Wednesday, January 14, 2015

XO Man-O-War #27, #28, #29, #30 (Classic Valiant)

The spider aliens, mortal enemy of Visigoth Aric Dacia, have resurfaced, planning something huge. Aric and allies hunt their way to the aliens' stronghold, but his powerful alien XO armour is destroyed, and Aric is left seemingly defenseless against the aliens, while his friend Solar looks across the universe for a replacement...

This storyline of XO Man-O-War is yet another intolerable one! First of all, this is about the spider aliens. Again! Not only are they back again, for a three part story, but tying in with this, they were also in a two-part Secret Weapons story, and an unrelated Armorines arc! Jesus! Now, you could see the spider aliens as main villains of this series, and thus be fine with the sheer amount of their appearances, but that doesn't really hold water, as there's never any real story when they show up. They act evilly, until Aric and/or Solar easily slaughter them all-The End. Nothing new is ever added into the mix, and on on the rare occasions that it is, such as this story, it amounts to less than nothing!

The big take-away from this story is that it destroys the XO armour, but this is a terribly handled plot point. How can the series go on without an XO suit ,you wonder? It can't, so Aric gets a new one, almost instantly, making this whole 'shock' storyline entirely pointless! Aric doesn't even play a damn part in getting a new armour! Solar does it all for him! It's also painfully contrived that the XO suit Solar fought a while back in his own series just so happens to have a fully grown armour seed, even though they take thousands of years to grow! It's also awfully convenient that Solar somehow manages to find his way back to Earth from Saturn in less than a week, even though last time, it took him months!

The rest of the plot, comprised mostly of fight scenes, is boring, tedious, and miserable! There's only so much you can take away from a character before things get monotonous and depressing! There's not even any real story over these issues! The Spider Aliens' big plan is The Gathering, which is in the Chaos Effect event! These four issues were only setup, and they didn't even have the decency to have Aric fight the Gathering without his super armour! What was even the point of ridding him of it if you were just gonna give him a new one the very next issue?!

There's one horribly written scene, where Aric and Randy beat the shit out of each-other in their rage and sadness,and this leads into them banging! We go from Aric backhanding Randy, to them in bed, with a literal "Oh, Aric!" from Randy, compounding the problematic nature of the scene. What's even worse is that this scene then abruptly cuts away with the 'shock' ending, where Randy learns that Paul's legs have been amputated! Well that's a goddamn abrupt thing to suddenly jump to after steamy "We should have done this a long time ago!" romance!

The characters here are pretty terrible. Aric is boring and unlikeable, especially with his AnoRexo joke, which is mean-spirited to the audience, and very out-of-character. Turok lacks personality, and is very underused, as is Ken. Randy and Paul fare slightly better, but the latter really gets the short end of the stick, as he's pointlessly killed off to provide Aric with a new XO armour, even though these issues presented a nothing story unworthy of his sacrifice, and it didn't need to destroy the original armour in the first place! What's worse is his death scene! A respectful death for Paul would be for the XO seed to painlessly kill him as it assimilates his body, but we get the opposite! It assimilates him violently and agonisingly, like something out of an H.R. Giger fantasy. Not only is this the most disrespectful death they could have possibly given the character, it also makes it hard to buy that the characters are going to quickly adjust to the armour that gorily ate their friend!
The pub bikers from Issue #24 make a reappearance here. I appreciate the return of these characters, as I sorta liked them in Issue #24, and moreso here (as they're less inconsistently written), but I absolutely detested that their return is in a story where they were likely to all die horribly! Thankfully only one of them does, but this still pisses me off!

The villains here are a total bore, and for some odd reason, one is named Marc Antony, and the other villain never stops calling him by that full name.

The art in these issues is decent, while the covers range from decent to boring. #30's is quite good, while the stylised look of of #28's title makes it look like it's been cut up in Microsoft Paint! #29's is pretty bad, due to the lack of background, and poorly drawn musculature on everyone. #27's is just a bit boring.

Once again we have a dreadful multi-parter of XO Man-O-War! If there's a story in this series that takes more than one issue to tell, run away!...

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