Dacian versus Romans part future

Publisher: Valiant
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Artist: Liam Sharp & Letterer: Troy Peteri

Previously on X-O Manowar Aric was in trouble as space Romans began their assault as they are determined to steal the X-O armour. Shanhara is low on power and can’t assist Aric as she normally would. So you can probably figure out where this leads. If you were thinking that Aric was going too end up being captured then yes, you are correct. This of course means that we get more insight into said space Romans, where they came from, what they are up to and who the next foe Aric is going to come up against is.

Before I get too into things I do want to talk about what is an age old X-O trope – Aric has to prove himself without his armour. At this point I think we’ve seen this happen in every X-O run. It’s a well worn trope at this point and as a result I am not surprised to see it again here. The way it plays out is pretty predictable given that Shanhara was not operating at her peak last issue. I think it plays out well enough, though I would have preferred if we hadn’t gone down such a route so quickly because there are plenty of other interesting ideas going on.

The space Romans are quite an interesting shadowy foe. Taking a classic X-O villain and giving them a space twist is something more new and original. These are still clearly Romans and the use of a character who is almost an oracle is another way of underlining who they are and linking the back to the historical Romans. Aric might be glad to face an old familiar foe but it also feels like there’s a bit of a twist to these characters. I hope so anyway, as at the moment there is an element of the cliche about them although at the same time that works well for both ease of reading and plot. Plus it makes it easier to cheer for Aric who still has that arrogant air. Really it’s not an X-O book if there aren’t moments you want to slap Aric.

The art maintains the feel of a strange world. If you didn’t like the art of the first issue then you’re not going to be persuaded by this one. The almost painting like style is something that you will either like or not. Although at times the style doesn’t show a lot of detail in other ways it does. The visions are really nicely realised in a very trippy way. There’s one small panel of a knocked over wine goblet that combined with the narration is very effective. The image stuck with me.

There are some other memorable panels but I don’t want to mention too much for spoilers. Overall the panel choices are very good. They give scope to the space scenes and work as well for the more interesting narrative moments. The colour palette retains continuity with the first issue and again the use of the darker colours for the space Romans helps give an air of menace with the brighter colours of X-O giving a nice contrast, even if it isn’t subtle.

This was a decent second issue. Giving a bit more depth to the space Romans which is needed to keep them interesting. They feel like a real threat which again gives everything more tension. We don’t get as much of the relationship between Aric and Shanhara which is a shame since what we do get is really good. You can really feel the bond between them. Which again lends some emotional heft into the overall tension. This issue builds on everything from issue one. There’s tension, a good emotional core and art with a great distinct style. This is a solid continuation of the X-O legend so far.

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