In possibly the best science fiction war comic of the year, Matt Kindt and Tomas Giorello have delivered a breakneck and beautiful action fest showcasing war at its worst. They’ve also taken the hero that lives in the X-O Manowar suit and broken him down so we can see he’s a warrior at heart and ultimately why the suit chose him.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tomas Giorello, David Mack and Zu Orzu
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
Across every frontline, and through every trench, Aric of Dacia continues his hostile journey through a brutal alien planet the only way he knows how: with war. But the man once known as X-O Manowar is not alone. With a dedicated band of soldiers sworn to his side, Aric will prove his worth on the battlefield… and find himself in a position that no one saw coming!
Why does this book matter?
Besides this being a fast paced action/war drama, it’s also tied to an alien world we’re only now discovering. This issue opens with a beautiful 4 page intro revealing how the king and its people live drawn by David Mack and Zu Orzu.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Eh, he didn’t need that head anyway.
The intro by David Mack and Zu Orzu is a solid and pretty explanation of how the culture being attacked works; drawn as if Mack and Orzu cut out paper and overlaid it on top of paintings, it has a shadow box look that’s dramatic and beautiful. This style helps juxtapose against the dark and scary things the king does to his people. It also sets the reader up so that when Aric confronts the king later in the issue you already despise the jerk.
This issue has a good bookend style from there, as Aric changes the mission as needed only to discover his superior doesn’t care and decides to bomb the city with Aric and his men in it. Aric being the badass that he is continues on his mission and this pays off later. Aric is the uber hero in this series and it shows. Even though the Manowar suit is reduced to a ring on his finger he’s still kicking ass and taking names. Kindt is clearly showing the man is a natural born hero and the suit is just frosting on the cake.
Giorello draws another fantastic issue with a focus on ships and technology. The missiles being shot at Aric even have interesting detail and the ships Aric and his men fly on have cool techno-underbodies that are quite cool. For a guy so good at capturing the detail in cold metal, Giorello draws magnificent faces. The characters all look varied and different and their emotions are easy to read.
No reason to be scared dude, Aric is the main character he can’t die!
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a slow moving series, which is a bit surprising considering how fast paced and action packed it is. That’s in part because each issue is a portion of Aric’s mission without much character work or development of the bigger picture. This issue delivers more than the previous due to Mack and Orzu’s backstory, but still, it’s hard to ignore the fact this is a mostly action affair with touches of character here and there.
Is It Good?
Another action packed issue that does well to flesh out the target to eventually release Aric from his war bond. Come for Aric’s bad-ass battling and stay for David Mack and Zu Orzu’s beautiful work.