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Review: X-O Manowar #9

X-O Manowar #9

A city overrun by an unstoppable threat. A clash between titans. And a diabolical plan revealed.

The epic conclusion of Dennis Hopeless and Emilio Laiso’s X-O Manowar run cannot be missed!

I’ve made no secret that I’ve felt this series has had it’s ups and downs. Nothing like a rollercoaster ride, mind, because when the series has been good it’s been very good, and when it hasn’t been good it’s still far from bad. A good part of the series being as consistent as it has been lies with the artwork of Emilio Laiso and colourist Ruth Redmond; the pair haven’t had a misstep in nine issues more often than not being the high point of each issue for me.

The concluding part in the nine issue run that Hopeless has had on X-O Manowar #9 does end on a high note. Hopeless really brought Aric of Dacia’s costume/suit/armour Shanhara into her own as a character, emphasizing that X-O Manowar is an active partnership between Shanhara and Aric by delving deeper into their relationship and underscoring what Hopeless has been hinting at for the past nine issues; Aric and Shanhara may be very capable alone, but together they’re one of the most powerful heroes in the Valiant universe.

There’s an interesting use of colour in the comic, with green being featured heavily as a background and also as the primary colour of the Singularity. For me it serves as a subtle way to give a technology based threat a natural (read organic) undertones – the shades of green used aren’t the bright neon like colours often associated with technology, but rather colours you’d see in nature (or used to colour nature in comics), subverting what you know about the Singularity. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that the two primary colours of the X-O Manowar armour are blue and (almost) yellow, too.

X-O Manowar #9 is a satisfying end cap to the current creative team’s run. At the end of the day, you can say that Hopeless and Laiso’s run with X-O Manowar took the character to places that we haven’t seen him in before. They re-grounded Aric and established a life for him outside of the military life he’d led. Personally, I think it was a great direction for the character, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it explored a little more in the future.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

Preview: X-O Manowar #9

X-O MANOWAR #9

Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art by EMILIO LAISO
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by MICHAEL CHO
Pre-order Cover by TYLER KIRKHAM & ARIF PRIANTO
On sale DECEMBER 15th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

A city overrun by an unstoppable threat. A clash between titans. And a diabolical plan revealed.

The epic conclusion of Dennis Hopeless and Emilio Laiso’s X-O MANOWAR run cannot be missed!

X-O MANOWAR #9

Preview: X-O Manowar #8

X-O MANOWAR #8

Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art by EMILIO LAISO AND JIM TOWE
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by CHRISTIAN DUCE
Pre-order Cover by DAVE JOHNSON

On sale NOVEMBER 17th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The truth about X-O Manowar’s armor revealed. A devastating plan unfolds. And the evil mastermind behind it all gets a cosmic upgrade.

The penultimate chapter of Dennis Hopeless and Emilio Laiso’s epic run brings big changes to the Big Apple…

X-O MANOWAR #8

Review: X-O Manowar #7

X-O Manowar #7

A bond destroyed. Power wielded recklessly. A deadly force on the attack. X-O Manowar’s world will be shattered in X-O Manowar #7.

The good news about X-O Manowar #7 is that there’s still a lot of content packed between its covers. No, it’s not an extended issue, but Dennis Hopeless is able to really fill those pages without giving Emilio Laiso too much to bring to life. Visually at least, this has been a very consistent series with the art more often than not being the high point of each issue for me.

Where the series has faltered has often been the quality of the writing, because at times it feels as though Hopeless is cramming a little too much story into the comic. Normally this wouldn’t be a thing I’d be complaining about but this issue there seemed to be a little too much hinting toward the reveal that isn’t exactly going to be a surprise for any who have been reading the series thus far; it’s more a confirmation at this point.

Ultimately there’s a lot of good ideas in this series, and despite some less than ideal execution X-O Manowar #7 is still enjoyable; but as the series progresses I’m seeing fewer flashes of the brilliance that we had in the first issue or two (I am aware of the fact that my dislike for a certain character may be influencing my view of the comic as a whole, because the parts I am enjoying don’t involve Troy at all – the jury is out on that because if that’s the case then Hopeless is writing a much better comic than I’m giving him credit for).

I’m keeping an open mind with the series, and I will be reading this book for a third time to see if I can settle the jury, because even with my reservations there’s a lot of things I’m enjoying about the book. Hopefully next issue I’ll find just a little more to love.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 7.4 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – TFAW

Preview: X-O Manowar #7

X-O MANOWAR #7

Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art by EMILIO LAISO
Inks by RAFFAELE FORTE
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by DEXTER SOY
Pre-order Cover by CHRIS JOHNSON
On sale OCTOBER 20th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Part 3 of “Upgrade the World!”

A bond destroyed. Power wielded recklessly. A deadly force on the attack.

X-O Manowar’s world will be shattered.

X-O MANOWAR #7

Preview: X-O Manowar #7

X-O MANOWAR #7

Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art by EMILIO LAISO
Inks by RAFFAELE FORTE
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by DEXTER SOY
Pre-order Cover by CHRIS JOHNSON
On sale OCTOBER 20th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Part 3 of “Upgrade the World!”

