X-O Manowar #50

by Jason Laframboise on October 04, 2016

Written by: Robert Venditti, Fred Van Lente, Jody Houser and Matt Kindt

Art by: Joe Bennett and Roberto De La Torre with Diego Bernard, Doug Braithwaite, Robert Gill, Tomas Giorello, Clayton Henry, Cary Nord, Javier Pulido and Rafa Sandoval

Published by: Valiant Comics

This is it. All hands are on deck. The finale of the longest running book from Valiant Comics. I will get to my own thoughts of the series as a whole in a minute but first I must breakdown the last issue. We get the final of the Long live the King Story. When we last left Aric of Dacia he had been absorbed by the mysterious beings known only as the Torment. They appeared to be set on destroying the Earth. We find out their end game here in this issue, while I won't spoil it, I do have to say it's not quite what we were expecting. It was a beautiful ending for the story that Robert Venditti started 4 years ago. We get everything that made this series the fantastic read that is has been. Epic battles, Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon style space opera, great characters, the quiet moments that made it all work, and of course the hero at the centre of it all. And that really is the point of the whole book. It wasn't a story about super heroes, aliens, or monsters. It had all those elements, but at the heart of the book was the growth of the simple time lost warrior Aric. He has come a long way from his brash quick to anger and fight self in the first issue to the regal King and saviour of not only his people but also the alien race he fought against. It was a great story and this was the perfect way to end it. Joe Bennett's art is good, we get some really good pages here. The last panel of the main story.....it is awesome.

We get three back up features in this huge book. The first one is written by Fred Van Lente and the art is by Clayton Henry. The story is titled the Two Deaths of Gaius Maelus.  We get a short story here about a Roman solider, the title character, who is about to be killed in battle when Neela, the Timewalker(a character from another series of Van Lente's Ivar, Timewalker) pulls him to the future where he is confronted by Aric in his X-O Manowar armour. It seems that Gaius killed one of Aric's nephews and Neela has brought him as a sacrifice to Aric. Will Aric take his vengeance? You will need to read the story to find out.

The second back up was entitled His Greatest Failure, and was written by Jody Houser, we get a Ninjak narrated story, where Ninjak seems to be clearing out the last of the Vine Plantlings that had infiltrated human society, as he waxes poetically about the man that Aric has become, saying some of the same things I did in fact. It was a good quick story that drove home the point.

The third story is short and without dialogue. We open on an alien planet, as a warrior walks up to a building and we see Aric sitting on a throne. This is apparently teasing the return of X-O Manowar, so we are left happy.

This is the Final issue of the current X-O Manowar book. I'm going to take a minute to add my own perspective on the book's place in my comic fandom. I grew up in the small town that didn't have a comic shop, we had to get ours from local convenience stores, one of which was where I got most of my comics when I was young. They would typically get your basic Marvel, DC and Image books. Flash, Batman, Superman, Spiderman and X-men. Then every now and then an odd book that wasn't quite as popular. We'd get an odd issue of Darkhawk from Marvel and stuff like that. Then one day we got a comic in that was from a different company. It was a book called X-O Manowar. I bought the book and a life long Valiant fan was born. Because of our lack of comic options I wouldn't get another issue for a really long time, but every time a new Valiant book came in I scooped it up, whenever I would visit other places if I saw a Valiant book I would buy it. Then I started to follow the books via the Wizard Guide to Comics (RIP), and that's how my fandom grew to the point  where I am now, owning about half of what the original Valiant published trying to buy the rest. Then the company died (I'm skipping the whole Acclaim nonsense<except for Quantum and Woody>). I was sad but I guess good things come to an end sometimes. We then started to hear rumblings that Valiant might be coming back. Jim Shooter was involved then wasn't. We were going to get new Valiant featuring Solar, Turok and Magnus, then we weren't. I was bullish on the potential of this new Valiant getting off the ground. Finally books were actually being solicited we were going to get four series to start Harbinger, Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot and to kick it all off X-O Manowar. It was to be written by Robert Venditti, who I'd never heard of, but I was excited. So in 2012 I bought that first issue. And it lived up to my childhood memories perfectly. Every thing that made Valiant special to me was in this issue, and now four years later, with this final issue, we say goodbye. Thank you for the ride.

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