Review: X-O Manowar #2


Harvey Award-winning writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and breakout star Emilio Laiso unleash Valiant’s most powerful protector! Torn from the past and bonded with a living alien armor, will X-O Manowar become the hero the world needs now? As a futuristic force arises to destroy the planet, only this ancient warrior king has the courage to stand against impossible odds!

This is an updated version of a review for X-O Manowar #2. The original review copy was largely black and white as the colouring hadn’t been finalized. As such, the text is largely unchanged aside from the specifically noted UPDATE section below.

I recall reading this comic the first time around about three months back; it was a super early version designed to give folks an early preview at what’s coming up for the series. I enjoyed the book when I first read it, but after everything that’s happened in the world since first reading the book, I realized that there was more to X-O Manowar #2 than I first noticed – or maybe I’m looking at the comic with a different perspective. A lot has happened in the last three months, so it’s not surprising that a piece of art resonates with me in a different way.

Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum continues his polarizing depiction of Aric as he lives within a larger city with a single mother and her teenage son. Seeing the former king and emperor in this role hasn’t been popular with some readers, but personally I’m really enjoying seeing Aric trying to find a new way to fit into the modern world now that he’s lost everything but Shanhara. We’re seeing Aric adjust to being a modern man (sort of) in a totally unfamiliar world, and Hallum is using the fish out of water to let some humor into the comic. Not at Aric’s expense, but rather more along the lines of how the jokes are made in the first Thor movie.

The story in this issue is about how X-O Manowar, for all his power and access to knowledge from across human history, is still relatively unaware how to present himself in today’s world as the media falls out of love with him and he struggles to understand the complexity of certain situations. It’s an interesting angle to take with the character, and one I hope Hallum continues to explore as the series progresses.

I’m still all in for this comic, and I can’t wait to see how it improves when the finished product arrives. Although the book doesn’t have any color in it, Emilio Laiso‘s art still brings a wonderful quality to the proceedings. If the art is as good as the last issue, then I can’t wait to reread and update this again.

UPDATE: Well shit, what a difference a finished product makes. X-O Manowar #2 has the unenviable task of catching the attention of people after a long gap between issues who may or may not have read the first issue (And who may not really recall what happened in that issue). I’m honestly impressed that Valiant didn’t slap a big fat number one on the cover to draw attention to the young series.

Now there’s no doubt I enjoyed the story the last time through, and still do, but there’s something about Ruth Redmond‘s vibrant colouring work that makes the entire story pop. I love black and white comics, but there’s a difference between comics with art that should be black and white, and art that is yet to be coloured – and the swooping skies as Aric chases a robot across the water are understated and simplistic in design, but that simplicity conveys a sense of speed that’s underscored by the banter between Aric and Shanhara.

Redmond’s colours that elevate Laiso’s art into a level of fun that I didn’t realize I needed after a rough couple of days technology wise for myself. Ultimately, that’s why I love comics – their ability to take you away from reality (if only briefly). I enjoyed this book a lot when I first read this comic months ago, but the finished product is just so much better than I had expected it to be.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.2 Art: 9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology