined to not slow down at all. If you were thrown off by the basketball sequences or Aric’s time with a family unit, it’s OK because there are much bigger things at work in the series that each issue is much more focused on. So far, it’s a series that both understands the demands of the title while also feeling free to do something fresh that we haven’t seen before and X-O Manowar #3 is a wonderful example of what this freedom can help deliver.
If you have been slightly unsure about this new direction for X-O Manowar, I believe issue #3 is the one to get you hooked for the long haul. This is a series that seems to just be getting better with each new issue rather than fizzling out after a strong start, and I am so excited to see what comes next after this thrilling turning point for Aric and Shanhara that hints at a much deeper examination of their relationship.
X-O Manowar #3 sets the stage for a more insightful examination of Aric and Shanhara's relationship while delivering a thrilling twist, proving the series is only getting better with each new issue! If you have been slightly unsure about this new direction for X-O Manowar, issue #3 is the one to get you hooked for the long haul.
X-O Manowar #3: FEELS GOOD
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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