After an eight-month hiatus due to the pandemic, X-O Manowar is back this week and hopefully here to stay. Dennis Hopeless and Emilio Laiso bring return to everyone’s favorite hero from an ancient time with the most powerful suit in the universe. In issue #2, a new threat emerges and they’re backed by a lot of money. Check out the AIPT Comics podcast interview with Hopeless to learn more about this series and what Hopeless has been up to over the last year.
Hopeless and Laiso have effectively introduced X-O Manowar as a hero for the people last issue, but in this second issue maybe that’s not such good thing. We’ve already seen X-O Manowar leave a scene that left people in a traffic jam, so it’s quite clear he isn’t thinking big picture. This issue introduces that times ten as X-O Manowar learns you can’t stop a civil war with muscle and hope for change. It seems Hopeless is taking the punching hero up a notch but it’s going to take some lessons for X-O Manowar to figure that out.
As the story progresses, X-O Manowar and his suit A.I. Shanhara have a good rapport. It allows a conversation to take place during the action. Its futuristic intelligence is fully displayed in a fun scene with Aric and his new family. Shanhara is effective in supplying quick expository detail or a bit of humor that plays off Aric’s matter of fact personality.
For the most part, this book is quite serious and Laiso does well to capture the gritty nature of war scenes. Explosions look great thanks to colors by Ruth Redmond. The visor and suit look good and the action moves along at a good kinetic pace.
The developments in this story are quite interesting and worth sticking around for, but it takes a while to get to its finish. It opens with a somewhat vapid robot battle which leads to a key scene with the rich benefactor mentioned earlier. From there, Aric tests his stubbornness and eventually reaches the conclusion we saw from his conversation. Due to said stubbornness, the book feels like it could have been snipped here or there to get to its conclusion sooner and progressed faster. It’s setting the stage, but in a way that could have packed more punch.
The latest take on X-O Manowar continues to offer a different kind of superhero story. Its hero and handy A.I. compatriot have a unique dynamic and this second issue offers up more realistic interpretation superheroes should take when wanting to save the day. That said, it takes a while to get to its ending, which is felt even more strongly coming off the delay from the first issue.
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