It’s Friday, 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 #5

X-O Manowar #5

Published in June 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by Michael Leeke
Inked by Tom Ryder
Colored by Jorge Gonzalez


As Aric finishes wiping out the spider aliens, Ken has seized control of Orb Industries for himself. Ken decides that he needs to eliminate Aric to completely secure control of the company, and he sits in wait to ambush Aric upon his return from Central Park. On Aric’s return, Ken is shaken up when Aric walks in with a severed head, taken from the leader of a gang that tried to jump him in the park. When Ken tries to tell Aric what to do once again, Aric gets mad and leaves with the armor so that it can make him understand.

While Aric is out communing with the armor, Ax is arriving in town, looking to steal the armor. Aric returns to the Orb office but storms off without the armor again, upset now that he’s learned all of the things that he did not understand, including that his people are long gone. Ax shows up and coaxes the armor into its travelling mode while his henchmen grab Ken. Aric comes to grips with his new reality and calls the armor to him, ready to conquer this new challenge. However, when the armor does not show up, he follows the ring to the armor.

While Ax battles wits with the armor, Aric is making his way to their hotel. They know that he is coming and lay in wait, but Aric busts through the window and begins unleashing the armor. Ken gets the opportunity to get the drop on the bad guys and decides that he’d rather risk his fate with Aric than help the despicable Ax. Aric regains his armor and prepares to battle the bandits.


This is definitely the best issue of X-O thus far. I’m ecstatic that Aric has finally utilized the X-O armor to shed his ignorance and gain understanding of modern language and of his situation. I particularly like how he went about it, having to go off and commune with the armor instead of just having instant understanding. His initial rejection and gradual acceptance of his situation also made him feel like a real person dealing with real emotional issues rather than just a comic book character.

Ken’s treachery was a surprise, and a pleasant plot twist. It would have been too easy for him to continue to get along with Aric, who he had been using all along. If their relationship had shifted to equal with conflict, it would have felt phony. Now that the spider aliens have been eliminated for the time being, the characters had to progress, and I don’t think it could have been done much better.

Kickin’ It Old School: X-O Manowar #4

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