X-O Manowar #25
“The Fate of Kings” By Robert Venditti, Bryan Hitch, and David Baron
“The Armor Hunters: Burial” By Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard, and Brian Reber
Featuring J.G.Jones, Cary Nord, Justin Jordan, Tom Fowler, Sean Chen, Barry Kitson, Andy Runton,John Rauch, Allen Passalaqua, Rafer Roberts
X-O Manowar #25 comes out a little over two years since the series launched and kicked off the new Valiant universe. To celebrate this milestone, issue #25 is an oversized anniversary issue that features an anthology of shorter X-O stories. “The Fate of Kings” and “The Armor Hunters: Burial” together run about the length of a typical monthly issue. These two stories are the meat of the issue and tie-in to the main continuity. The bonus stories are fun and are not necessarily in continuity (ie. the X-O armor playing with woodland critters, and Aric and Shadowman sharing a drink in a bar).
This short story takes a look back at the Visigoths and their leader, Aric’s uncle, Alaric. In 410 Alaric sacked Rome. Aric was already a prisoner of the Vine at this time and missed out on his uncle’s triumph over the Romans. Aric feels a regret for not being there to stand by his uncle, but with the help of the X-O armor he is able to find his uncle’s hidden grave and pay his last respects.
I like that we are given more insight into Aric’s maturing character. It fits in with the theme of an anniversary issue, and shows of just how much the character has grown. However, coming off the heels of issue #24 and leading into the start of Armor Hunters the story feels a little out of place. It’s not a bad story, but would work better as a supplemental or back up story.
“The Armor Hunters: Burial” Review
The Armor Hunters story we get here is another good story, and fits with what has been going on in X-O Manowar. Although the story is only eight pages long, Venditti is able to give us a look into who and what the Armor Hunters are, as well as showing the potential threat that one of these suits of armors is capable of.
I really wish that this story could have been longer and given us a longer look at the Armor Hunters. I think it would have worked well as a full issue. It has left me with an increased interest in the upcoming mini-series Armor Hunters.
The rest of the issue is filled with pin-ups and one to three page mini stories. They are a lot of fun, but the standout of the entire issue was Andy Runton’s “Owly & Wormy & Shanhara in Armor’s Day Off.” It is cute, and is not something we often see in Valiant, and that is an all-ages story.
The addition of a section of Robert Venditti’s pitch of the series was an interesting little piece of Valiant history. It helped to remind me at the end of this issue that this was indeed an anniversary issue.
X-O Manowar #25 is not a bad issue. It’s problem lie in the fact that it is dropping right as Armor Hunters is about to hit. It feels out of place, and overall was not what I was expecting. I want something a little more epic in an anniversary issue. We get some good stories here, but ultimately it falls a little short of delivering the awesomeness we have come to expect from this series. New readers should jump on next time with X-O Manowar #26, Unity #8, or Armor Hunters #1.