Robert Venditti has spun a tale of a man out of time gifted with powers he could hardly understand and hunted by the beings that made it, enslaved him, and want the armor back and him dead. Worse yet his best friend thought dead now hangs in the grip of his enemy almost dead. It is a familiar situation seen over time in comics, Television, and movies. And it plays out much like you think it would, what makes this better is the connection the two main characters here have with one another. Well established from the series start that Aric and Gaft were always close and would do anything for each other.
It is a human moment in an otherwise amazing Sc-Fi adventure going on currently around them. But, of course that doesn’t stop Trill from being the bad guy that he is. The whole sequence leads up to show us that Aric may have been holding back how powerful he really is. The just full hatred he has hidden within him seeing his once thought dead friend almost end up that way again, Trevor Haisine seals that notion though his art and the anger and pain brought on by all of this on Aric.
We also get a better look that Aric is still the warrior he was when first introduced, he may have the X-O armor now and having pretty solid control over it. We are still shown that without it, he can at least hold his own using more of his wits than shoving a sword though whatever the problem may be. Helping heal his friend and then talking him down has Gaft dawns the armor was the main story that leads to a sad conclusion, but the set up to Planet Death making it us realize it isn’t Planet Earth that will be the place Planet Death take place on.
Which is something I am happy to see frankly, Earth invasions while fun, can feel played out here seems to be the reverse of the situation a human setting course to return to the alien world planet as the invader is a fresh take on the whole idea.
Looking forward as Planet Death we are left with a lot of different questions and some concerns, the first is how will the race respond to Aric coming in and will he turn the home world into the planet of death ever so hinted at? I know Aric will be looking for revenge but will he loose himself in it? All of these is why readers are coming back to this book.
X-O Manowar takes what should be considered cliché and boring and is able to make it fun and exciting, a test sometimes other comics fail to pass. Here we are getting a new level of sci-fi action as Planet Death approaches and looks to take our hero a journey to face off with the alien force that has changed his life so much. It is time to get on the bandwagon now of Valiant Flagship title, otherwise you will be sad you missing this series.
OVERALL: 9.0 out of 10
Bryan "BAC" Clendening is a comic book reviewer and sometimes video producer. Follow him on Twitter @BAClend