Synopsis: Aric of Urth has achieved the impossible. He has overthrown the Azure emperor. The cruel hand of the Machiavellian dictator has been cut off, yet peace has not fallen across planet Gorin. Actually, things are more violent than they have ever been. Now, the power vacuum that Aric created has left the planet in absolute chaos. Every faction has taken up arms against each other, old grievances are enacted upon, the slave force have broken their chains, and people have begun to starve as a result. The difficult part was never taking over; it was keeping order.
Review: Issue #9 is a home run. Why? The first 8 issues of X-O had Aric facing unbeatable odds to survive. This then shifted to him fighting to overthrow the harsh Azure emperor. We know Aric has ruled before, but those were his people. Now, Aric has upset the balance, and we see how deep the issues and resentment of the planet’s inhabitants go. It was foolish for Aric not to see this coming, and it was foolish of me not to see it either. In the exchanges between Aric and his compatriots, we see that although they owe him their lives, there is much that he cannot comprehend because he only superficially knows this world.
The name of the game when it comes to the art of X-O #9 is carnage. There is so much chaos and bloodshed. Seeing it without our hero, gives the reader a sharp focus. In the pages before Aric shows up, there are no brilliant flashes of energy whips or swords. What we see is brutality, generations of resentment, and the unmitigated rage of people marred by war. It is impactful.
This is a series that has always been an entertaining one. What comic book fan who loves fantasy and sci-fi wouldn’t love Spartacus in space? The thing that separates the series from the standard pulp of a bygone era is the meticulous care that has been placed into the story. There are consequences to actions, and it makes decisions meaningful. It is what makes this series great.