Aric remembers his younger years, as a boy in the Roman Empire, trying to reclaim Dacia. In the present, the Visigoths find out what a supermarket is and Alexander Dorian has a proposal for Aric and all the Visigoth people.
As far as single issues go for this series, this is one of the best. The book feels like it's settled, even though, on the horizon, it will be getting shaken up. Aric and his people have a home, for the time being. They're all slowly adapting to their surroundings, and understanding what it means to live in the 21st century. There's a couple comical moments that involve the Visigoths in 2013, and one of these moments is actually a major part of the issue. Adaptation has been a big part of this series as a whole, and we get that on a larger scale here.
With the past few issues, writer Robert Venditti has tipped the scales a bit by showing the more brutish and stubborn side of Aric, making him come off as the antagonist and walking the thin line between hero and villain. Here, the reader really gets to feel out Aric and understand why he's going through such trouble in order to keep his people safe. The past couple of issues did a great job at showing that Aric is not perfect. He has his priorities. He makes sometimes not-so-smart choices. However, he really is redeemed as a hero in this issue, even though not much has changed with his stance on where the Visigoths should live.
Flat-out, colorist Moose Baumann does an amazing job on this issue. The opening scenes, featuring a young Aric, is downright beautiful. The transition between light and dark is brilliant, and while I've always enjoyed his work on this book, he takes it to the next level here. There are very few times I can say a colorist's work blew me away, and the opening to this issue is one of them. And as always, Lee Garbett delivers some fantastic art. He sets up scenes incredibly well, and the opening, featuring a young, hurt Aric, running to find his mother is wonderful. His art is crisp and clean, and this creative team truly does some fantastic things with the book, month after month.
My biggest problem with this issue is that it ends so abruptly. On top of it, it's a bit of a let down for an ending to this book as well. We're left with a cliffhanger that has some impact on the reader; however, everything else happening in the issue is a bit more exciting.
X-O MANOWAR is the perfect example of rebooting a franchise and making it worthwhile for new readers and old fanboys. Venditti is doing fantastic things with this story. Each story keeps getting better and better. Bringing back Alexander Dorian to this issue to "reason" with Aric is fantastic, since he was such a great part of this series in prior issues. Moose's colors, especially on the opening scene, are wonderful. Venditti, Garbett, and Baumann are one heck of a creative team.