X-O Manowar #26
Valiant (March, 1994)“The Gift” PLOT: Rob Johnson SCRIPT: Jorge Gonzalez PENCILER: Rik Levins INKER: Mike DeCarlo COLORIST: Andrew Covalt LETTERER: Ken Lopez EDITOR: Bob Layton
Ken’s about had it with the prosthetic arm created by the X-O armor, between Randy’s tormenting him with it before and now having it assault some muggers who tried to attack him. He’s worried that he has no control over his life, but begins to realize he’s ostracized all of his friends. He gets a chance to redeem himself at the office Christmas party when mobster Benito Carboni decides to get payback against Aric. However, his plant warns Ken that they also plan to blow the party up as a demonstration of crossing the Carboni family, a plan that included Aric being drugged by a hot girl sent to poison him. Ken calls the armor to save him and Aric gives the bomb back to the “nice lady”. Thus proving his loyalty Aric shows that the prosthetic arm is giving Ken a better gift by regenerating his lost arm.
What they got right: This is about Ken’s redemption, I guess after whatever that Ax incident was, but it shows sympathy for the guy as his life goes out of control, the prosthesis being most of the problem. And yet he’s still a decent guy and loyal to his friends. There’s even the parts about Aric easily being swayed by a hot woman and a bit of character by saying he doesn’t believe in Christmas but still has the party for his friends and employees. Plus he considers the company his empire. You can’t get the Visigoth out of the man.
What they got wrong: You know it’s the 90s when the hero stuffs the bomb in the non-invulnerable baddie’s face.
Recommendation: This issue I actually got as part of a multi-pack and reading it again made me take the previous issue I reviewed out of the “getting rid of” bag and eventually give the series another shot. There’s some good in this, violence levels aside.