Wednesday, January 14, 2015
XO Man-O-War #31 and #32 (Classic Valiant)
Visigoth Aric Dacia is breaking in his new alien armour after the old one was destroyed, and it doesn't take long before he has to use it in a combat situation. Two security people are investigating a mysterious vault under Aric's ownership, which is fatally booby trapped. Aric, having no idea what this vault is, accompanies the security duo in the investigation...
This two-parter is pretty lousy. Part of it is setup for an upcoming story, while the rest is setup for another upcoming story! The Aric plotline is utterly wasteful, as he fights a superpowered guy over the unknown contents of a vault. We never have a real plot, nor is this villain ever a real character. We never even see his face!
Aric is pretty dull here, and I'm annoyed at the lack if him mourning his deceased ally Paul. He has a nightmare about his death at the start of Issue #31, but then his feelings are never brought up again, as he's too busy fighting the bad guy to quietly mourn Paul's loss. What also annoyed me was bit of dialogue where Aric says to himself he being too too dependent on his original XO armour was responsible for its destruction. No it wasn't! It was destroyed because the spider aliens planted a slow-acting virus into its system over several months!
Krollos is a crappy villain. He has no personality, nor any motivations of his own. He's just a stooge hired by the spider aliens, and he's gone come the story's end. The only reason we even know his name is because he talks in the third person in one scene
The husband and wife security team who help out Aric aren't well-characterised either, and they have a moment of idiocy when they go to collect Aric, who they suspect of illegal activities after their encounter with the vault only he has access too. He appears to want to go along with the duo's investigation, then goes to 'take a shower', and they believe him! Of course, he really is showering, and isn't responsible for the death trap, but as far as they know, he's gonna put on running water, then floor it the hell out of the building!
The art here is decent. Issue #31's cover is meh, while #32's is pretty neat, though I've no idea why the title card is stylised the way it is, and it also bugs me how much of a non-sequitur it is.
This story is certainly better than the previous one, but this is still a waste of paper...