What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about X-O Manowar #2! This right here was one of those books where it was almost impossible to jump into the next issue without reading the one previous again. Surprisingly enough in the case of X-O Manowar this also turned out to be the very first issue of the new run. Shocking that we pretty much had to wait a whole eight months and some change to see what came next. Either way, still I was looking forward to this second issue because the debut was definitely satisfying with a refreshing change of direction to this series, a new cast of characters, and new enemies too.
After catching up, it was easy being able to jump right into the action as Aric deals with his first enemy encounter of the new run. It was certainly exciting for the fact that this wasn’t the usual way that Aric handles things. Most times you are used to him running in and swinging first, asking questions later. Though this version of Aric seems to be learning from past experiences. Enough so that he is more willing to assess the situation before doing anything too hasty. These are the things we definitely should want to see more of from this new change in direction for Aric. Especially since this is shaking up the dynamic between himself and his armor. Before it would have taken much more for him to find it within himself to ask for assistance. Doesn’t change how he asks, or the challenge he finds in getting the exact answer he desires, but it is good to have the opportunity to follow more engagement.
That said, the big thing for this second issue was seeing how a new threat would emerge from the fires of X-O’s latest battle. This was an interesting development since you couldn’t really call this guy a threat in the traditional sense. Was this person someone who Aric should have to worry about? Absolutely. However, very different from most enemies Aric has had to deal with up to this point. It was very fitting that this would also be someone who is what we would call a problem these days. Someone who has power, wealth, influence, but cares only for the superficial things and very little for who lose to get what he wants.
As for the other question posed, this created a thrilling (yet horrific) scene as Aric does learn the hard way that maybe the world does need a different kind of hero. One who knows how to adapt, rather than be caught up traps so simple for someone like him. I don’t know what this is going to create in the issues to come, but I for one am here to find out.
The interior work for this issue was stunning. From beginning to end this book was exactly what you expected from it visually. Action-packed, explosive, the colors in your face. There was even an appreciation for the attention to detail which went into every scene. Specifically when it comes to rendering these settings which put you right into the scene. One thing which definitely caught my attention was this new character introduced to us. Certainly reminded me of a version of Tony Stark if he were more sketchy and self-indulgent. Now with that said, something else I realize I never got around to before was the appeal of the lettering for the armor. I like the blue interior and yellow border to distinguish her voice.
In the end, X-O Manowar #2 was worth waiting all these months to jump into. Right now I would say that this is the book to have in your pull-list if any from Valiant.