A bond destroyed. Power wielded recklessly. A deadly force on the attack.

X-O Manowar’s world will be shattered.

X-O MANOWAR #7

Preview: X-O Manowar #7

X-O MANOWAR #7

Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art by EMILIO LAISO
Inks by RAFFAELE FORTE
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by DEXTER SOY
Pre-order Cover by CHRIS JOHNSON
On sale OCTOBER 20th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Part 3 of “Upgrade the World!”

A bond destroyed. Power wielded recklessly. A deadly force on the attack.

X-O Manowar’s world will be shattered.

X-O MANOWAR #7

Review: X-O Manowar #6

X-O Manowar #6

X-O Manowar has saved the planet from hostile forces countless times before, but the new threat that looms in front of him in X-O Manowar #6 is unlike anything he has faced before. And with his sentient alien armor glitching, X-O’s situation is about to get much worse…

There’s a couple of things in this series that have been fairly consistent for the last couple of issues, and I’ll talk about each of them in turn; the amount of content in the comic, the quality of the art, and the ups and downs of the quality. The last point sounds confusing, so I’ll touch on that first, because how can a comic’s quality be consistent while it’s having ups and downs? Because ultimately the comic is having cyclical moments of quality every other issue; X-O Manowar #6 isn’t as solid as the previous in terms of story quality as the issue seems to tread water around what is a really interesting idea. While the core concept of the ongoing story is of Aric being groomed into a fully fledged superhero by a billionaire tech mogul (who is clearly more than he seems) is really strong, the book loses a bit of the va va voom in the presentation of that idea over the course of the comic.

Ironically it’s the amount of story packed into the comic that almost plays against it, but there’s enough fun moments in the comic to keep you engaged.

When it comes to the third constant, once again I’m going to borrow from the review of the previous book, and say that; “Emilio Laiso‘s art combined with Ruth Redmond‘s colouring is once again a high point in the comic, and they’ve plenty to sink their teeth into here; that Laiso can keep up with Hopeless’ story is impressive as the artist never once seems overwhelmed as the action flows with a smooth grace. The final panel in the book is breathtaking in its simplicity, and yet Laiso and Redmond deliver upon all the emotion you’re feeling and splash it down on the page (no spoilers here, because you need to get the full impact).”

What can I say, I’m environmentally friendly and like to recycle.

Ultimately, despite the hiccup/s in the book, X-O Manowar #6 is still a solid read. It’s not going to be a definitive X-O Manowar story that will be recommended above all others (at least from what I can tell so far), but it’s a story that I’m enjoying nonetheless. I’m still hopeful that the comic will reach new highs, just as I’m hoping that the tech billionaire will soon be a memory – that I’ve got a genuine dislike of the character is a testament to the writing; because when Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum is good, he’s really good.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 7.6 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Preview: X-O Manowar #6

X-O MANOWAR #6

Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Art by EMILIO LAISO
Inks by RAFFAELE FORTE
Colors by RUTH REDMOND
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by CHRIS JOHNSON
Pre-order Cover by JEFF DEKAL
On sale SEPTEMBER 22nd | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Part 2 of “Upgrade the World!”

X-O Manowar has saved the planet from hostile forces countless times before, but the new threat that looms in front of him is unlike anything he has faced before. And with his sentient alien armor glitching, X-O’s situation is about to get much worse…

X-O MANOWAR #6

Review: X-O Manowar #5

X-O Manowar #5

When we last saw X-O Manowar, he was sinking to the bottom of the ocean after a technological nanite monster thing hacked and shut down Shanhara (I’ll be honest, because of the gap in issues, the exact nature of the beast escapes me, but that’s the gist of what it was at the least).

There have been some ups and downs with the series so far, though the last issue of X-O Manowar started edging more toward the quality of the first couple issues; X-O Manowar #5 stays on the trajectory for the most part. The issue sees the resolution of the prior cliffhanger, and then takes things a little slower as we get some background on Troy that fleshes him out a little beyond the Tony Stark clone that he initially came off as.

One of the consistent strengths of X-O Manowar is just how much story that writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum has beed able to cram into each issue of the comic. Even with the ups and downs of the series, that’s been a solid constant. There are three main parts to this comic, and it benefits from not having either of those stretch on farther than is necessary as Hallum balances the narrative within the comic.

I’m going to borrow from the review of the previous book, and say that; “Emilio Laiso‘s art combined with Ruth Redmond‘s colouring is once again a high point in the comic, and they’ve plenty to sink their teeth into here; that Laiso can keep up with Hopeless’ story is impressive as the artist never once seems overwhelmed as the action flows with a smooth grace. The final panel in the book is breathtaking in its simplicity, and yet Laiso and Redmond deliver upon all the emotion you’re feeling and splash it down on the page (no spoilers here, because you need to get the full impact).”

The wait for X-O Manowar #5 was longer than I’d have liked, but nonetheless the comic continues to deliver a solid story. It’s not top tier just yet, but the creative team has shown flashes of that level of quality so I’m still hopeful that we’ll see the comic return to the heights the character is known for.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 7.9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

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