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Review: X-O Manowar #9

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“With his throne attained and his enemies defeated, Aric of Dacia is not only the undisputed emperor of the war-shattered world of Gorin… He is one of the most feared warlords in the known galaxy! But as this former hero of Earth grows more confident with each brutal campaign, he’ll soon discover that his greatest enemy is…himself. Can Aric and the ultra-powerful X-O Manowar armor that he wields peacefully sustain such unyielding amounts of power…or will the thirst for war inside him consume everything he’s fought for?”

Aright, let’s talk about this comic. Or rather, why don’t I talk about it and because you’re (hopefully) curious, why don’t you keep reading?  Yeah, look I clearly blew my intro. I’m sorry. I was a mite distracted by how fucking gorgeous the opening double page spread is, but it’s okay now. I’m good. I promise.

Okay, I’m not. Why don’t you just spend a minute ogling this with me? Seriously, look at it below!

Imagine this is print. It’s going to be so awesome. But now my eyes are back in my skull and my jaw is no longer on the floor, it’s time to get into the review proper.

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X-O Manowar #9 finds Aric as the defacto emperor of a planet in the far reaches of the galaxy after having recently overthrown the former ruler, but in a rather interesting move Matt Kindt focuses the story less on the title character and more on the results of his actions over the past eight issues as told by those affected. It’s a point of view you seldom see in comics, the fallout of the big victory, and Kindt shines a light on the struggles faced by the three factions impacted. Just because the war is won, doesn’t mean the struggle to survive is over.

Clayton Crain (with special thanks to Khari Evans) delivers a comic  that is nothing short of jaw droppingly beautiful (but you already knew my thoughts on the art). The pages are darkly atmospheric, giving you as much a sense of the planet’s situation as Kindt’s words do – and much faster if you’re paying attention to the art as a story telling device.

Ultimately, while X-O Manowar #9 is a powerful look at the effects war has on people, cultures, and their way of life, this issue is a bridge from the previous three arcs (Soldier, General and Emperor) to the upcoming Bounty Hunters. And while one could say that Lemire could have made that bridge with a paragraph (hell, even a sentence) in the first few pages of that arc, had he done so we would have missed out on an incredibly dark comic that deserves to be read by anybody who visits a comic shop (or digital storefront) this Wednesday.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Clayton Crain with special thanks to Khari Evans
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review, but I’ll be buying this Wednesday anyway.

General DC