We open in the past, a time when Aric learned to wield his blade and to understand how nature can affect battle. Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, is his teacher. The story then jumps to modern day Bucharest. Here, Aric, now the armor-weapon wielding anachronistic King, has settled the slaves from the Vine colony. Gilad continues the lesson with his brash pupil. The two spar as one would expect—in brutal and unyielding fashion. Aric has been one of the most intriguing characters due to his situation both in the past with the Visigoth backstory and with the modern day tale of a warrior in a nigh-invincible suit of armor. Now the warrior has, by default, ascended to his throne by means of the liberated slaves he leads. Like Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Aric’s role has shifted tremendously from fighter to ruler. This has been expertly plotted over the course of a mere fifteen issues. You will be hard pressed to find a comic book that can expertly build such dynamic characterization in so few installments.
As Gilad and Aric tussle, Aric smashes the Visigoth crown he held in such regards. Lee Garbett brilliantly illustrates a moment of pure pity as the man who has such great power couldn’t keep his crown from being destroyed. The visual metaphor depicted in the panel foreshadows the conflicts facing the displaced hero.
The last panel teases something so cool that I dare not write one more word lest I ruin and fun.
Also, an Eternal Warrior backup story finishes out the book. Look for Gilad to get his own spot ion the racks in November.
Once again, X-O proves to be a book that you need to make space in your pull box for on Wednesdays.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Lee Garbett
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 8/21/13