X-O Manowar #4 drops on January 27 to close out one subplot to focus on another more dire one. It’s a plot that writer Dennis Hopeless builds up since the introduction of Troy Whitaker. Artist Emilio Laiso provides a grand scale for the reader to follow within the issue. All while colorist Ruth Redmond and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou add a decorative spectacle.
X-O Manowar #4: Firing On All Cylinders
Within X-O Manowar #4 is a conflict with Aric’s character and how it is shared between reader and characters. In the beginning, everyone is anticipating something to happen. The reader shares feelings with just about every character on display. Aric’s adoptive family remains hopeful for Aric to defeat Ukrainian warlord Yakiov after everything he’s done. Then there’s Yakiov who, while confident that his plan against Manowar will work, connects to the reader by not being dumb enough to think he goes down easily.
Hopeless displays the best and worst of X-O Manowar #4 during the climax. He presents Aric in a place that, while not perfect, is great after everything up to this point. The problem arises when all of that development seems to go down the drain in one moment. Just when things look good, Aric flies into a blind rage. The reader shares frustration with the armor Shanhara’s who tries to be the voice of reason.
Scales Of Spectacle
X-O Manowar #4 features stakes and action rising in scale. Laiso illustrates with both detail and panel size the conflicts of the issue. Aric’s adversary Yakiov gloats like a madman at some of the damage and equipment he has ready for a slaughter. That one large panel matches two other panels on the following pages for attacks on what looks like X-O Manowar.
Redmond’s coloring furthers that illusion as the blow on “X-O Manowar” matches the fires Yakiov already set off. Combine this with intensely drawn SFX from Otsmane-Elhaou, and it looks like a killing blow. Unless like Yakiov, the reader finds the word balloons from his army odd after hearing conflicting descriptions. It’s nice to have characters and the reader on the same wavelength; it allows them to follow events easier.
X-O Manowar #4 Hooks Readers In
X-O Manowar #4 is enjoyable for taking the time to empathize and communicate with its readers to the point where the reader feels like they play an important part of the story. They genuinely feel the excitement, anticipation, and frustrations that come off the pages. The plot points and moods never feel like hand holding, just different points-of-view that the reader jumps into. Every character and artist brings out their best to reach out to the general audience, creating an experience where everyone is a piece of a bigger picture.