Valiant has sold this as a new arc, though based on the last issue I’m not so sure. Aric is still on the hunt to nab and maybe even kill the leader he’s been after for ages, but can he trust the folks giving him his orders?
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
In the fires of victory, a soldier becomes…a general. With the hostile Cadmium army crushed beneath his force’s boots, Aric of Dacia now commands an entire fleet into the final battle for the soul of an empire. But as a new dawn rises across this unrelenting alien world, what vicious new menace will come forth to greet it?
Why does this book matter?
Matt Kindt has made this story about character–as he’s wont to do with most of his series–which has made Aric all the more interesting. He’s sworn off using the X-O Manowar suit and is left to his instincts to survive. This issue carries that well told story forward with Doug Braithwaite on art.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Well that guy is going to have stomach issues.
After reading this issue it’s very clear the tone has changed. Aric is no longer in the s--t so to speak–he’s now attempting to follow orders, but also do what’s right on his own. Kindt does a good job establishing a new relationship between Aric and a fellow leader so as to command respect and build a bond. This will clearly be explored further as Aric gets some major double cross actions from the guy who is giving him orders. There’s certainly a shift from raged soldier doing what he must to being a leader of men who have no one else to turn to in this issue. That gives Aric further resolve to build his heroic journey and do what he must.
The X-O suit continues to be a facet of this series–maybe moreso here–and it plays a major part in the cliffhanger. It’s nice to see this development as it has been teased Aric refuses the suit but ultimately he needs it. Kindt is clearly building towards something even greater for Aric and there are some major heroic vibes in this issue.
Doug Braithwaite draws a solid issue that continues a painterly quality that’ll have fans enwrapped in the epic nature of the story. There’s certainly a Hoth vibe when the action scenes kick in as Aric must attack long legged robotic machines in the snow. Hell, Aric even sports an energy staff that’s not too off from a lightsaber at one point. Braithwaite draws this all clearly and with great pace that should have fan sat the edge of their seat throughout.
Is that an AT-AT?!
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you’ve read this far you’re well aware Aric probably shouldn’t trust his commander and yet he still does. That makes Aric come off as slightly naive and dense which doesn’t help his heroic journey much. The shift in story is certainly felt, but there seems to be some biding of time to get that going as the narrative feels a bit jumbled and crossover some themes we’ve already seen before. The direction is right, but it’s not doing it fast enough.
Is It Good?
A good issue that directs things in a new direction well. Though it repeats itself in too many ways to flow perfectly, it’s still an entertaining journey as Aric realizes his destiny.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!