At long last, the X-O Manowar 25th Anniversary Special is here and we learn the true origins of Aric’s armor, Shanhara!
At long last, the origin of Shanhara and the reasoning behind the development of the armors. Outstanding story, and I confess that the origin is not what I expected. It’s rare that I am surprised by a plot, and despite not having any clues or hints to the origin, it was completely believable. This was the 25th anniversary edition of X-O, and while it reads more like a #0 issue, it is billed as a “Generations” piece. This look into the past fits in nicely with the upcoming wedding of present day, and the “Generations” title may indicate that someday we might see Shanhara’s future, too.
Oh, X-O Manowar how do I love thee. I have been eagerly anticipating this issue with the origin story of Shanhara and there is tons to like here. Robert Venditti has creative a great mythology for this title and it’s great to get a glimpse of how it all started. Unfortunately, that glimpse left me wanting much more and left me with more questions than answers. All in all, a pretty solid story, though maybe using the “X-O Manowar Generations” moniker used on the inside cover would have made more sense than calling this a 25th anniversary special.
Through no fault of its own, this issue was a letdown for me. For some reason, I had my dates mixed up and thought that the wedding special was this week. Since there’s very little in comics that I love more than a wedding, I was disappointed.
Had I read this issue in different circumstances, I would have really enjoyed it (and whenever I end up re-reading, I’m sure I will). I like the direction that Robert Venditti has taken the title; after staying on Earth for the past 5 arcs, “Dead Hand” returned the character to space. This particular issue tells the origin of Shanhara, and it’s a very cool, and very unexpected, origin story. More importantly, this additional mythology adds to the story as a whole (especially retrospectively). Altogether, I couldn’t be more pleased with what Venditti continues to do on X-O Manowar.