X-O Manowar #7
Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Clayton Crain
Published by: Valiant Comics

I feel absolutely bipolar reading the new X-O Manowar series. I love one issue, then I feel so-so about the next issue because of “reasons,” only to find that I don’t care about those reasons in the very next issue. It is the same with issue 7. It is the best issue of this new series thus far – blowing away issues 1 and 6 (previously my favorite issues). Here’s the plot: Aric continues to kick everyone’s asses. He may do it with his X-O armor. He may not. He doesn’t care. Because he is a goddamn killer warrior badass who will bow to no man, woman, alien, human, living suit of armor…NO ONE.

What was the plot of the last issue? Same thing. Before that? Same thing. Before that? Yup…same thing. You have to go back to issue 1 when Aric was just chilling in the house with his alien girlfriend to find some peace in this book. But every subsequent issue after that had Aric figuring out who his friends are, who is true enemies are, and how everyone with hidden agendas will fall once Aric has entered the fight.

My problem with this book came somewhere after issue 3 with Aric continuing not to fight using the X-O armor. It didn’t make sense to me. He is a warrior fighting in a horrible war. Why not use the weapon that can bring the pain?

But now that the armor is finally here? Now I don’t care. Because the plotting and pacing of this issue is so amazing that the armor doesn’t really factor in. Bruce Lee is a badass with nunchucks. Take the nunchucks away? Bruce Lee is still a badass. I was very aggravated that the X-O Manowar book didn’t have the X-O Manowar armor. Why call it X-O if you don’t have the armor?

So now he has the armor. Am I satisfied? Now that he is wearing the armor am I FINALLY HAPPY!?!??!!? No.  Because suddenly it doesn’t matter if he has the armor. I’m just so engrossed in the story. This is a science fiction masterpiece. I’m going to have to go back and just reread all the issues together because now I feel like an idiot. I really hope to have a greater appreciation now that Matt Kindt has a bunch of these issues under his belt. Do I owe Matt Kindt an apology? Maybe. Matt….I’m sorry. I’m sorry I bitched and complained about robot armor. I can be thickheaded sometime.

The artwork. My god the artwork. Look at this artwork….LOOK AT THIS!
This is not just comic book art. This is a work of art. This is the Mona Lisa of comic books. Clayton Crain is a comic book god. He is a genius. He is leagues beyond what artists are doing today. He makes Jim Lee art look like a first grader’s stick figure comics. You can take away every single word bubble …. every single word from this book and the storytelling would hold up perfectly. You can separate every panel, frame it, put it up at MOMA or The Met, and have a gallery event. There is not one person on this planet who can look at Clayton Crain’s art and say, “I guess it is sorta okay.” My favorite quote is, “Art is subjective” so I may see genius and you may not. And 99.99999% of the time I would say, “That okay if you don’t like it the way I like it.” But if you don’t look at this art and find it breathtaking I don’t know why you read comic books.

I guess if you want some of the plot of X-O #7 and not me just marveling at perfection I can say this…

Evil aliens are killing more aliens on an alien planet. Now they have monster spaceships that can murder citizens at will. Aric and his mighty group of kickass warriors know that shit isn’t going to stop unless they stop it. So Aric goes to the alien ship and confronts main alien bad guy. These aliens don’t think much of Aric. At first. But Aric is Aric and he is a badass mofo. They think having these killer spaceships give them true power. They have no clue what true power is. Aric is ready to show them. But he doesn’t need to kill everyone to show how masterful a warrior he is. Aric is almost regal in his decision making and even the mightiest of bad guys quickly realize that this human is not to be trifled with.

Yeah – that’s all I’m going to say. If you think this review is just one big fluff piece of whatever then you haven’t picked up this issue. If you picked up this issue you completely understand why I am so floored. This is the pièce de ré·sis·tance. This is storytelling at its peak. This is why Valiant continues to blow their competitors away. If you aren’t reading this book I truly feel sorry for you. If I had the money I’d buy this issue for each and every one of you.


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