Aric returns to modern-day Earth with the Visigoths that were enslaved on Loam. He has quite the sense of entitlement and decides that the piece of land he landed his ship on is now his. Old friend, Gilad, meets up with him to let Aric know he's acting like a spoiled brat.
You know what the best thing about this issue was? Of course you don't, but I'll tell you anyway. I found Aric to be the antagonist in this issue, for many obvious reasons. I loved the fact that I really started pulling for this guy during Planet Death, and even in the opening of the issue, I was right behind him, but as soon as I find out his motives, and after his talk with Gilad, I was completely against what Aric was doing. Yeah, I know. It's a big vague, but you have to check out the issue.
The scene between Gilad and Aric is fantastic. It's two old friends seeing each other for the first time in centuries. Well, centuries for Gilad. The dialogue is super-smooth and writer Robert Venditti really captures both of these character's personalities extremely well. The scene is 8 pages, but you'll fly through it because it flows incredibly well. There's going to be somewhere out there that says "nothing happens in this issue." They're wrong. We see the relationship between Gilad and Aric really play out in this issue. We get a great sense of who they once were and how one of them really grew as the years went by. It's a very suspenseful and intense scene between the two, and it's just dialogue.
Artist Lee Garbett returns to the series, and his work is wonderful. I'm very excited to see him back on this book. He does some great, straight-forward storytelling here, but keeps each panel unique, from a different perspective. It's a very contemporary style that meshes well with Moose Baumann's colors, which are a bit more realistic and muted. It gives the overall art in the book a very down-to-Earth feel.
Planet Death had a pretty long build to it. However, this issue is the place to jump on for new readers. While we do see Gilad from ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, and this all takes place after a giant battle on another planet, Venditti does a fantastic job at keeping this new reader friendly and making everyone feel at ease, new readers and old, with this issue.
No real complaints about the issue. I'm bummed I have to wait another month to read issue #16.
Sometimes, with a series already one year in, it's hard to tell folks where a good jump-on point is. And while I'll tell you that if you've been itching to read this series to jump on right here, you really should pick up the first couple of trades. It's worth your money. I'm extremely pleased with how this issue turned out and I can't wait for the next few issues. I love the perspective change in this issue, which makes Aric seem like the "bad guy." He wants what is best for his people, the Visigoths, but he isn't the best at putting his brains into his plan. Here's where I make a ridiculous metaphor in order to get you to pick up this book. X-O MANOWAR keeps getting better and better, like fine wine or cheese, but not in a way where it becomes a wine or cheese snob. It's like your buddy with good taste always willing to share a nice Malbec with you.
Overall, I highly recommend this issue...