Tuesday, January 13, 2015

XO Man-O-War #22 and #23 (Classic Valiant)

Visigoth Aric Dacia is in Brazil, making friends with a tribe, and becoming their protector, from opposing tribes, and ruthless land developers. Back in America, where Aric's friend Randy is safekeeping his alien XO armour, she's beginning to grow power mad, and intends on using her new powers to wipe out the ghosts of her pasts...

This story sucks! Ignoring the problems I'm about to get into, this is a lacklustre story with mediocre pacing, and clumsy writing and dialogue. As for what makes this two-parter really terrible, it's the rampant misogyny.

It's insulting to both the character and the audience that Randy becomes power-mad, boasting about immortality and godhood, once she dons the armour! So Aric is fine with XO, but just because Randy is a woman with a traumatic background, she's not 'pure' enough to use the armour?! Bullshit! What's worse is one line of narration from Randy, where through her dialogue, the comic implies that she's nothing but a helpless victim without the armour.

Meanwhile, the story with Aric is boring, and ends on a depressing note. What's worse is that a major character is killed offscreen! At least the ending is followed up on, as a running thread throughout the series for the next dozen issues.

The characters here suck, for the reasons I mentioned above, and more. Aric is pretty cliched, and just can't catch a break. Randy suddenly behaving like a wacko is very out-of-character, and especially odd is her occasional French exclamations, which are completely out of nowhere. Paul Bouvier is a French-Canadian character, but I got the impression that Randy was just plain Canadian. It's possible that she could be the former, but she's talked exclusively in English until these issues, where she suddenly starts using French phrases for the rest of her time in the series.

Especially infuriating about these issues was the advertising that started with Issue #21, which were really damn low! These ads used taglines such as "You didn't think we were going to do it, did you?", in regards to replacing Aric as the wielder of the XO armour. Well no, series, we really didn't, and we were clearly justified in thinking so, as you ditched Randy as XO and immediately return to the status quo after only three issues!

The artwork here is decent, as are the covers, although it's very annoying that the action on both covers blocks out the title!

This whole story is just a misogynistic mess! The big takeaway from it is that 'women are too petty and weak to be pure enough to use the XO armour, so No Girls Allowed!', and that is bullshit!...

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