X-O Manowar vol.2 #21
Acclaim Comics/Valiant Heroes (June, 1998)
WRITER: Dwayne McDuffie
PENCILER: Scot Eaton
INKER: Don Hudson
COLORIST: Atomic Paintbrush
LETTERING: Dave Lanphear & Sibhan Hanna
EDITOR: Mike Marts
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Evan Skolnick
Donovan Wylie is dead, or at least believed so. So Inquest, rather than asking nicely for the monitoring station made from the X-O artifact, busts in demanding it of Renata by force, and even Donovan’s sister, Meg, is in favor of Laidlaw’s heavy-handed approach. However, the station is programmed to protect her by turning into its own version of the armor. As for Donovan, he’s floating in space as the artifact repairs itself. Donovan enters a void within the artifact and meets the previous bearer of the armor, as Unity didn’t create it; they found it and tried to copy it. He also meets his personal link to the deeper database of the artifact. Donovan learns the artifact is a multipurpose tool meant to fulfill potential. The first owner needed as armor and that’s what it became. With this knowledge Donovan awakes and shoos off Inquest. He and Renata begin cleaning up and then Donovan plans to live up to his potential.
What they got right: There’s still the mystery of who built the artifact and why. That’s potential for further interesting stories. I like the design of Renata’s version of the armor. It looks like McDuffie had longer plans for the series.
What they got wrong: Showing the wisdom that led to the end of Acclaim Comics, and later Acclaim itself, they opted to drop regular series in favor of one-shots and limited series. I don’t know if that ever came to pass, but that’s no way to run a comic universe, especially a shared one. I liked the ideas for X-O and Ninjak better with Acclaim than I did the original Valiant due to my personal tastes, and Valiant’s original backers screwed Jim Shooter sideways, but it’s the latest in bad decisions.
Recommendation: I really want to look up the rest of this version of X-O Manowar. It looks interesting enough to check out.