Fight to Survive: X-O Manowar vs Blue Beetle by Jerry Whitworth
In the expansive landscape of fiction, one truth always holds true: if there’s a two characters remotely similar to each other, fans will argue which character would win in a fight. Son Goku and Superman. Batman and Captain America. Dr. Doom and Darth Vader. It doesn’t matter if it’s comic book, cartoon, novel, film, game, or television series. In today’s arena, we have Valiant Comics’ X-O Manowar and DC Comics’ Blue Beetle.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Name: X-O Manowar
Real Name: Aric Dacia/Shanhara
Race: Human/X-O Manowar armor
First Appearance: X-O Manowar #1 (February 1992)
Base of Operations: Mobile
History: Aric of Dacia is a Visigoth, nephew of his people’s king, who battled Romans that invaded their kingdom. However, everything changed when his people were attacked by the Spider Aliens who took him prisoner on their starship. After being their slave, Aric would steal a X-O Manowar class armor called Shanhara, slay his oppressors, and made his way back to Earth. Only, while space travel would take several years aboard the ship, due to time dilation, centuries passed on Earth. In a world unfamiliar to him, Aric chose to become a hero.
Powers and Abilities: Aric is a trained warrior through and through, most of his formative years were spent studying the art of war and killing the superior Roman armada employing guerrilla tactics. Obtaining Shanhara essentially gave one of the universe’s greatest weapon to an already dangerous man. Among the Spider Alien arsenal of biomechanical armors, Manowar was by far the most difficult to cultivate and most powerful. Some of its components include a scanner, remote scanner, ion cannon, energy dampener/consumer, omni-beam, force field, tractor beam, flight, super-strength, life support, and enhanced healing.
Name: Blue Beetle
Real Name: Jaime Reyes/Khaji Da
Race: Human/Reach scarab
First Appearance: Infinite Crisis #3 (February 2006)
Base of Operations: El Paso, Texas
History: The alien race known as the Reach employ biomechanical devices that appear as large scarabs that attach to a host and forms an exoskeleton of high-powered armor. When forced into a peace treaty by the Guardians of the Universe, the Reach sent these scarabs to worlds turning people into heroes, but at the same time sleeper agents for Reach invasions by learning the planet’s defenses. One such scarab, Khaji Da, made its way to Earth in ancient Egypt but it didn’t bond with a host. Instead, it was magically empowered which seemed to alter it, making it independent of the Reach. Employed by Dan Garret in modern times, he used its magical properties to become the hero Blue Beetle. Years later, it finally bonded with someone, teenager Jaime Reyes in El Paso, Texas, who became the new super-powered Blue Beetle.
Powers and Abilities: The armor manifests itself to modify into various forms, able to turn into or produce shields, wings, a sword, energy cannon, and at times able to do virtually anything to maintain survival, such as dampen magical fields, project Kryptonite radiation, or change the vibrational signature of something to pass through different realities. The suit also enhances physical attribute such as strength, speed, and sight. The armor is capable of armament that can do critical damage to chunks of a city but Jaime holds the suit back from such levels of destruction.
In terms of their suits of technologically advanced armor, there are a lot of similarities. Both are biomechanical, some degree of sentience, and an affinity for morphing into useful combat devices. Where they differ maybe in Khaji Da’s exposure to magic and its capability to seemingly have the ability to generate the weaknesses of a target (kryptonite, anti-magic field, etc). However, we have an unmeasured variable in terms if magic would have any notable effect on Shanhara or if the X-O Manowar armor has any weaknesses Khaji Da could exploit. There is also the degree of damage capable, both very powerful with it hinted at Khaji Da’s designation as a weapon of mass destruction. It’s only some wonder if Shanhara has similar power levels, though Aric would be more likely willing to employ such destructive force given his background. Ultimately, what this fight comes down to is the person in the suit. Jaime has a lot of heart and has certainly been put through the paces in his short career as a hero, but Aric has been indoctrinated since birth in violence, a trained killer slaying superior educated Roman soldiers (known as some of history’s greatest military forces) as a young man and cutting down Spider Aliens to get to the Shanhara armor. There is also Blue Beetle’s reluctance to resort to deadly force that really opens the door for X-O Manowar to remove any doubt of being toppled as Aric would come at his opponent with everything he has with unrelenting viciousness. It comes down to experience, training, and attitude that all go in favor of X-O Manowar for the win.