Storyline: A+

Artwork: A

What happens when the King of Dacia is stripped of his title, his armour and his lineage? Aric and his people are prisoners, captured and incarcerated indefinitely in this issue of X-O Manowar.

Where we last left off Aric was stripped of his X-O Armour by Livewire, a woman able to communicate and control machinery. She now possesses the sentient suit and the M.E.R.O believes that Aric is nobody without Shanhara, but they are sorely mistaken and will soon find that out. This issue offers us flashbacks that show the reader that show us how a young Aric is indoctrinated to be a protector Dacia, his rich history shows us that his people is all that he has, that he and he only has the right to rule the Visigoth as king. Aric’s flashback shows us the Visigoth plight, a people whose land has always been annexed, first by the Hun, then the Romans then something other…something extra-terrestrial. Aric is a product of war, a child that was forced to grow up because of it. His mind may be a little misguided, but it is focused and the US Government might find that out the hard way.

Colonel Capshaw has been asked to interrogate Aric, who happens to be the most stubborn human in existence. As she attempts to reason and find out more it becomes apparent that like all the other motivational speakers of the past, Dacia’s king does not give two hoots about the words that are coming out their mouth. All things change in an instant, leaving the reader questioning what Shanhara is in the first place! Venditti startles the reader with an unexpected surprise in this one!

The art remains consistent in this one, it lives us to the greatness of the previous issues, flashbacks are presented in a complete contrast to the present story. The flashbacks make use of lighter colouring in order to create a feel of happiness even though the people of Dacia were under threat. In the present the colours become darker and more depressing letting you feel how Aric feels; trapped from the freedom of the open lands of Dacia. Cary Nord provides the reader with some excellent defined facial details that allow for great expressions. I know you are waiting on a comment about Ninjak. Well, even though he features on the cover art, he and both the armour do not feature in this issue, both are limited to cover art only.

This issue sets up some great drama and reminds the reader that comics are not about action scenes, instead they are used to tell stories. Venditti offers the reader some great story telling as he builds Aric up as being a powerful character that may seem down and out, but he has not given up in fact he will never give up hope as he and he only will rule his people, the Visigoth of Dacia.

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