After the climactic events of last issue where Aric and the XO Armor defeated the evil leaders of the alien Vine on their home world of Loam, installed the peaceful priest of Shanhara and a wise Vine army general as Loam's leaders, and freed all of Loam's slaves, Aric leads the descendents of his Visigoth tribe home to Earth with plans to establish a rightful Visigoth kingdom in Eastern Europe. An old (very old) friend of Aric's has news for the Visigoth king though. The world has changed drastically and Aric, even with the power of the XO Armor behind him, simply can't set up camp and carve himself and his people a new homeland from out of present day Romania...at least not without a fight.
While I loved the way that series writer Robert Venditti (Green Lantern, Homeland Directive, Surrogates) told, and brought to a tidy conclusion, the "Planet Death" storyline, I'm so glad that he's finally getting down to telling the part of the story of XO Manowar's lead protagonist, Aric, that I have been waiting to read since issue #1. The fact that Gilad Anni-Padda/The Eternal Warrior/my favorite Valiant character of all time, will be guest starring and, from the looks of things, knocking some modern sense (and sensibility) into Aric, makes this upcoming part of the tale of XO Manowar some of the most highly anticipated comic books this year (at least for me). The space epic aspects of XO Manowar definitely have their place in the overall story, but the classic XO Manowar stories were at their best when they focused on Aric's efforts to adapt to the modern world and establish himself as a Valiant-style superhero.
Artist Lee Garbett, with his somewhat rough, almost unfinished looking art is perfect for this part of the tale of Aric of Dacia. A modern barbarian trying to find his place in the contemporary world of complicated politics, nation-states, and lost cultural identities is a ragged and rough hewn themed story at its heart and Garbett's style fits this theme perfectly. Garbett's rough style also has a certain unique kinetic look to it. The car crash that happens in the streets of Romania (modern day Dacia) as Aric's Vine built space ship descends is powerfully realistic in its depiction of the vehicle's motion. The physical confrontation between Gilad and Aric is as well.
A great series is about to get even better as it moves to the next level and Venditti and Garbett take Aric/XO Manowar into a present day world filled with old friends, new foes, and stark challenges. I simply cannot wait for each upcoming issue of the "Homecoming" storyline.