Dive Into the Blood-Soaked Past Of Aric Of Dacia In X-O Manowar #16

by Tony Thornley

X-O Manowar has been the flagship character of the Valiant Universe since the line’s relaunch. One thing that’s been in short supply, though, is stories delving into Aric of Dacia’s past. There have been a few, but none of them have been deep dives into his past. Matt Kindt, Trevor Harsine and their team have changed that with this arc, hitting its midpoint in X-O Manowar #16.

X-O Manowar #16 Cover by Lewis Larosa & Diego Rodriguez

On one side of the world, a young Indian man by the name of Sabbas has been grifting across the continent. He’s also been grappling with strange visions, which seem to be Aric’s just ended deep space adventure. Meanwhile, Aric himself is battling to escape from the Huns, and finds himself joining forces with Romans to turn them away.

Kindt’s story has an epic feel here. Sabbas’ visions appear to have much more importance than we realize, even if they aren’t apparent. He also could end up being an important ally for Aric. Aric, on the other hand, is put in a tough position. His alliance with the Romans continues to reveal how he became the man we know, as well as revealing character traits that may affect the present day.

Trevor Harsine’s line art is a great fit here. He gives this world a truly lived in feel. He also immerses us in the setting, with ships, horses, soldiers, and the like. It feels epic at the same time. A major highlight, though, is the mural just before the title page, showing one of Sabbas’ visions. It looks like a medieval Indian tapestry, and it’s just gorgeous.

Diego Rodriguez and Jose Villarrubia’s color art adds so much to the period feel of the book. They use earthy palettes with splashes of color that feel very natural in the past. It’s not too bright or modern, which can pull you out easily.

Dave Sharpe does a couple things exceptionally well with the letters that I enjoyed. The X-O armor’s narration is rigid and stiff, unlike the action of the page. It helps build the character of the armor alongside Kindt’s script. It’s a great touch.

I’ve really liked this arc, and you should absolutely check it out. I’ve talked in the past about the Valiant universe having such a rich history. This issue adds to that, and I really loved it.

X-O Manowar #16is available now from Valiant Entertainment in stores and digitally!

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