by Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard

Aric vs Zahn and his Armorines…does Aric have what it takes to defeat the elite armored team?

Since the series started back in May 2012, Aric has faced all sorts of enemies – aliens, ninjas, psiots, hunters, robots – but never has he faced anyone like Phillip Zahn, a normal person whose sole superpower is his determination to be the best at everything he does. Granted, Zahn has the help of his powerful Armorine prototype armors, but it is his mind that is his great asset – and also his downfall.

Armor does not define the warrior, it is defined by the warrior who chooses to wear it.

After exploding Aric ear drum in the last issue, Zahn and his Armorines have Aric pinned down in the IETA (International Extraterretrial Technology Authority) facility which Zahn was supposed to be inspecting. His hubris delays his team from delivering a killing blow upon Aric which gives the armor just enough time to heal Aric and a fantastic fight ensues. Aric himself has grown tremendously as a character over the past 32 (33 if you count the #0 issue) and it shows in how he handles this fight. Zahn may have gained the upper hand, but Aric and his armor are more closely connected than Zahn could have ever imagined so facing Aric isn’t just about facing an armored man, but two sentient beings with tons of battle experience fighting as one.

Robert Venditti has been at the helm of this book since its onset and if you ever had any doubts as to why he has become the longest running writer for this series, look no further that the past couple of issues. There is a moment in this issue where Zahn and Aric are fighting it out and Zahn gets knocked on the ground. As Aric stands over him with a gigantic energy sword forged from Zahn’s suit’s own energy I could not help but yell “Eff yeah!” and be reminded of why I love this book so much. Venditti has turned what could easily be a boring “barbarian out of time” story and turned him into a character deserving of being the flagship title for an entire universe. Bravo!

And speaking of that giant sword, huge props goes out to Diego Bernard for continuing to kick up his game in the art department. Venditti and Bernard have been on this book together for quite some time – and for the foreseeable future it seems – and the two are a force to be reckoned with, like Aric and Shanhara united as one. There are some killer splash panels in this book which help add to the intensity of the story.

Without any spoilers, the ending of this book was great, not only in how it handles Zahn, but in what it foreshadows. We already know Dead Hand will be a major story for Aric in the near future but the newly formed alliance between Zahn Industries, the US government, and the appearance of a new character, has me beyond excited for what will come in the next arc of this book. If you’d like a hint, check out the brief introduction to the Armorines I wrote a few months back.

Overall, another solid issue from Venditti and Bernard. If you’re not reading X-O Manowar yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Pick this up!

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comments (2)

  • Considering how much you liked it Im surprised it didn’t get a 5/5. I personally loved the issue as well, but seeing as I’ve only been reading since issue 30 my opinion is a bit noobish. I think He beat Zahn relatively quickly compared to how evil arch villainy they made him seem but I guess he will be popping up in the future as well.

  • As a fan boy, it would be easy to give every issue of X-O a 5/5, but when reviewing the issue, I have to take into considering other factors. You mentioned how relatively quickly Zahn was dismissed, and I use that as one example. The last page was killer though, especially being familiar with the original incarnation of the Armorines.

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