It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another new edition of Kickin’ It Old School, our weekly column in which we look to the past and review books from the original Valiant universe! This week, I’ll be discussing X-O Manowar #4
Published in May 1992
Written by Steve Englehart and Bob Layton
Penciled by Mike Manley
Inked by Ralph Reese and Tom Ryder
Colored by Jorge Gonzalez and Paul Autio
Aric and Ken are contacted via the spider alien’s comm-link by Harada’s people, as they have captured one of their own. Harada’s personal assistant, Bevins, apologizes for the misunderstanding of the attack in the prior issue and invites them to come to New Orleans to meet with Harada. The Renegades are in the area investigating the attack and Faith eavesdrops on the conversation, so the Renegades are on their way to New Orleans as well.
In New Orleans, Harada blows smoke up Aric’s ass to settle the misunderstanding, then takes them out to a club, which happens to be the same one at which Jack Boniface plays saxophone. Aric gets drunk and, on the way to find the restroom, passes by Lydia, the spider alien that he thought was dead, but chalks it up to being drunk. After this, they leave the club with Harada and are promptly jumped by the Renegades. Aric acts in Harada’s defense, but is easily tossed aside by Torque. He retrieves his armor, which also serves to clear his head, and begins to get the upper hand by out strategizing Pete’s crew. He whips them, and they run. Harada tells Bevins his intentions to use or kill Aric, and Aric tells Ken that they aren’t leaving until he has some fun.
This book was a great example of the interlacing of Valiant books. Aside from Solar, we’ve got all the current day books coming together. Shadowman plays host city, and not much else, aside from the revelation that his attacker is the spider alien Lydia, who we thought Aric had killed. The complexity of the interactions between Harada, the Renegades, and Aric are fantastic! Instead of having good vs. bad, it’s like a round robin of mistrust and misunderstanding.
I also enjoyed the Harbinger kids in this book more than I have in their own for the last few issues. After having had multiple conversations with Valiant fans who read these books when they were new, I’m attempting to look at the Renegades with a better understanding. I think their interactions with Aric in this issue illustrate what was so good about them. They are headstrong and foolhardy about going after Harada and get their butts handed to them by Aric, a man that they could align themselves with against Harada if done right. They also show their narrow-mindedness. For all of his flaws, Harada understands the threat of the spider aliens and has formed adversarial alliances with Solar and now Aric to counter that threat. Harada may be a tyrant, but extinction is a bigger problem.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com