Synopsis: Aric has proven himself to be not just some grunt but a hardened soldier. However, distinguishing himself as a survivor has put Aric in a leadership role once again. Reluctantly, he must lead a team, on yet another suicide mission, so Aric can return to his partner Schon. This is easier said than done, and the captain has bigger plans for Aric and his men. And though this fight may be perilous, it may pale in comparison to the inner struggle between Aric and Shanhara continues to weigh heavily on the Manowar.
Review: X-O Manowar #2 is akin to a cinematic experience. The opening pages are absolutely stunning. Seeing Aric wrestling with the dilemma of using the armor’s strength instantly envelops the reader in the story. The landscape alone makes my soul weep in ecstasy. The playing with space is done masterfully. There is a vastness between Aric and the armor that is mirrored between the celestial bodies and the planet. It is a great way to frame the distance that has come between Aric and the technology he has relied so heavily upon for all this time. Taking it a step further, it highlights how far Aric is from his former self. He is not longer the haughty prince who would jump head first into battle.
Throughout issue #2, we see Aric begrudgingly defeat task after task. There are moments where the use of the armor would be warranted, but Aric chooses to rely on his innate abilities. It is only when death is imminent, does Aric actually employs the armor, but even these moments are subdued. All of this generates an undeniable authenticity to the story as a whole. Something has caused a rift, and although we do not know what it is, the reader believes that Aric’s decision has real credibility. Also, I’m not sure if the reason behind this split is that vital to the narrative. The story is so rich and detailed as it is; would it really add to the tale?
X-O brings a lot to the table. I feel as if the creative team are terraforming this series into something gloriously different from what the previous series was. A series that I thoroughly enjoyed for the record, yet X-O is something else now. I’m not sure where this series will take us, but I will be there every step of the way.