Aric of Dacia, that’s a name Valiant likes to use regularly in X-O Manowar, but people still don’t know who he is. That’s mostly because with each relaunch, there must be something for people to relate to him. Back in his early days (the 90s), X-O Manowar is Iron Man meets Conan the Barbarian. Complete with owning a conglomerate company to the struggle of his Visigoth hunter heritage. But today comes the need to find what works and what doesn’t; being a corporate overlord certainly doesn’t sit well with audiences. Aric can be king a with a wife at one point but then a farmer who rejects his armor next. For X-O Manowar, it’s about adjusting to the world as much as it adjusts to him. Spoilers ahead for people not caught up on X-O Manowar lore.
Aric of Dacia: Tolerance vs Acceptance
Aric in just about all of his beginnings is at the top of his world thanks to his family and loyalty. He’s also rather forward-thinking and accepting of different viewpoints. In the beginning of Valiant Comics (from the 90s), he even converts to Celtic for his wife’s sake. But later series, including the one by Matt Kindt, show how Aric finds that tolerance like with the Romans is not the same as acceptance. The world always changes, and sometimes people fit in better in very specific circumstances. As did the brother of one of Aric’s friends for his intelligence at Rome over Dacia. The rest of the Roman Legion, however, considers the Visigoth as savages. Something Aric is eager to retaliate for. Which lands him in hot water with the Vine who he mistakes as Romans.
Aric afterward shows no love for the invading spider-like Vine. However, when Aric acquires the Shanhara armor, he gains both devotion and animosity. Commander Trill is the ideal warrior of the Vine in how they conquer worlds. The High Priest meanwhile provides insights into how people have their layers. While Aric will never forgive many Vine, he shows compassion to the Vine, who helps him reconnect with Visigoth descendants. He even welcomes them to New Dacia when they are left splintered despite the animosity from Earth. The planet was one of their targets, complete with sleeper agents. Because even despite every atrocity, everyone deserves to find a place to belong. Something Aric gives to even Trill at the end of Robert Venditti’s run. Tolerance is about learning to live with the good and bad, but it can take a lifetime to accept.
Aric the Wanderer
Aric never seems to be able to stay in one place. Rather than go back to New Dacia after Venditti’s run, Aric takes up farming on a world outside of Earth. All despite the fact that he’s separated himself from his wife. Even when he settles down with a new love interest at the beginning and end of Matt Kindt’s run; he does it all over again with Dennis Hallum, just on Earth in a city. To venture a guess, it seems to be because Aric is trying to adjust to the way things are. When he first comes back to Earth with the New Visigoths, he tries to get back their old land. Which almost starts a nuclear war.
But to get in the good graces of the US for the New Visigoths, he has to do service to the US government. After a while, he got sick of it and wanted to live in peace until he’s propelled back into conflicts. Now he’s trying his best to live on Earth while assimilating himself into it. All while still trying to hang onto his Visigoth identity. He still chooses to hunt game rather than use money for example. Sometimes he still can’t find the right person to spend a lifetime with. It’s a struggle, but between his second wife and a single mother and her son, he’ll find them eventually.
Aric From New Dacia To Earth
Not that you have some idea of Aric of Dacia do you see why Valiant likes to use him? Doing away with the Iron Man-like qualities allow readers to see a very tolerable and endearing character. Aric, like many of the readers, is still trying to find where he fits most in the world. Being a superhero can’t ensure success, sometimes you have to move onto other things and people. Because only then does anyone adjust themselves into the world as much as it adjusts to them.
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