Review - X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0 (@ValiantComics)

"Always, our best had been rejected."

What makes a character tick as a hero is the characters he/she keeps around him/her. A reader can learn as much about a character based on the villains they square off against as they can from their allies. It's often the villains that have more intrigue surrounding their approaches to life and Valiant Universe is revealing some of the details behind one of its own villains in X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0. The issue is written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Francis Portela, inked by Bit, colored by Andrew Dalhouse and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

From Aric of Dacia’s escape with the X-O Manowar armor to the destruction of his own home world, pain and consequence have haunted the life of the alien general called Commander Trill. Now, on the eve of the most devastating assault yet, find out why with an essential, standalone zero issue detailing the battle-scarred life and origin of the Vine’s mightiest military leader…and an all-new prelude to X-O Manowar’s most terrifying clash of the year!

There's a brutality to the X-O Manowar suit that is captured so perfectly by Aric being its bearer. Despite this, Venditti incarnation of Trill seems to think he's equally as worthy to don the armor, even though that doesn't seem to be the case. X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0 retells the savage nature of the armor as it chews up and spits out multiple Vine suitors, rejecting them in the most violent ways possible. Venditti builds up the tension throughout the issue by following Trill from youth to adult, teasing the possibility that he'll be deemed worthy enough to wear it. The payoff at the end is Venditti giving the reader a more complete picture of the one of the most terrifying Vine commanders throughout the galaxy.

Portela does a fantastic job with the artwork in capturing the tribal nature of the Vine culture. Trill is illustrated through the years and it's interesting to see how Portela essentially strips him of his innocence by way of the witnessing the destructive nature of the X-O Manowar suit. Portela infuses the suit with an organic nature that makes it more believable that it does have a life of its own. The Vine race is largely depicted as peaceful in nature and Portela makes it work very well--especially when juxtaposed against the armor itself. Dalhouse's colors are vibrant and present a lush Vine world teeming with life represented by purples and greens throughout.

X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0 provides plenty of solid backstory for one of the most interesting characters in the Valiant Universe. There's clearly a story behind Commander Trill's vicious approach to life and the issue does a fantastic job of filling in some of that history. Venditti's comfort with the X-O Manowar suit of armor is on display in the issue, as he fully understands what makes both Trill and the armor tick. Portela's illustrations are familiar and fit readily within the X-O Manowar universe. X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0 is a great set-up issue that provides valuable insights into a harsh character.

X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0 is in stores December 2.