In an earlier incarnation of X-O Manowar the sentient armor came from a ring that Aric of Dacia wore. In a sense he was wedded to something he did not understand. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t get it. It will remind you of that scene in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ where it’s noted that with the most powerful metal in the world a giant Frisbee was created. Without imagination and vision there isn’t much hope to better your circumstances. Eventually you keep repeating the cycle until you learn the lesson. It seems that Aric of Dacia is fecal matter deep in his own ennui and his inability to learn is going to pull him under.
Having made it through the first assault on Gorin Aric is now going to phase two. He has enemies around him, but there are allies who don’t want to see him dead. If only he would count Shanhara among his friends. Aric forgets that when he escaped that Vine spaceship Shanhara allowed him to wear it. Doesn’t he ever wonder why others who worshipped it were rejected? Doesn’t he comprehend that he was chosen? Aric is choosing to turn away from his most important relationship. He refuses to accept change and he may not survive because of his stubbornness.
A man who’s tired of war but always finds himself in conflict, constantly killing, rarely takes time to reevaluate his life. And you don’t have a heart to heart with a sword. But instead of trying to forget the life he led on earth, he needs to start working on getting over himself. It’s true that he was drafted into this war when all he wanted was to farm his land. However, he just buried Shanhara and just like his memories it just haunted him. Perhaps Matt Kindt is using Aric to show what happens when you never deal with the traumas that occur in your life. In a previous annual the reader saw Aric learn the lessons of his childhood as a Visigoth losing his family to the Romans and together with Shanhara brokered a peace between earth and the alien Vine. In that moment he was a complete person because he listened to and worked with the armor, as well as reconciling his past. Together they eliminated a threat to humanity. But what happens after Shanhara takes him safely to a habitable planet? Aric tosses him aside. As in contrast the two brothers who are on Aric’s team work together. Though they are not as skilled in combat there is a sense that they know they need each other. Artist Tomas Giorrello and his crew show this in their interaction with each other. The same way they reveal the bitterness in Aric’s face throughout this comic book, whenever he realizes he needs the power of the armor to get through.
Aric needs to decide whether he’s going to run himself into the ground and die in a conflict he doesn’t understand or became the man he’s meant to be. But he can only be a better version of himself if he listens to Shanhara.