Robert Venditti officially declared war on the other armor-wearing hero, Iron Man, with this issue. His first volley of shots fired came from the satirical equivalent of an F-22 Raptor: efficient, brutal, and right on target. Issue 31 of X-O Manowar continues with the “Armorines” storyline that features exec uberman Phillip Zahn with all his eccentricities, hubris, and hot read-head secretary, Rosemary, as he plots to take down Aric and his suit of alien armor. The opening pages finds Zahn going over the countless armors he could create in order to make more sales.
Aric enjoys a quiet New Years with his tribe of chronologically displaced Visigoths as they group marvels at a fireworks display. Unbeknownst to Aric and the readers, Zahn has set up an Armorine attack in the most unsuspecting of places. I will say only that the attack cripples poor Aric as he allows Zahn a moment to inspect the X-O ‘s capabilities. Worst yet, the wound Aric receives from the attack will leave one wincing as though he or she just watched one of those terrible internet videos where skaters fall wrong and break appendages.
With Aric gravely wounded, Zahn has an open opportunity to end Aric’s reign and take the X-O from him.
This would have been an ending that left me hanging from a cliff with anxiety had not the next story arc been teased in a one-page short at the end of the issue.
Congratulations to Venditti, artist Diego Bernard, and the whole X-O crew for delivering a book that exceeded expectations for an entire year of issues.
Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Diego Bernard Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/31/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital