Review: ‘X-O Manowar: Birth’
There’s something so gleefully ridiculous about the concept of X-O Manowar that you can’t help but smile while flipping through this paragon of 1990s comics.
Essentially Encino Man meets Battlefield Earth (though far better than such a comparison implies), X-O Manowar: Birth (Valiant, $24.95) collects the series’ beginnings as Aric, a fifth-century Visigoth, escapes from his alien captors with the aid of a miraculously powerful suit, then finds himself in the modern world.
The creative team — Bob Layton, Jim Shooter, Barry Windsor-Smith and Joe Quesada — push the fish-out-of-water story to the extreme, with the evil arachnid-like, laser-zapping aliens on a quest to enslave humanity and only the brutish, idiotic Aric standing in their way (actual sample of Aric’s dialogue: “But why I can… no… uh…”).
The story is completely over the top and doesn’t offer much to ponder over, but it’s also not striving for that. Screw pathos, this is a down-to-the-last-out laser battle with spider aliens! Aric bounces from one fight to another, and each comes through with a surprise or two.
Included are issues 0-6, with some scripts and original drawings for issue 0, and the original story “The Rise of Lydia.” The collection is also recolored and remastered, and it’s an attractive hardcover volume. I’d recommend this primarily for those who either are long-time X-O fans, or for those who can’t pass up a good, messy fight with aliens.