Tuesday, January 13, 2015
XO Man-O-War #21 (Classic Valiant)
Visigoth Aric Dacia has decided to get away from modern society and go to tribal South America, leaving his alien XO armour in the hands of trusted friend Randy Cartier. She puts its control ring on herself for safekeeping, unwittingly causing the semi-sentient armour to latch onto her, even going so far as to heal her broken arm. Randy tries the armour out, finding it to be exhilarating. The excitement doesn't last long, however, as a group of thieves led by the evil technopath Ax plans on stealing the armour...
For the next few issues of XO Man-O-War, we have the character of Randy taking centre stage in the XO armour, while regular lead Aric Dacia is on a brief sabbatical. This could have been a neat idea, but it's a failure! Most of the problems that come from it are tied with the next two issues, so I'll get to them later. As for this one, it's pretty meh. Issue #21 isn't terrible, but it doesn't do a good job at presenting Randy's first time in the XO armour, as the plot with Ax railroads in and takes centre stage, when all the story needed to be was a character piece.
Randy is a dull protagonist. The moments that portray her as an idiot don't much help either, such as when she asks the XO armour to download all of its information into her mind all at once!
Ken displays no character growth, and for all his angst about the lack of free will he's allowed from his XO arm, he's proven time and time again that he's perfectly willing to betray his 'friends', so I frankly don't give a damn about this character.
Ax returns as the story's villain, and he's an entirely pointless addition. His plan is the exact same one as before-He wants to get the XO armour, so he attacks its owner. There are no deviations in his scheming, nor is there a genuine plot surrounding him, or one that springs from his presence. He's just a thug who shows up to kill Randy, she easily defeats him, story over.
The art here is decent. The cover is pretty sexist! It's portraying Randy as naked when she puts the XO armour on, just so they can show some implied T&A, so young boys'll pick the comic up. Now, in the comic, Randy's wearing a peachy yellow shirt that blends in with her skin a bit, so one could try and argue she's wearing that on the cover, but given the lack of borders, the identical colouring to her skin, and the lack of pants or underwear, I'd say that's unlikely. Putting that aside, it's not a very good cover. It shows barely anything, has zero background, is covered by an annoying red tint, and it's the exact same cover as Issue #5! I know it's trying to emulate it, but it's a rather pointless gesture.
This issue is yet another dull waste of time from XO Man-O-War...