X-O MANOWAR: COMMANDER TRILL #0 (Valiant Entertainment, December 2015) “Destiny” Writer: Robert Venditti. Pencils: Francis Portela. Inks: Bit. Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse. Letterer: Dave Sharpe. Commander Trill created by Robert Venditti and Cary Nord
This is an important one-shot special issue that sheds some light on the background of a villainous character, one who’s been part of the X-O Manowar history since Issue #1 of the re-booted 2012 version of Aric of Dacia/X-O Manowar. As the X-O Manowar series prepares to head into a new story arc, it provides information that will help readers understand the motivations and values of one of the best new adversaries in the X-O legacy as detailed by gifted scripter Robert Venditti.
Early on in the series, Venditti introduced an alien race, six-eyed members of the Vine, and fleshed out the characters with insight into their history, politics, religion and value system. As he so ably detailed, not every member of the race is bad or inhuman. Some members have heart and the ability to empathize with other races.
Most members of the Vine (especially Trill) despise Aric, for he was accepted as worthy by the suit of Shannara while so many of their best warriors were fatally rejected. Yet, in more recent issues of the series The Vine reached out to Aric to help negotiate a peaceful co-existence with humans. And one member in particular, the High Priest, became a friend to Aric and in doing so demonstrated that The Vine are capable of forgiveness as well.
If the story in this issue doesn’t grab you, the art will. This is the best work I have seen from penciler Francis Portela. His style here remains his own, yet pulls from the best of Arthur Adams and Bart Sears. The inks by Bit and colors by Andrew Dalhouse help give it the proper definition. The scenes of buildings and landscapes on the home planet of the Vine are gorgeous to view, and many of the double-page scenes in this issue are breathtaking in their beauty and detail.
The story this issue is narrated by the High Priest, who along with a young Vargosh Trill (later Commander Trill) witnessed a bonding ceremony for the first time. That occurs annually when one member of the Vine (usually the best and strongest warrior) comes before the sentient power suit Shanhara to see if he can survive melding with the armor. The Vine have worshiped Shanhara for years, and consider it to be a god who will help usher in a new era of greatness for the Vine. Yet, year after year the suit has rejected all suitors. On that day, VargoshTrill decided it was his destiny to wear the armor and dedicated his training thereafter to prove himself the best. But as the High Priest would remind him after he lost an eye to Aric that “you cannot bend the divine to your will.”
Read this issue to get all the details and behold majesty in storytelling.