“This means war!
The alien-armored warrior called X-O Manowar once commanded the most formidable army the alien world of Gorin had ever known. Now, his comrades have been forsaken, his crown has been commandeered, and his power has been rejected by the very subjects he once ruled. But he still has his sword…and a never-ending furnace of fury drawn from deep within…”
If you have been reading the solicitations, then you’ll know where Aric will be heading by the end of this issue. If you haven’t, then I’m not going to tell you here. This is only relevant because X-O Manowar caps off the series first year; a year in which we have seen some phenomenal story telling in the sequential arts. It hasn’t always been consistent, some have been merely really good as opposed to great, but without a doubt I have never felt as though I wasted my money in buying these issues (yes, I did read a review copy, but I still buy the individual comics in print).
The last issue saw Aric fully embracing the sacred armour of Shanhara as his world comes crashing down around him, There is, somewhat predictably, a series of fantastic action sequences with Aric and the armour working together in a harmony we haven’t seen this series. Ryan Bodenheim has a style that enables you to easily follow the more action heavy scenes with the speed that they’re happening within the story. You don’t need to do this, and upon absorbing the art after reading the story there will be visual queues that may have been missed the first time through. Bodenheim’s art is given a unique flavour by the colouring work of Andrew Dalhouse, and you’re often reminded that this isn’t Earth.
With X-O Manowar #13, Matt Kindt finally explains why Aric left Earth in some subtle yet powerful flashbacks. I won’t reveal the details of said flashbacks because the reason is a doozy and you need to experience it without it being spoiled online. Suffice to say that a lot of the loose end and questions are answered without anything being forced or unnaturally handed to you. As the series brings a close to the current multi-part story arc, Kindt leaves us with a very complete story that stands above the vast majority of other superhero comics being published today.
X-O Manowar is a space epic with a deeply personal story about a man finding himself, and, thankfully, the final issue is a nigh on perfect cap on a great first year. We’ve had thirteen issues, four story arcs and one amazing story. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Story: Matt Kindt Art: Ryan Bodenheim
Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy