The last adventure of X-O Manowar saw him involved in a grudge match with some European General who ended up sneaking his army into Brooklyn in a lame attempt to harm the family that befriended X-O. He easily defeated them and then when he was hanging out with his billionaire friend on his yacht, was attacked by a nanite swarm and left sinking in the ocean. Honestly, it wasn’t the greatest tale that could be told of Valiant’s flagship character.
X-O Manowar #5 starts with our titular character sinking in the ocean, unable to communicate with Shanhara, the living armor that X-O Manowar wears. The nanite swarm continues to attack and X-O finds a sunken vessel to explode, helping him rise to the surface. Once free of the threat, we get a lot of talk about what is possibly causing the threat, which it now seems to be focused solely at Shanhara. If that wasn’t enough, we now see Shanhara personified in a minecraft-like world where faceless enemies assault her.
There’s good and there’s bad about X-O Manowar #5. First, seeing some sort of reason for the nanite attacks reveal itself is nice at this point in the story. And while the billionaire buddy of X-O comes off as a bit annoying, he’s able to deduct and problem solve in a way that really works within the story. Sadly, the entire issue feels like X-O is just some clueless dolt. Then there’s the end of this book, where Shanhara more-or-less looks like Valiant heroine Livewire, who has worn the armor before, being attacked by Minecraft creepers, further cementing the idea that her mindset is now that of a child, continues to come off as unimaginative for a character that is more advanced than anything on earth and has existed for a thousand years.
The art continues to look great when there’s action. The opening part of the story really makes what Emilio Laiso and Raffaele Forte and Ruth Redmond do on art look superb. I think he really knocks the action sequences out of the part. WIth an issue like this, there’s enough of that. I really thought the colors popped on the opening sequence. Throughout the issue, I could see that Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters look thorough. I thought all the covers for this issue look fantastic and as a Valiant collector, I can’t wait to get copies of this issue for my collection.
While I’m glad that the publishing pause with X-O Manowar is done, I’m still left feeling a bit unimpressed with the title. The visuals are there but the story isn’t quite working for me. With recent Valiant titles like Shadowman and Ninjak being as good as they are, X-O Manowar comes off as the weak sibling in the family.
Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Emilio Laiso
Ink: Raffaele Forte Color: Ruth Redmond Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW